Senior women of Wall Street share their best career advice

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Kayleigh Dray
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Building a successful career is never easy, particularly for women.

There’s the gender pay gap to consider, as well as the fact that sexual harassment in the workplace affects over half of British women.

There’s also the everyday sexism faced by female leaders,  not to mention the discrimination that many new mums face when they go back to work after taking maternity leave

And things are even more challenging for women in male-dominated industries.

To help provide women with the advice they need to boost and further their careers, Business Insider spoke with some of the most powerful women across Wall Street’s RBC Capital Markets, and asked them their advice on getting ahead in the workplace.

We’ve picked out six of their best pieces of career advice:

1) Stop worrying about your work-life balance

Cara Fleishcher, the managing director, loan-portfolio management and co-chair of RWomen USA, told Business Insider that women need to stop trying to ‘balance’ everything.

Instead, she said, they need to manage it instead.

"You're not going to balance - nothing is going to balance,” she explained. “There will be times when work and personal life will coordinate and dovetail well, but often something will have to give for something else.

"And you have to be willing to make the decision: What am I going to prioritize today?"

2) Don’t put on a fake macho act 

Kathy Kriskey, a managing director and head of commodity-investor solutions, said that women don’t need to act like men in the workplace.

“I felt the need to be aggressive and take no prisoners and curse as much as the guys did — the real macho act," she said.

“[But] you don't have to do that. To the young women coming in today, my advice is be yourself. Be your authentic self. But be your best self.”

3) Love what you do

It may sound obvious, but one of the best ways to get the most out of your job is by pursuing a career you are truly passionate about.

Lara Druyan, the head of West Coast Innovation Lab, explained: “Work doesn’t feel like work when you really like what you do.

"That’s the biggest piece of advice I can offer somebody; if you enjoy it, figure out how you can leverage it to the next project or position, because when work doesn’t feel like work, you don’t mind doing more of it, and you’ll be better at it, and you’ll excel faster.”

4) Listen to the people around you

Meg Zucker, who is head of anti-money laundering compliance for the global capital markets, admitted that she’d wished she’d learned to listen to her colleagues earlier on in her career.

“Even when you have already amassed a lot of knowledge, that doesn’t mean you don’t have more to learn,” she said.

5)  Put your hand up and your name forward

A few years ago, Amy Wu Silverman asked for a promotion to managing director and told her boss that she was pregnant at the same time. And, while it wasn’t the most conventional career path, it definitely paid off for her.

She advised women to speak up when they want something, and to know their own worth, saying: “You should ask yourself, ‘why not me? Why can’t I be the person in charge of this or that?’

“It’s about telling yourself there is no reason why it can’t be the case.”

6)  Networking isn't as important as you may think

Networking is, undoubtedly, an important part of any profession – but it isn’t the be-all and end-all of every woman’s career. Instead, suggests investment banker Madonna Park, don’t worry about forcing connections, andfocus on your own career progression.

She said: “Wherever you see opportunities to connect with someone you find interesting or inspiring, you should pursue and nurture those.

"And on the flip side, if you don't have a connection with somebody and you try to force that, it's more difficult to do so successfully.”

You can read the complete article - along with more career advice tips - over at the Business Insider now.


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.