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It pays to focus on women in payments

13 May 2016

Studies show that companies with a diverse workforce generally perform better. A more gender diverse workforce can improve a company’s bottom line as, for example, different viewpoints and market insights enable better problem solving and greater performance. There’s also a direct correlation between gender diversity in executive teams and company earnings.

To support women in the workforce, Payments NZ has been doing some work around diversity. In March, our Head of Strategy and Corporate Affairs, Jane Retimana, headed to Sydney to contribute to a Leadership Panel at the Women in Payments Symposium.

The panel discussed everything from best practices for women’s leadership groups to mentoring advice, and was the perfect place to share some insights about our own event for women in payments called The Link.

Jane was on the panel with Senior Vice President & Head of Wholesale Payments Strategy at SunTrust, Group President, ACI On Demand, at ACI Worldwide, Inc., and Director of Women’s Markets, Inclusion & Diversity, at Westpac. The panel shared advice on how to make real change that will help get more women into leadership positions, highlighting that one of the fundamental keys to success for women in business is self-belief. Jane pointed out that to have world-class payment systems requires world-class decision-making, so the importance of diversity and inclusiveness around leadership and governance tables is vital in achieving that aspiration.

A key insight from the panel was the importance of commitment to diversity in the workplace. A CEO committed to creating an inclusive work environment should provide support from the top down and even link it to the business strategy. This demonstration of a strong and sustained commitment for change is invaluable.

Payments NZ is committed to ‘hardwiring’ support for diversity in our organisation. Some of this support comes from our women’s event, The Link, which aims to connect senior women with rising stars from our network of Participants, Members and key stakeholders.

This year we have already held two editions of The Link, one took place in February in Auckland where we explored how to put your best self forward in a corporate setting and at the event last month in Wellington we discussed the topic of realising your career potential.

Putting your best self forward

The February event was kindly sponsored and hosted by Buddle Findlay at their beautiful waterfront offices in Auckland. The evening was well attended with more than 45 women from the world of payments coming along for a night of knowledge sharing and networking.

We explored the role of self-perception and confidence in the workplace, and how to put your best self forward in a corporate setting. In a business setting, how you are seen as a professional and as a trusted employer or employee, is crucial.

Our guest speaker, Jackie O’Fee from Signature Style, talked about the importance of the way you perceive yourself and how that can effect what others think of you. Do you see yourself as a natural leader? Are you someone who manages people effectively? Or are you someone who wants to blend into the background?

First impressions can be formed in less than a second after meeting someone. That doesn’t even give you enough time to open your mouth, so 90% of that impression is non-verbal.

Realising your career potential

Our most recent The Link event was a Wellington first, held in April at the offices of Trade Me, kindly hosted by Paystation, with the theme of ‘realising your career potential'.

We had some influential panellists at the session, Jessica Venning-Bryan, GM of Brand at Flick Electric Co., and founder/ trustee of Cultivate Mentoring Lab, and Catherine Waugh, partner in the Risk and Advisory team at Deloitte.

Both Jessica and Catherine agreed that diversity and representation at senior levels in business are fundamentally challenging. Some women find it hard to raise the issue of diversity when often senior business representatives are men. They also made a good point that diversity is not just about gender.

Our event was attended by the soon to be Governor General, and Independent Director of the Payments NZ board, Dame Patsy Reddy, who advised that the imposter theory for women really never dies: often we do not feel or understand our own worth, and that’s something women need to work on.

The Link events will be held again in August in both Auckland and Wellington. We look forward to providing further insightful events that women find valuable and where we can continue to build a supportive women’s network in the payments community.

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