It’s no secret that in the past, women have been chronically underrepresented within the financial services sector. The lack of representation perpetuates an ambition gap and creates an imbalance in the industry. The 2019 insideARM Women in Consumer & Commercial Finance Conference recognized these concerns and is actively working to combat them.
In its second year, the conference attendance tripled and the women present focused on growth, inclusivity, and support. Introducing a conference solely for women within the finance industry allowed attendees to share their experiences and advocate for each other as well as themselves. MRS Director of Payment Processing and Bank Reconciliation Jessica Lovelace said, “One theme that came up often was don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself. I learned that I need to advocate for myself- no one else can do it for me.”
With an ever increasing female population entering the financial sector, the WCCF Conference couldn’t come at a better time. Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Misty Carson recognized this trend and her dedication to the advancement of women in the industry was echoed at the conference. “With the recent economic uptick and growth in our industry, the number of women entering the workforce in the financial services sector will continue to grow with the addition of entry level management positions and middle management…It is important for me to mentor and promote the growth and development of women not only at MRS but also within our industry,” she said.
MRS is devoted to evening the scales for gender representation in the industry and recognizes the importance of the WCCF Conference. MRS is a company that is heavily populated with women, with a split of 76% female to 24% male. “Of that 76% female, 17% are in Management Positions, and of that 17% in Management, 77% are in Senior Management Positions. MRS is confident, based on our current employee population, that we exceed the norm regarding female representation in the financial industry spectrum,” says Chief Personnel Officer Regina Weir.
Lovelace, Carson, and Erin Kerr represented MRS at the WCCF Conference to share their stories as well as listen to others’ experiences. The Conference provided a meeting for women across the country to come together and work towards bettering the industry. Compliance Manager Kerr said, “There is always room to add women’s voices at higher levels. I feel that MRS is actively doing what it takes to make that happen. Their commitment to women in leadership is illustrated by their support of a group of women attending WCCF Conference this year, last year, and in the future.”
Much work has been done, but there is still a way to go. The recent McKinsey Study offered research and insight into women in finance. The statistics present a narrative that MRS, insideARM, and the WCCF Conference attendees are working to combat. Carson said, “As highlighted in a McKinsey Study, women account for over half the entry level positions in Financial Services in North America, however only 1 in 5 positions in the C-suite. The conference focused on several topics to bridge this gap including a session on advocating for yourself and championing diversity and inclusion.”
Women are an important part of the financial industry and MRS understands this. The WCCF Conference fostered important discourse on representation and being agents of change. MRS believes change starts small and takes the steps necessary to lead by example.