International Women’s Day: How Saffery Champness supports women in leadership
International Women’s Day is a moment to celebrate, and to reflect.
Much progress has been made, globally, to improve women’s access to opportunities and parity with their male counterparts in terms of representation in senior roles, pay and broader recognition.
Data from the World Economic Forum has shown that women’s share of senior and leadership roles rose to an all-time high of 42.7% in 2022. For leadership roles specifically that figure falls to 31% on average, with professional services and financial services seeing women make up 32% and 30% of leadership respectively.
Progress is also being made at the national level, including in jurisdictions in which we operate. Back in 2021 the Guernsey Association of Trustees identified the positive changes made among trust & corporate service providers on the island, while in Switzerland the proportion of women on executive boards has continued rise year on year to 24% in 2022 (still, clearly room for improvement).
At Saffery we have a strong ethos at of putting the right people in the right place, regardless of what demographic they fall in to. We afford everyone the same opportunities for career progression. This has seen women in our business and across our offices representing an above-average proportion of roles at, and above Assistant Manager level:
- Cayman: 80%
- Guernsey: 57%
- Switzerland: 35%
For International Women’s Day we heard from some of the outstanding, inspirational women in our business, our current and future leaders, about their hopes for the future and what International Women’s Day means to them.
Karin Brehaut: Assistant Trust Manager, Guernsey
Every day men and women have a voice, and the power, to build each other up. We are lucky enough to be living in a generation where this is normal, and this is with thanks and gratitude to the strong women (and men) who have already put the hard graft in before us.
Having an international women’s day provides a solid reminder of this. Although we’ve come very far, the journey and the responsibility to continue to educate is everyone’s and is ongoing, sometimes it’s the small things which make a big difference. Looking to the year ahead, a personal goal of mine is to beat my personal best and deadlift 100kg!
Judith Chatoo, Executive Director, Geneva
Women still have a long way to go in the workplace to achieve equality and it is good to have a day where we stop and remind ourselves of this and celebrate women in the workplace. My priority for the new year is keep up momentum – continuing to strive for equality – and mentoring our younger team members who are at the start of their careers.
Josephine Champion: Senior Trust Officer, Guernsey
International Women’s Day serves to shine a spotlight on some principles which are important to me such as gender parity, diversity, and the idea that women should do their best to uplift other women. In the next year, I hope to make some considerable in roads to the next stage of my career; I intend to aid my progression by undertaking ICSA qualifications.
Zoe Day, Director Cayman
Although I wish it wasn’t the case that we need a specific day to celebrate women, many countries around the world still do not afford women the same rights and access to equal opportunities as men. If this day can raise the profile of women and their contribution, particularly in places where they are not provided the same access to education, health care, voting, equality generally, then I think this is what should be focused on.
I do feel a sense of frustration when some individuals or businesses make noise around International Women’s Day without reflecting those values all year round and without full consideration of the issues surround equality.
My personal goal is to achieve more balance in my life. They say you can never have every aspect of your life in equal harmony but that is what I would aspire to do, home life balance, work/life balance, intellectually stimulated but also living without conflict, mentally stimulated and then being able to help others to achieve the same. Balance and contentment but not acceptance. Still striving, but not unhappy in doing so.
Helen Green, Director, Guernsey
The proportion of women in senior roles across all our offices is a testament to the fact that we have highly qualified women within the Saffery team, who have a wealth of experience of delivering the highest levels of client service. I was the first female general practice partner appointed in the London office (way back in 1998), which was based on my expertise, not my gender. It is, of course, excellent that IWD is a moment where women can reflect on their achievements, but this is something I would encourage women to do all year round.
For me, it is important to encourage and support the next generation of professionals. I look forward to continuing to pass my knowledge on to the upcoming talent within Saffery and affording them opportunities to learn and progress. I hope to lead by example in demonstrating that the value of being open, honest and approachable, both professionally and personally, cannot be overestimated.
Siobhan Moret: Associate Director, Geneva
International Women’s Day allows me to put some space aside to celebrate women’s achievements but also to remind me that we aren’t finished yet. There are still documented and data-backed differences in the treatment of woman and men both at home and in the workplace. We have come a long way towards equality but there is still a long way to go. Once a year we collectively recognise this and, I feel, get to push the agenda forward a little more.
In 2023 I’ll be continuing to derive enjoyment out of my work and home life in equal measure and enjoy having enough room in my life to flourish as a mum, as an individual and as a professional, and to have the energy to enthuse my daughter to do the same.
Lily Simmons, Senior Trust Officer, Guernsey
To me, International Women’s Day helps shine a light on and celebrate the development of equality between genders and how women have a real choice in how they wish to live their lives, including having great careers, choosing their own timeline and independence. I believe there is still some way to go before we reach total equality, but as a woman that is trying to build a long and successful career for myself in the industry, it is great to see women and men striving for change and development. It’s also great just to celebrate women in general, because we are awesome!
By this time next year, I hope to have completed and gained my master’s degree in Law and Private Wealth Advice and be taking more great steps in my career. I am ambitious and therefore always looking ahead, but I look forward to the exciting opportunities that Saffery offers me in supporting my development and career.
Lisa Vizia, Director, Guernsey
My career progression, leading to my current role as Director for Guernsey and Cayman, is the result of merit and hard work. I am proud to be a part of a firm where anyone who is competent, capable, and willing to work hard will have the same opportunities for success, regardless of gender.
Looking at the year head I want to “carry on carrying on”, while continuing to strive for an optimal work/life balance, which is not always an easy feat. I am a keen sea swimmer and will continue to keep this up for the mental and physical health benefits and will keep living life to the full both professionally and personally.
Find out more about life and opportunities at Saffery here.
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Executive Director, Geneva
Associate Director, Geneva
Director, Guernsey/Cayman Islands