Diversity & Inclusion

Build a rewarding career: Advice for women in the financial services industry

March 25, 2022 - 4 minutes

Tamara Finch, our Executive Managing Director and Global Head of Financial Sponsors, shares career-building advice for young professionals in the financial markets industry.

A business woman shakes hands with a colleague.
As part of our recognition of Women's History Month, we're sharing some insightful career advice for women in the financial services industry. Tamara Finch has worn many hats over her career: Executive Managing Director and Global Head of Financial Sponsors at TD Securities, Managing Director and Head of Portfolio Management at Teachers' Private Capital, wife, mother, and professional leader. Throughout it all, she's learned that there is no "perfect" time to make a career move – you have to embrace new opportunities and take educated chances.

"I made the leap from the buy side to the sell side, and it was one of the best decisions I have made in my career," Tamara says, describing a time in her career where she took a calculated risk. "I wasn't planning on making a switch to investment banking. However, I was ready for my next big job and a new learning curve. Robbie Pryde, who leads Corporate & Investment Banking at TD Securities, and I talked for months about the firm's desire to grow its financial sponsor business and I recognized this as an amazing opportunity that was an excellent match for my skill set and private equity experience."

Tamara was recently a panelist at Women in Capital Markets' 'Leading Edge' conference – an event connecting thought leaders with junior professionals – and talked about her career journey. We're sharing some of her Q&A responses on navigating the financial services industry, and her advice to women on how to identify the right organizational supports to help build their careers.

What traits should young women look for when a company says it "supports women"?

Look for companies that are hiring and promoting women at the same rate as men and providing equal opportunity for growth and relationship building. I love the description about diversity and inclusion as "Diversity is being asked to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance." It's not enough that firms are hiring women. Organizations need to make sure the women are being asked to dance and not sitting in the office working while men are relationship building. Substantive face time with key leaders -- whether in meetings, over drinks, or at a hockey game -- fosters relationships and willingness to speak about you in the conversations that matter. Familiarity leads to likeability and likeability leads to sponsorships.

And look for companies that are supportive around parental leave, and encourage men to take time off, so that it's not only women putting their careers on temporary pause when they have babies.

How do you navigate your career in an industry that could be doing more to support women leaders?

If companies don't have senior women in their ranks, young, smart women are not going to envision themselves being able to progress to senior leadership roles. The finance industry is waking up to the fact that diversity of thought and background leads to better discussions, better decisions, and ultimately better financial performance. While there has never been a better time to be a woman in finance, there will be inevitable bumps in the road, and you need to be resilient. Resilience is a learned skill – taking on new challenges and learning to strive through difficult times makes you stronger. Don't shy away from a career opportunity because you feel you don't check all the requisite boxes. Hard work, a growth mindset, and resilience go a long way in leading to success.

Read more about our women leaders. Visit our Women in Leadership Spotlight series page

How can we deal with setbacks? Do we change course or keep pushing?

Ensure you get the fact base and try to take the emotion out of challenging situations. Disappointments, whether professional or personal, are hard and they hurt. I'm a big believer in having a growth mindset and embracing the learnings that failure brings, which ultimately makes you better.

Seek input from people around you that you trust, are knowledgeable of both your capabilities and areas of development and are willing to give you constructive feedback. Then you can make an educated decision on whether the path you are on is the right one or it's time for a change.

What advice do you have for prioritizing family goals with career goals?

You can have it all, just not all at once. Don't wait for the timing to be perfect until you have the career experience you think you need to start your family…biology plays a role. When you have children, don't be afraid to take your foot off the gas, but don't quit. Speak to your boss or women that have done it ahead of you for advice. Having little ones is a very short period of time in a very long career. And finally, take advantage of peaking at different times than your male colleagues.

You have a voice. Make sure it is heard.

A closing message to women and all those paving their career paths: It may feel daunting at first, but pick your moments to speak up, demonstrate the value you bring to the table and ensure your voice is heard. You have put in the hard work and have the knowledge and experience. Be confident that you have earned your seat at the table.

Find a career opportunity that fits you. Visit our Careers page

Headshot of Tamara Finch

Executive Managing Director and Global Head of Financial Sponsors, TD Securities

Headshot of Tamara Finch

Executive Managing Director and Global Head of Financial Sponsors, TD Securities

Headshot of Tamara Finch

Executive Managing Director and Global Head of Financial Sponsors, TD Securities

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