Markets Media is a strong advocate for women in finance, as well as broader diversity and inclusion in the industry. Anya recently had a Q&A with Markets Media about her views on mentorship, the behavior of male executives, and how she and Beacon are supporting and encouraging women in the finance industry.

If you could have coffee with any woman in the industry, who would it be and why?

I would love to have coffee with any woman who has made a career transition from finance to technology. This is something I did myself, and I love hearing other women’s stories and building a support network.

How does Beacon support and encourage women employees?

That is a great question. At Beacon it’s pretty simple—we give women responsibility. Sometimes you just need to give people a chance to show what they can do, support them when they get stuck, and then recognize them for their accomplishments. Beacon is really good at that.

In our company culture, we collaborate, and we support each other. While this benefits women, it really benefits everybody.

As a financial technology company, we have women in roles where they have traditionally been more represented—sales, marketing and human resources. But at Beacon we also have women in
roles where they have traditionally been underrepresented, such as engineering, product management and executive leadership. So wherever they may be in the organization, Beacon supports women by giving them a chance to do good work.

What is the value of mentorship for women in finance?

Mentorship is hugely important, especially in these challenging times. Everybody needs someone to talk to. With women typically being in the minority in the finance industry, it’s really important to have mentors that you can reach out to, who can give you good advice about your career, and really just be there for you.

But sponsorship is equally important. The difference is that a mentor can be a good guide and a source of friendly advice, but a sponsor can hire you, pay you, promote you, and generally do things that directly advance your career. It’s really important to have both.

I’ve been very lucky to have had both mentors and sponsors in my career, both men and women. Sometimes they were even the same person. Now that I’m a little bit further in my career and have the opportunity to be a mentor and sponsor myself, I try to pay it forward to others.

How can male executives, who are the colleagues of women, best support and encourage women in finance?

Male executives can do one very simple yet effective thing—they can lead by example.

When male executives do anything that supports women or encourages women, everybody notices. That includes listening to their opinions and ideas, recognizing their accomplishments, recognizing their authority, and giving good feedback. When male executives support women in a way that is open and visible within the company, it not only helps women feel encouraged, but it also sets a really clear example for other men in the company for how they can support women, too.

Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

Knowing what I know now, I would have learned to code! But it’s never too late!

We are making progress on diversity

The financial and technology industries are making progress on workplace diversity, but still have a ways to go. These issues are important to me, not only because I’m a woman, but because my colleagues and I believe that diversity and respect lead to better experiences for our employees and better outcomes for our clients. And because it is the right thing to do.


Watch the Interview