Synpulse Celebrates Women Leaders in International Women’s Day Virtual Panel

In honor of International Women’s Day 2020, Synpulse Management Consulting held a virtual panel celebrating Women Leaders. The event was a huge success with over 160 Synpulse employees from all over the world dialing-in for the hour-long session on March 11th 2020.

The panel hosted three female leaders representing different industries that Synpulse specialises in: Technology, insurance, and banking. Representing the technology side was Pei Chen, Director at ConsenSys and a New York-based expert in blockchain and FinTech. Jocelyn DeMaio, Director of collaboration services at The Hartford, has worked in the insurance industry for over 14 years . Kristina Schumacher, is an Associate Partner at Synpulse, and is a technical expert in core banking platforms and consulting.

The questions were designed to give these high-achieving female panelists the opportunity to share their industry knowledge, personal experience and career advice to Synpulse’s team of 500 global consultants and future viewers on social media.

The panel was organised by Synpulse’s New York-based Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team called, “Free to Be Me”, and moderated by Felix Gniza, Associate Partner at Synpulse USA. To find out more, please see the Free to Be Me page on the Synpulse website.

Listen here to the full recording for all responses, and see the highlights in quick videos below.

What has changed in your industry in recent years, and what should we expect in the next 5-10 years?

Jocelyn DeMaio responded, “Speaking for the insurance industry, one of the biggest changes and changes to come is “the reliance on IOT devices for data. It’s allowing for more individualised and accurate policies, as well as prevention of fraudulent claims.” Looking to the future, we should keep an eye on “AI and our insurance.”

What are the greatest challenges and the most critical changes your industry needs to make in order to succeed in the future?

Pei Chen said, “The biggest challenge is the misconception around blockchain, and therefore, we need to become better communicators. One thing is to also continue the adoption we see – block chain is much more represented in institutions today. Governments are exploring digital currencies, and of the top Fortune 100 companies, 90% are trying to incorporate this technology into their processes and products.”

What helped you getting where you are today?

Pei Chen’s advice is to keep learning. She said, “I realised the power of learning constantly, not only in my industry but broadly and outside of my domain to see wider connections.”

Jocelyn DeMaio encouraged our listeners to take risks, she responded with this advice, “Be comfortable with taking risks. Challenge your limits, don’t limit your challenges.”

Kristina Schumacher gave three great tips, “Do what you love, talk about your goals, and be with people who support them.”

How can I as a man support my female colleagues and avoid any common pitfalls when dealing with men and women’s equality on the job?

Jocelyn DeMaio encouraged men to, “Speak up for women publicly. Stand up and support their ideas.”

Kristina Schumacher said, “be aware of your unconscious bias, and if you are working in a male-dominated industry, then speak up against sexist things you will likely hear. Also, talk to women and ask them about their struggles, because there are certainly some for everyone. The best you can do is listen and learn, and respect what they are telling you.”

Pei Chen shared a story that woke up the audience, she said, “I was in a meeting with a few of my male colleagues, and I was actually the only woman there. Randomly, my boss turned to me before the meeting and said, ‘Why don’t you take some notes?’. I don’t think he did that because he was being sexist or unfair, but he felt that I was one of the most organised. After the meeting we had an interesting discussion. I asked him the thought process behind asking me to take notes. We came to the conclusion that he wasn’t being nicer to my male colleagues, but that it just came right out. So, I made a rule with him that I would never take any meeting notes ever. This is a scenario where a male was judging a woman based on her perceived skills, instead of her actual expertise. So if you are a man and you want to avoid pitfalls like that, treat the women and men equally by judging them on their expertise, backgrounds, and roles. And if you’re a male colleague, speak up.”