Some women on Wall Street are not sure how to get where they want to go.
Jane Newton of RegentAtlantic hopes she can help show them the way.
Newton is the founder of the RegentAtlantic Wall Street Women Forum, 700 top women from across “the Street.” Members of the forum, which is by invitation only, gather annually to address key topics that are important to them.
“In a collegial environment, participants learn from the speakers and each other strategies and tactics to advance their careers and personal lives, help support each other’s continued success, and network strategically,” says Newton. “Importantly, the forum surveys its members each year to learn how they feel about their work efforts and their careers.”
This year, the importance of having a sponsor, as well as a mentor, to get the most out of their careers, was a primary topic of the forum. “Ten years ago, women did not know what a sponsor was; now it is top of mind,” says Newton.
A mentor is someone who shows another person the ropes and helps when needed. A sponsor is more active, promoting the person behind closed doors, touting her accomplishments and acting as a powerful advocate for the woman.
“You can choose a mentor or they might volunteer to help you,” says Newton. “You can’t ask someone to be your sponsor. It’s a relationship you earn. It is absolutely critical to have a sponsor today, as well as a mentor. Women want to know what relationships they need to help speed them on their way and how to nurture those relationships.”
The survey of members shows that women’s satisfaction with their Wall Street jobs may have leveled off after making headway since 2013.
Nearly half of the women, 47 percent, say they are exactly where they want to be in their careers, doing what they want to do. Another 22 percent say they are where they want to be, but could use more recognition or compensation. This 69 percent is a five-point drop from last year’ survey.
On the flip side, 32 percent of the women, most managing directors, say they are not doing what they want or are not where they want to be in their careers.
In addition, the number of women who feel there is more opportunity for women on Wall Street now than there was in the past has declined for the past two years to 41 percent in 2016.