RiverFront women’s initiative, Engage, was launched with a mission to change the experience for women in financial services through mentorship, education, and support.
Our desire to make an impact more broadly has driven us to look for multiple ways to uplift women. How could we effectively support women who do not work at RiverFront? What suggestions could we offer to individuals in other firms who are looking for ways to support women, without the resources of a larger organization or a committee?
Through some “grassroots” efforts and simply trying things out, we have found some very impactful ways to support and uplift women. As it turns out, there are no special resources required – just a sincere desire to make a difference.
Ready to Engage? Here are 4 great ways to uplift women:
1. Solicit their input and ideas in meetings.
Women’s voices can often go “unheard” in meetings. Their suggestions may be ignored or dismissed. Perhaps they have great ideas, but haven’t found the right moment to chime in. Some women have a hard time finding their voice, and they opt not to share an opinion or idea in a meeting. Uplift the women around you by specifically asking for their input in a meeting. If you notice someone in the group who has not engaged in the conversation, bring her into the conversation with a direct question to see if she may have something to add.
2. Support and champion their ideas in front of others.
Emphasizing your support of a woman’s contributions and proposals carries weight. If you hear a great suggestion made by your female colleague, Emily, one of the most helpful things you can do is say “I agree with Emily”. Or later, reiterate what she said, while giving her credit for the original idea. “Emily’s suggestion on changing the design makes the most sense, and I think we should move forward.” A key part of uplifting women is making sure credit is given when it is due.
3. Lift the next generation of women leaders.
We have found that building a mentoring program within RiverFront has been helpful to many of our women seeking to achieve personal and professional goals. Mentors can provide helpful input that can encourage a mentee in pursuing promotions and advancement. Additionally, mentors can provide critical assistance by introducing a mentee to others within their professional network who may provide further support or connections to decision-makers. You may find mentorship opportunities through community organizations, professional groups, or even your own firm.
4. Call out disparities when you see them.
Support for women can also come in the form of being an ally – and taking note of circumstances that do not allow women to have a presence, an opportunity, or a promotion. When a new committee or task force is formed, if you see few or no women represented, speak up to suggest the team add some diversity. Most often, a disparity is not intentional…however, it takes an intentional effort to rectify the situation. You have the opportunity to be a leader in supporting women by advocating for equity.
RiverFront founded Engage in 2019 with the goal of changing and improving the experience for women in financial services. The mission of Engage is to engage women in our industry through mentorship, education, and support.