trust. He said to me at the time, 12 years ago, that I “was too old
to be an entrepreneur; banks would never hire outside firms;
high-net-worth individuals would never be on the internet;
and social media is a fad.”
Instead of being discouraged by all this, I was encouraged.
I thought, if this guy thinks that everybody would say those
things, then that to me looks like an opportunity.
So, I went from one industry working at Kelly Services,where I had great mentors and sponsors and worked forsome great women, largely women, and made the switchto financial services, which is largely male. That was reallydifferent for me.
What’s your overallview of the presenceand status of womenin financial services,including technology?
RUDIN: Some large firmshave numbers that don’tlook so out of whack withthe overall diversity andinclusion [goals and thegeneral population]. That’sbecause marketing isfilled with women, humanresources is filled withwomen, etc.
There could be a largenumber of women at a firm,but what areas of the business are they involved in?Generally speaking, it’s notoperations, product [devel-opment] or this type offocus, and they tend to bemore concentrated in supporting roles.
That’s made Cheryl, for example, a really great role model.She’s been hiring women across her organization rather thanjust deep in parts of her organization — in product and operations, not just human resources and marketing.
NASH: Another issue I’ve focused on is women in our industryfrom one to five years after they’ve joined it. After five years, interms of their career path, they’re either stuck — and likely willstay where they are and they’ll be happy with that — or they’regoing to get out of our industry.
We’re trying to keep women in our industry. There’s a bigger sense of urgency right now — with the push for diversityand inclusion — in helping women rise.
It’s about who you know in your industry or your business
and finding the right sponsor. Or the sponsor is going to find
you, as they look for people who are hardworking and who
they believe should take on a stretch role, right?,
This means finding someone who’s going to look out for
you and who’ll speak about you in the room when you’re not
there. If you look around, it’s disappointing when women
leave our industry.
With the pandemic, there’s so much that women have todo — with remote schooling for children, taking care of parentsand all the things generally put on women.
Within our business, we’ve made sure that we’re very flexible right now. If you have young kids at home, take care ofthose kids when you have to and be flexible in your [work]hours, if you’re in a role in which you can.
We say this all the time.It’s one of the biggest thingsto do today. If you wantwomen in your organization, and even men today,you need to be flexible.
There’s a big emphasis right now on keepingwomen in the industry,keeping women in yourfirm and helping them finda path so they don’t leave.After the five-year mark,what a knowledge basewalks out the door whenthat happens. It’s reallyhard to bring that back in.
How do you see thisindustry encouragingwomen and men tobecome as tech savvyas possible, so theircareers can grow?
RUDIN: Cheryl and I don’t look like the tech “geeks” or something like that [stereotype]. We don’t look like what you mightthink of [related to] technology so many years ago. You know,there’s the management information systems or informationtechnology department, and that’s for the guys with the pocketprotectors. I’m too cool. That’s not where I belong. I belong inthe front office, with the clients.
But what we’ve seen over the past years has been that technology’s become pervasive. You can’t not be in technology. Idon’t know why people are sometimes surprised about fintech.That [term or concept] is a passing fancy — because what isn’tare today’s technology companies. I operate a small firm; we’rea technology company.
You can’t not operate without technology today. There’sthe notion that we have the “digital natives,” brought up withlots of technology, and the “digital immigrants,” who grew up
There’s a big emphasis right
now on keeping women in the
industry, keeping women in
your firm and helping them
find a path so they don’t
leave. After the five-year
mark, what a knowledge base
walks out the door when that
happens. It’s really hard to
bring that back in.