Break The Bias with the Powerwomen 2022 winners

Date: 09 Mar 2022

Silvia Ricciardi

Citywealth yearns to put under the spotlight the Powerwomen 2022 winners who not only have had a successful career progression but have also been active in maximising the potential of women in wealth.

Break The Bias. With its given theme for 2022, The International Women’s Day website aims at celebrating all the women who are concretely contributing to achieving a gender-equal world. At Citywealth, we yearn to put under the spotlight our Powerwomen 2022 winners who not only have had a successful career progression but have also been active in maximising the potential of women in wealth.

Introducing (some of) the Powerwomen 2022 winners

Ariane SlingerWoman of the Year – Business Growth (Boutique) – GOLD Award:

After an international career as a lawyer and manager in a variety of places in Europe, such as Nice – South of France, The Principality of Monaco, Amsterdam and Luxembourg, Ariane has settled down in Switzerland, Geneva for the past 20 years. 13 years ago, she became the principal shareholder and CEO of ACE “Advice & Corporate Engineering” International SA, one of the largest independent Trust Companies in Geneva.

Claudia SuterWoman of the Year – Business Growth (Mid-size) – GOLD Award:

Claudia studied law and economics at the University of St. Gallen, her hometown, and graduated in 2006. After working as a junior associate at a Zurich law firm and taking the Bar exam in 2008, she spent two years as a law clerk in the Tax Department of the Administrative Court of Zurich. In 2010, she joined Homburger as an associate in the tax team. She received her PhD in 2010, got certified as a Tax Expert in 2012, and spent a year in Singapore in 2014. She was elected partner at her firm in 2018. Since 2020, she has headed the Private Clients team.

Jane ParryWoman of the Year – Business Services (SME) – GOLD Award:

Jane joined Barclays on an A-Level management training scheme a long time ago and had worked her way up to Marketing Director of Premier Banking by the time she left in 2008. After a couple of years at Skandia, she became the first woman to join the Board of Duncan Lawrie Private Bank before joining Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management in 2016.

Petra PosnikovaWoman of the Year – Rising Star:

Petra did some internships at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, before moving into asset management and portfolio management at London & Capital. She learned about different markets, asset classes from both sides of the table, from sell-side and buy-side. At VAR Capital, she found wealth management extremely rewarding as her clients are fascinating people with real purpose and passion.

Powerwomen in the workplace

“At ACE 75% of the staff is female,” states Ariane Slinger, CEO/Shareholder at ACE International SA. “A large majority of the women work at 80% so that they can take care of their children and family whilst keeping the same career opportunities as someone working a 100%. We have full equality of salaries and I have adapted all the insurance policies we have so that women have the same advantages as men.” Ariane goes on with insightful insights on retirement policies and maternity leaves. “In Switzerland, retirement policies do not distribute the same compensation to a widow and a widower. Did you know that? Meaning that if one of my female staff members passes away, her husband would be entitled to lower compensation than if it was the other way around. To us, this is a clear inequality that could leave female-led households in trouble, therefore I have asked the insurance company to adapt all policies, and this has increased the premiums to be paid. We are also very flexible with maternity leaves and allow mothers to return to the office at 60 or 80% the first year, and later on, they can decide to work at a higher pace again.”

“On a firm level, I am a member of ‘Women at Homburger’, our firm’s female lawyers’ roundtable aiming to increase diversity on all levels and improve the firm’s work environment from a female perspective,” reveals Claudia Suter, Partner, Head of Private Clients at Homburger. “Our efforts are part of a firm-wide initiative to become more women- and family-friendly, to expand flexible working, and to foster collaboration and smart use of technology, pushing automation and digitalization.”

Canaccord is a great place to work,” says Jane Parry, Head of Marketing and Communications at Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management. “Culturally, we are a relatively young, dynamic, and supportive organisation that welcomes all different views. Being approachable is one of our core values. Women are well represented in our leadership teams. We have a strong voice at the table.”

VAR Capital expanded significantly both in the UK and India and, as part of this expansion, we hired many incredible women,” comments Petra Posnikova, Investment Director at VAR Capital. “We quickly learned – long before the pandemic made this the norm – that flexible working hours and working from home were crucial to women. On top of that, we offer generous maternity leave and pay, and we understand the balance that comes with having a family whilst continuing to care deeply about your career.” Petra also adds that “a significant portion of wealth in the world is managed by women, but women remain largely unserved by the wealth management community (BCG, April 2020). We feel that having female employees at VAR is one of the key ingredients to successfully managing female clients, ensuring diversity of opinions and management styles, being an even more successful business.”

Becoming a Powerwoman of tomorrow…

Citywealth’s Powerwomen are concretely contributing to maximise the potential of women through their prominent roles, but also supporting programmes and activities to build an inclusive community where women can share their experience and success, aiming at a bright future.

