What happens when you virtually gather hundreds of women for a candid discussion around honoring your personal bandwidth? Robust and candid engagement, a sense of empowerment from your leaders, and a deeper connection among your peers – all of which will positively benefit your professional life.
Women in Wealth is a business network designed to empower, engage and create connection with and among women across Wealth Management.
Regions Wealth Management recently hosted an internal, virtual Women in Wealth Forum focused on creating opportunities to be stronger together and provide the tools to thrive as women in the workplace.
“It’s so important to feel supported,” noted Jill Diffy, fiduciary support officer, Regions Private Wealth Management. “I came away feeling more valued by the company overall and by our leaders in Wealth, specifically. This event felt personal and our leaders approachable.”
Special guests at the event were Dr. Lisa Graham and Dr. Julie McDonald – the duo of psychologists that makes up McDonald Graham, an executive coaching and leadership development practice based in Birmingham. Moderated by Erin Morgan, head of Strategic Planning at Regions, the event kicked off with a personal reflection from Jack Hirsch, Institutional Services manager at Regions, who joined as both an advocate and a leader representing the male voice as we continue the journey of inclusion and equity.
The presentation by the McDonald Graham team engaged the Wealth Management female leadership panel and attendees as they contemplated their own personal bandwidths – and how to seek out and establish boundaries that protect it.
Leslie Carter-Prall, head of Private Wealth Management at Regions, walked through an exercise built around identifying areas of scarcity in life. We live in a culture of scarcity – a culture that promotes the feeling that we never ‘have enough.’ A few examples of resources that may be lacking in our lives: sleep, time alone, spirituality and exercise. Navigating the pandemic environment has only heightened this sense of scarcity. Knowing what resources are missing in our lives and identifying the consequences of this scarcity (for us and for others) sparks creative thinking about how to get more of the resources we need.
“More often than not I have to check in with myself and do an inventory,” shared Hope Thomas, head of Wealth Strategy and Effectiveness at Regions. “Where is it that I’m not sticking with what I’ve set up and where are my own expectations not realistic – and I go back to the things that are important.”
Helpful hint: To mitigate interruptions during key periods of the day, Julz Burgess, head of Institutional Services at Regions, suggests closing the office door. For those with young children, our guest speakers suggested creating “stop and go” signs to post on the home office door to let children know when it is OK to come in and when it isn’t a good time to interrupt.
Joanna Clayton, Human Resources business partner at Regions, shared that Regions’ culture, which is built on a foundation of respect and trust, provides a shared space for these conversations. She encouraged attendees to leverage the various resources available to associates as a starting point. There are numerous tools to use in engaging in meaningful conversations with managers, teams and partners around how best to honor personal bandwidth while being a part of a high-performing team. Proper role alignment is a foundational component of this journey. If someone is in a role that is exceeding their bandwidth day after day, it is a good opportunity to reflect on whether the role is the right fit or if another role may better align with skillsets and passions.
Women frequently feel the pressure to ‘do it all,’ and often carry the burden of failure when they try to achieve this unrealistic ideal. Denise Morrison, head of Wealth Management Risk and Compliance, shared her approach to overcoming that pressure and the anxiety that can accompany it. “Over the last several years, if I am feeling like a failure, I ask myself one question: will I remember this in five years? If the answer is no, I don’t need to put that much energy into it.”
Kim Robichaud, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion program manager at Regions, noted that this type of forum is a great opportunity to share the female experience with men so they may be intentional in getting to know and understand challenges the women in their organization may experience that may be different from their own.
“There are so many layers in the conversation that impact bandwidth. For example, I am also black. And that adds another layer to the conversation of being a woman. The historical way people of color – and for me, specifically black people – have been treated impacts me as a woman. I take that a step further and I see how black women have been treated, viewed and stereotyped in our society. My bandwidth gets stretched trying hard not to be viewed as the “angry black woman” who shows up often in television shows or the news.” –Kim Robichaud
“I was surprised that there were a lot of things that were discussed that I could relate to – boundaries and scarcity for example,” said Travis LeMonte, Private Wealth Management regional executive at Regions, who attended the forum from a male perspective and shared his reactions in a follow-up discussion. “The comment about men having less permission to talk about some of these things, it is true. These aren’t necessarily the conversations we are having with our buddies, but they are conversations that we should be having.”
Engaged employees: This forum was life changing! The forum offered support and assurance that you aren’t alone! The forum empowered those who struggle with confidence. The forum encouraged women to bring their authentic self to every situation! – Sherell Jefferson, Wealth Advisor
Bring Your Whole Self to Work
We have a passion for creating an inclusive environment that promotes and values diversity of race, color, national origin, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sex, pregnancy, and many other primary and secondary dimensions that make each of us unique as individuals and provide valuable perspective that makes us a better company and employer. More importantly, we recognize that creating a workplace where everyone, regardless of background, can do their best work is the right thing to do.
OFCCP Disclosure: Equal Opportunity Employer/Disabled/Veterans