Put the Women On Stage

    Stockholm (NordSIP) – Jessica Walter is Head of Marketing and Communication at ODIN Fonder. Previously she was Head of Marketing and Communication at PriorNilsson Fonder and AMF Fonder. She also worked at Alfred Berg/Banco, Skandia/DnB and Nordea. It has been 18 years since she started working in finance.

    Why are there not more women on the program?

    A few months ago, Jessica Walter attended a Nordic Sustainability Conference organised by one of the largest banks in the region. After registering, she realised that there was going to be only one woman on stage during the whole conference. She was surprised, as she knew many women involved in this area. “I went to talk to one of the organisers and asked him why they didn’t have more women. They had tried apparently, with a few women, but they only managed to book the one that was on the program. Straight away, I referred one of the women I knew well and who was attending the conference. She is a high profile in finance, but the organiser didn’t recognise her. Luckily, as it turns out, they were missing a participant for a panel, and he offered her the spot, which she spontaneously accepted.”

    Sustainability is entering men’s turf

    What raised Jessica Walter’s eye brows during the same conference was a comment by one of the participants, the CEO of a financial company. He applauded the progress of sustainability in the investment management community. He gave this proof that sustainability was getting serious, more or less in those terms: “In the past, sustainability was a subject for women, but now that there is a business perspective and an importance in it, men are also getting involved.”

    Following up and generating a buzz

    Jessica Walter wasn’t going to let this go. She checked with three people at the bank, and they all told her that they had contacted women, although they didn’t confess how many. “After the conference, I was a bit irritated by the situation. Also, I had volunteered to send them a list of hundreds of women in sustainable investing, only I didn’t have such a list ready. So I went on LinkedIn and sent out a general call to get recommendations and build this list. Suddenly, the network effects generated tens of thousands of views and around two hundred comments, most containing names of women in the industry. I’m putting together the list now, and I’ll make sure I send it to the bank for this year’s edition.”

    If you have a conference to organise on sustainable investing, make sure to contact Jessica Walter and get hold of her list!

    We have to say yes!

    “One of the problems with women sometimes,” confesses Jessica Walter, “is that they shy away from the limelight. Women need to say yes more often when they get invited to participate.”

    Picture © NordSIP

    Aline Reichenberg Gustafsson, CFA
    Aline Reichenberg Gustafsson, CFA
    Aline Reichenberg Gustafsson, CFA is Editor-in-Chief for NordSIP and Managing Director for Big Green Tree Media. She has 18 years of experience in the asset management industry in Stockholm, London and Geneva, including as a long/short equity hedge fund portfolio manager, and buy-side analyst, but also as CFO and COO in several asset management firms. Aline holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a License in Economic Sciences from the University of Geneva.

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