“I have been an active member of our Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) Committee for several years; – states Jane, who adds that – Recently we have bolstered our efforts by launching working groups and networks, including a Women’s Network and Working Families’ Network. Intended to be inclusive, we want to build a sense of community and a safe space for sharing experiences and finding support. We also host regular ‘Lunch and Learns’ and have a mentoring programme where senior women, like me, can share experiences and support colleagues. I am personally mentoring two younger female colleagues in different parts of our business.”

Ariane insists on the fundamental importance of a balance between career and personal life. “I enjoy helping the women I see daily with having a positive self-image and improving their professional performance, but also improving their personal lives, when possible. I try to help them enjoy their jobs by doing something meaningful, having the right balance with their private lives. A balance that I missed when I was a younger professional since I worked for very male-dominated companies before owning my own business and I was not allowed to work less than 100%, otherwise I could not advance in my career.” Ariane also outlines how significant is that leaders recognise the inner potential of their co-workers, being able to look beyond their curriculum. “I have given important career opportunities to many people, amongst whom a lot of women. I do not only look at diplomas and references, I look at the person’s attitude and personality. Do you know that one of our receptionists has now become one of our best Senior Trust Officers, in charge of a large portfolio of UHNW clients?  She did the full STEP education program and has been extremely successful while also being a mother of three and working at 70%! Another lady who started as an Assistant Trust Officer years ago is now our Assistant Managing Director and she is very respected by the entire team.”

“I am convinced that nothing is more powerful in promoting women than their success,” intervenes Claudia. “I am proud that women are driving the growth of our Private Client practice and that our team is popular among women. Working for private clients requires particular social competency and empathy and that is what women find inspiring and where they often excel. Most of my team members are women and all of them work part-time, be it because they are mothers, writing their PhD or for other reasons.” Promoting women is not something that can be ticked off from a personal to-do list, but it is an everyday duty. For Claudia, it starts with her assistant, Pia Mosser. “I want her to feel a full member of the team, involved in everything and contributing to client service just as the other members of our Private Client practice.”

… Being a Powerwoman today

“I don’t think I have ever seen myself as a Powerwoman, so I am surprised and honoured to have been recognised,” says Jane, who reflects on her as long as successful career. “I have always worked hard, trying to do the right thing by my colleagues, my boss, and the business. I love taking on a new challenge and finding ways to help my team and the business develop. 35 years on and I am still enthusiastic about working in wealth management and making a difference.” Considering her career journey, Ariane states: “It is extremely valuable and a joy to me to get such a recognition from Citywealth and from all the people who have voted for me.” 

Claudia talks about her success not only in relation to her own role, but also to her team. “First and foremost, it is a wonderful success and boost of motivation for our entire Private Clients team and particularly for our women. We are getting recognized, not only among global private client advisors but also within our firm. Additionally, I am very competitive and simply love to win.”

“We have deep respect for Citywealth at VAR Capital and have had a close relationship for many years. It is a great honour to be recognized as one of the Powerwomen 2022 winners. It is amazing to feel that my hard work is being appreciated, recognised, and rewarded by such a prestigious panel of judges,” comments Petra, who adds: “I also feel lucky to be part of a collective of successful women, to be able to share our career journeys going forward, and benefit from being inspired by each other.”

Break The Bias: our Powerwomen 2022 winners recommend to…

… ask for forgiveness, not for permission. And grab every opportunity that comes your way, then work out how you are going to deliver on it. – Jane Parry

… avoid hiding your female superpowers but instead try to rely on them and celebrate them. Empathy, caring about others, thoroughness, attentiveness, and modesty are great character traits in which women often excel. Make sure to combine them with a healthy stubbornness to follow your own path, to pursue your own goals, to stand your ground. Be true to yourself in everything you do. – Claudia Suter

… be open to new opportunities, do not be afraid to take a leap of faith and start something new, or take your career in a different direction if something does not feel right. Like in my case, sometimes it takes a few years (and jobs) to find the company and job that is right for you, but it is extremely rewarding when it happens, and that satisfaction leads to success and overall happiness. – Petra Posnikova

… remain extremely generous with all the advice and information that you can share with others, do not lose faith in people nor in your dreams, even with ill-intentioned individuals in front of you. In life, you will meet a lot of very nice people, but also many, male or female, who want to take advantage of your ideas, your work, and your dedication. Still too often women are being underestimated within the workforce but if you continue your efforts relentlessly and cultivate high-level strategic thinking, as well as your authenticity, nobody will be able to take this away from you. And never accept to be the underdog, make this very clear in a friendly way. Lastly, do not hesitate to negotiate, and negotiate again in order to obtain what you are entitled to. In the end, you are going to win! – Ariane Slinger

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