December 10, 2009 posted by Lisa Rast
At NCRW, we’re all about networking – building partnerships with other women is one of the most powerful ways to advance oneself in the workplace. In an effort to support young women in that pursuit, the Council has launched the Emerging Leaders Network to provide a space to connect and develop leadership skills for those of us early in our careers. At 8 am on Tuesday morning, this group held our first official meeting. NCRW President Linda Basch and Jacki Zehner, the youngest woman to make Partner at Goldman Sachs, offered an exclusive presentation to about 30 young women from various corporations on the Council’s latest report, Women in Fund Management: A Road Map for Achieving Critical Mass – and Why it Matters . Barclays Wealth hosted the gathering and provided the coffee to stimulate the dynamic discussion that followed.
The global financial crisis begs the question: What if?
Experts are now asking if the current situation would look the same if there had been more women in charge of investment decision-making and oversight. In the words of Nicholas Kristoff, would Lehman have survived today if the company had been Lehman Brothers and Sisters? Linda discussed the Council’s comprehensive and timely report, presenting the latest research into the different investment management styles of women and men, how they approach risk and what the global economy might look like if a critical mass of women were bringing their decision-making talents to the table. Jacki, whose inspirational story about her meteoric rise at Goldman transcends the financial services sector, spoke about her own experiences of often being the only woman on the trading floor and in the board room. An interactive discussion ensued among the group on such critical issues as:
- Flexible work hours – Are they realistic in financial services? And is it worth the social stigma for women to take advantage of them?
- The baby question – Are women penalized for the fact that they may want to have children … someday? Do managers take that into consideration when a woman applies for a position?
- The crisis – Will diversity and women’s networks weather the storm, or will the crisis be used as an excuse to cut so-called “superfluous” spending on training programs and employee networking opportunities?
As with all good meetings, we walked out inspired and energized to start the day – and with a list of inspiring resources to support us along the way:
- Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children, By Sylvia Ann Hewlett
- The Feminine Mistake: Work, Women & Identity, By Leslie Bennetts
- Sisterhood Interrupted: From Radical Women to Girls Gone Wild, Deborah Siegel and Jennifer Baumgardner
- Brokenness, Hope & Women, A Piece by Jacki Zehner on her blog, firstname.lastname@example.org 
Stay tuned to The Real Deal for updates about the Emerging Leaders Network, and if you’re a young professional woman looking for a network, look us up on LinkedIn.com or contact Lisa Rast at email@example.com .