Top female finance executive encourages DEI narrative
A Q&A with Kristen Tveit, SVP, Chief Financial Officer, Magellan Rx
March 23, 2023Over the past 30 years women’s careers in finance have seen significant progress, but there still is a long way to go in achieving gender equality. Women only account for 46% of the workforce in the financial services industry. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that men traditionally hold most financial services jobs.
In the 1990s, women in finance faced significant obstacles in advancing their careers, including gender bias, lack of mentorship opportunities and limited access to networking events. However, as more women entered the workforce and began to break the glass ceiling, attitudes toward women in finance started to shift.
Over the past few decades, there have been several initiatives aimed at promoting gender diversity in finance. Many financial institutions have implemented diversity and inclusion programs designed to support women in the workplace and provide them with the necessary tools to advance their careers. As a result, there has been an increase in the number of women in senior finance positions. For instance, women are now more likely to hold positions in asset management, investment banking and private equity than they were 30 years ago.
Despite this progress, women still face significant challenges in finance. For example, women in finance still tend to earn less than their male counterparts and they are underrepresented in the highest paying jobs.
While there has been progress in women’s careers in finance over the past 30 years, there is still a long way to go in achieving gender equality. Employers must continue to promote diversity and inclusion, offer mentorship opportunities and provide equal pay for equal work to ensure that women have an equal opportunity to advance their careers in finance.
A seat at the table through persistence, mentorship and teamwork
We caught up with Kristen Tveit, SVP, Chief Financial Officer for Magellan Rx, to chat about her finance career and her experience throughout an evolving diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) workplace narrative.
As we contemplate Women’s History Month, tell us about being a woman new to finance – a traditionally male-dominated industry – and how DEI has evolved (as it pertains to your gender) throughout your career.
Kristen Tveit (KT): I started my career in the banking industry as a stock market analyst. During that time, there were very few female market analysts on my team. I was motivated and encouraged by my mother who continually pushed me to focus on the tasks at hand, not the distractions around me. In talking with other women throughout the company they would remind me to do my best and not get discouraged or disappointed. During my time there I learned to listen and collaborate with both women and men within our team. My focus was to do my best for myself, my leader and the company. This approach allowed me a seat at the table to discuss strategies within the company’s leadership teams.
What advice do you have for women starting/continuing careers in finance?
KT: Do what makes you happy! Listen, learn and absorb all you can about the various roles within the financial industry. In my life I’ve worked in finance and accounting within retail, banking, the stock market, pharmacy and PBM, with very different jobs at each stage of my career. If finance and accounting are what drive you, stay the course and know that you’ll find your place in the market.
As you advanced into leadership, what supports were in place that enabled/aided you to seize the opportunity?
KT: As I advanced into leadership roles, I relied heavily on other female leaders around me. I looked for guidance both personally and professionally from my husband and friends. As a woman and working mother, I had to learn how to trust my teams for support. I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in today without the phenomenal teams I’ve had the chance to lead over the years. And I’m still learning every day on how to create spaces for work, family and personal experiences.
Describe how the last few years of more flexible work have gone. Has it made supporting women/mentorship in the workplace easier or harder?
KT: Yes, the first item that comes to mind is the work-at-home flexibility. As a mother, I’ve begun to ditch the “mom guilt.” This time working from home has allowed me to lead teams, be flexible with meeting times and create more work-life balance. I’m not rushing to get my kids off to school, rushing to the office and then rushing home to get them to their activities. It’s really helped me and my family.
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