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'Why not me?'

Senior Wall Street women give advice for young women looking to succeed

September 6, 2016

It’s not easy being a woman on Wall Street, but for those looking to make a career in the industry, six senior women across businesses at RBC Capital Markets have some practical advice for young women entering the business world.

“The DNA of the business world is set up for men. Full stop. We need to change the DNA,” said Cara Fleisher, a managing director on RBC Capital Markets’ loan portfolio-management team. According to Fleisher, the key to success is to create a “personal brand” by specializing in one’s personal strengths. Building relationships, she added, is also crucial — not only for career advancement, but for creating a supportive environment for oneself to work in.

Fleisher, who co-chairs RWomen USA, the bank’s employee-resource group for recruitment, retention, and advancement of women, warned that the notion of “work-life balance” was misleading, and that the term “work-life management” would be more accurate. “You’re not going to balance!” said Fleisher. “Often something will have to give for something else. And you have to be willing to make the decision: What am I going to prioritize today?”

Amy Wu Silverman, a managing director, global-structuring and equity-derivatives strategist, said that the most important thing for a young woman on Wall Street is to be “in charge of your own career.” Three years ago, Silverman said she announced her pregnancy and asked her managing director for a promotion — all during the same meeting. While Silverman concedes she was fortunate to have a manager who believed in her, she said that by making her priorities clear to her boss it made it easier for him to invest in her. “The onus is on you to manage where your path will go,” Silverman said. “I think for young women, you should ask yourself, ‘Why not me?'”

Business Insider spoke with four other high-powered Wall Street women who have tips for navigating a male-dominated field — one of whom questioned the practicality of worrying about gender at all.

Read the full story at Business Insider.


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