Legg Mason Presses for Progress in Celebration of International Women’s Day
Today Legg Mason celebrates International Women’s Day with the rest of the globe – honoring the women of past and present who keep the world spinning on its axis, challenge the status quo and instigate change within their industry and communities. The mission this year is Press for Progress.
With the World Economic Forum's 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings telling us that gender parity is over 200 years away - there has never been a more important time to keep motivated and Press for Progress.
Leaders in Legg Mason’s global distribution and in its independent investment affiliates provided insightful comments outlining how each woman has found professional successes.
On Finding Their Voice
“Part of any person’s career progression is figuring out a “voice,” one that feels comfortable but that is also effective. As a minority in the field of finance, it was hard for me earlier in my career to find a comfortable balance of self-confidence, assertiveness and my natural personality and sometimes get the recognition I felt I deserved. However, one of the positive aspects of a career in finance is that results are quantifiable, and that helps even the playing field in the long run.” Margaret Vitrano, Portfolio Manager at ClearBridge Investments
“When I started out in the investment management industry over 20 years ago, there were very few female research analysts, portfolio managers and traders - and so the visibility and availability of female mentors in these roles was fairly low. Over time, and through the efforts of both male and female managers, the industry has started to reflect the diverse intellectual talent in the marketplace.” Mary Jane McQuillen, Portfolio Manager at ClearBridge Investments
“As an Asian-American woman, I need to reinforce my faith in the meritocracy at times. When you see the limited representation of women and minorities in the business, it can be easy to become discouraged. However, I have to believe that hard work pays off. Maintaining a positive attitude allows me to work tirelessly toward my career goal, even though the reality of our industry might be less ideal.” Tracy Chen, Portfolio Manager at Brandywine Global
“Early on in my career I was either the only woman, or one of very few women –this was true in college, in grad school and even more so, in quant finance! While today women have many more opportunities and I am fortunate to work alongside many female colleagues, as an industry we are still far from fully embracing diversity. The success that I have had in my professional career can be attributed to my education. I take pride on not having allowed gender, or other labels, define who I am and inhibit me from taking risks in my professional career.” Janet Campagna, CEO at QS Investors
“I believe that we have made a lot of progress so that outright bias has been eliminated but it is unconscious element that we still need to tackle.” Victoria Rock, Head of Alternatives Product at Legg Mason
How These Women Support Diversity
“At QS Investors my partners and I have worked hard to create and model a culture that embraces true diversity of thought and opinion, where opportunities are not determined by gender. More generally, I believe that progress will only come through education, and this is what motivates my work at the boards of Mott Haven Academy, and my alma maters, Northeastern University and Caltech.“ Janet Campagna, CEO at QS Investors
“I have been very involved in our recruiting/mentoring/internship program for more than 5 years, and it has been very rewarding to see the progress of young women through that program, many of whom have continued career paths on Wall Street after the experience. If we introduce more women to finance as a potential career option, I hope we can plant the seeds for more diversity in this field for the future.” Margaret Vitrano, Portfolio Manager at ClearBridge Investments
“I have been involved in women’s investor events (as a speaker) and continue to support and believe that women investors are an untapped resource and a powerful force in the capital markets. Quantitative studies continue to demonstrate that including women in management can help drive returns, lower volatility and increase innovation.” Mary Jane McQuillen, Portfolio Manager at ClearBridge Investments
“I am involved to support our activities and to press for us to participate in more initiatives e.g. Investment 2020 and Women in Finance Charter in the UK.” Victoria Rock, Head of Alternatives Product at Legg Mason
As a portfolio manager, I participated in an interview with CNN several years ago which focused on the fact that women only managed 2% of the money. It is a shocking statistic. I believe women possess some very special qualities that can help them to be great portfolio managers, including patience, risk awareness, an ability to take a longer-term view, and great empathy, to name a few. By participating in the interview, I wanted to raise awareness of the imbalance of gender exposure in the portfolio management industry. I also have spoken to and mentored female students at Bryn Mawr College on how to get involved in the investment management industry.” Tracy Chen, Portfolio Manager at Brandywine Global