Posted on 8/08/2016 by Marie Swarbreck
Meet panelist #2
Q&A with Beth Ann Day, Chief Talent Officer and Global Associate Director of Research at AB Bernstein
Question 1: Can you introduce yourself in a couple of sentences
I’m the Chief Talent Officer and Global Associate Director of Research at AB Bernstein - a long title that basically means I head up Talent for our firm and oversee our Associate programs. It’s a very rewarding and energizing job, and I feel very grateful to have it!
Question 2: How has your company/position got you involved in the gender equity space
I’ve been passionate about advocating for women in the workplace since I began my management career in finance in the late 90s. There was a dearth of female talent at my old firm, and I knew so many smart and talented women in my own network, so I set about helping bring as many of them as I could into my firm as well as recommending them for others. Simply put – I wanted to work with other women! Fortunately much has changed over the years. At AB we have several initiatives focused on attracting, retaining, and developing top female talent as well as building a strong community of women at work. It’s been fantastic to see how firms have evolved, particularly in the last decade, to recognize the critical importance of gender balance in the workplace.
Question 3: What are you currently doing to improve gender balance in HK
I’ve brought a number of women into our HK office (as well as the rest of the firm) in flexible roles over the years which I’ve found to be a very effective tool for attracting and retaining female talent. Today I’m a mother of two teenagers, but I can still easily relate to the years when my children were younger and I felt so stretched. I’ve also encouraged many women over the years to step into larger and more challenging roles, and have definitely observed the pattern of women needing more encouragement when they don’t feel 100% qualified or prepared.
Question 4: What are you doing to inspire women in leadership
I head up the women’s initiative for the Americas at AB, and our singular mission is advancing women in leadership at all levels of the firm. I am personally relentless in encouraging and cajoling women to step up and start leading versus waiting for someone to ask. I’ve been leading some personal style workshops where we give each other constructive feedback in small groups about how to exude more strength and confidence in the workplace. We also organize as many women-led events as possible that showcases our female talent to the rest of the firm.
Question 5: What is your opinion on gender equity in HK
My experience has been that the female talent pool in Asia is actually larger than Europe and the U.S. (our other regions), and it’s been somewhat easier for us to attract female talent to our HK office. I’m told that this is attributable to some extent to the cultural norm of most women working, as well as the accessibility of childcare support in HK. As a westerner, I’m still coming up the learning curve on some of the cultural gender differences and how they may impact women in the workplace in HK, but overall my impressions are quite favorable. I feel that there are some important lessons we in the west could learn from our eastern counterparts.
To register for the Gender Equity Conference, click here.