International Women’s Day
Synpulse Celebrates Women Leaders in International Women’s Day Virtual Panel
March 11, 2020
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 dialing-in for the hour-long session on March 11th 2020.
The panel hosted three female leaders representing different industries that Synpulse specializes in, technology, insurance, and banking. Representing the technology-side was Pei Chen, Director at ConsenSys and 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.
These high-achieving female panelists were asked four key questions and a few open-ended questions submitted by Synpulse employees. The questions were designed to give the 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. Listen to the recording for the full responses, and see the highlights 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 individualized 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 get where you are today?
Pei Chen’s advice is keep learning, she said, “I realized 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.”
One Synpulse employee asked, 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?
Our panelists responded with this advice:
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 organized. 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.”
The panel was organized by Synpulse’s New York-based Diversity, Equity and Inclusion team called, “Free to Be Me.” Our mission is to build a safe and trusting, diverse and inclusive environment that improves employee engagement and supports high-performance growth across the Synpulse community.
Black History Month Celebration
Celebrating our Past to Teach Our Future
February 26, 2020
“Celebrating our Past to Teach Our Future” was a luncheon held at the NYC Synpulse offices in honor of Black History Month.
African-Americans have a rich history entwined in the fabric of America’s development and Damon Gatison (AP), Sheena Strawter-Anthony (M), and Anika Bahra (C) gave attendees an education on their contribution and achievements to the financial services industry from the post-revolution war era to modern times. Sponsored by the office’s D&I group, Free to Be Me, information has been shared over the past few weeks leading up to the event including a video on the first self-sustaining African-American community, “Black Wall Street” of the early 1900’s. We honored our past with the words to the Negro National Anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and were treated to a traditional soul food catered lunch. It was a great lesson in history capped by a resounding poem entitled “Martin Luther King Jr. Mourns Treyvon Martin” highlighting the progress that needs to continue to fight hate and bigotry in American Society.
Lunar New Year Celebration
Lunar New Year Celebration
January 28, 2020
As part of Free to Be Me’s heritage and culture series, which aims to bring awareness and education to staff around the diverse backgrounds of employees in the New York office, we were treated to a short presentation on the traditions of Lunar New Year and celebrated the New Year of the Rat!
Manager, Alan Gong, introduced the group to the Chinese Zodiac system where everyone was able to identify their unique Zodiac characteristics along with their compatibilities. Some people in the group jumped in and shared a little bit about their own connections with celebrating the New Year in cultures where the calendar is traditionally based upon a lunar or lunisolar calendar. Having members of the group draw upon their own experiences really enriched the conversation and celebration! The group was also treated to mandarin oranges, as during Lunar New Year, they are considered traditional symbols of abundance and good fortune.
National Day Celebration
Synpulse USA Summer BBQ
August 17, 2019
Inspired by July 4th, U.S. Independence Day, and August 1st, Swiss National Day, Synpulse USA in collaboration with the Diversity & Inclusion team celebrated US: a Swiss firm in New York City with a multi-national team.
National days are a celebration of family & friends, a time to eat, drink & laugh with loved ones over a grill, music & games. We extended the tradition to our Synpulse family and celebrated everyone’s Independence or National day. Everyone brought their family, games & typical dishes and we all shared our traditions with each other over a burger fresh from the grill. A fun & very hot Saturday afternoon in August on beautiful Governors Island right in the heart of New York harbor, we created a Synpulse National Day.
Pride Day Ice Cream Social
Pride Day Ice Cream Social
June 26, 2019
In honor of LGBTQIA Pride Month, the Diversity & Inclusion team from the New York office hosted an Ice Cream Social on Thursday, June 26th.
We enjoyed delicious, frozen treats from Big Gay Ice Cream, a staple of the New York ice cream scene, that also supports rescuing homeless LGBTQ youth and placing them in safe environments.
We also supplied PRIDE swag for people to wear – bracelets, sunglasses, flags, stickers, and temporary tattoos in preparation for the NYC Pride Parade on Sunday, June 30th.
Calligraphy & Potluck
Celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
The month of May brought us sunshine, blooming flowers, and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM), which honors Asian American and Pacific Islander culture in the United States! At the Synpulse US office in New York, we celebrated APAHM with two events.
On Tuesday May 14th we welcomed Haifan Stohrer, Head of GCM Americas Business Management, in the Global Banking and Global Credit Markets at BnP Paribas to the office. Haifan joined us over lunch to discuss her experiences in the financial services industry.
Overview of Haifan Stohrer’s career:
- Head of GCM Americas Business Management, BnP Paribas
- COO for Fixed Income and Credit Trading, Deutsche Bank
- Global Markets Capital Balance Sheet Manager, Barclays
- COO for US Equity Cash Trading, Credit Suisse
- Manager of Prime Finance and Delta One Trading, Citi Group
On Tuesday, May 21st we hosted a calligraphy class and potluck lunch in the office. Staff members brought their favorite Asian American and Pacific cuisine in for everyone to share. Afterwards, Calligraphy artist, Chun Yan Wang, joined us to teach the basics of Chinese calligraphy. Everyone left the event with their own framed “calligraphy art” of either a name or an expression like love, strength, perseverance or power.