Inspiring student initiative shaping the future of women’s participation in the finance industry

Friday, March 19, 2021
by Ramneek S., AFM student

Striving to bridge the gender gap within the finance industry through an engaging conference

Hi everyone! I’m a 1B student in the Accounting and Financial Management (AFM) program and I knew when I first started university that I wanted to get involved with an initiative that I was passionate about and made a real impact. After attending a lunch and learn event hosted by the UWaterloo Women in Finance (WIF) initiative, I realized I had found my match!

Women in Finance executive team
At WIF, I met a group of inspiring, diverse, and driven students who are all working to push forth on one important mission: “To inspire, educate, and encourage more women to capitalize on opportunities in the finance industry.” The desire to touch upon all three aspects of this mission sparked the idea of a conference. When the time came for planning, we knew we wanted to design an event that could make a wave of impact and push more female students to seek opportunities in the finance industry - and I believe we managed to do just that!

A Day in Capital Markets Virtual Conference was a one-day event in February for female UWaterloo students to provide students with insights into various firms and industries within finance. It consisted of a keynote, four firm sessions, and an industry panel. The inspirational part of our mission was brought home by our keynote speaker Lindsey Walton, Head of Canada for Principles for Responsible Investment. She discussed the challenges she faced as a woman in the finance industry and how she overcame them. The lesson that I took away from Lindsey’s experiences was that although the challenges surrounding equity are still alive and well in the finance industry, we should never let being a woman stop us from going after any opportunity. Women are just as capable of being great leaders in this field or any other!

The educational aspect of WIF’s mission was supported by the industry panel and the TD Securities, RBC Capital Markets, Polar Asset Management Partners, and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan firm sessions. The industry panelists provided a very diverse outlook and insights on the industry, ranging from areas such as growth equity to venture capital and more. This helped expose me to the plethora of unique opportunities in the world of finance. Each firm provided a great breakdown of its culture, background, and the opportunities that are available for students. Being a first-year student, after leaving these sessions I felt much more aware and confident!

Last but not least comes the encouraging aspect, which was really ingrained in the whole conference—from Lindsey’s journey of finding success to the roles and opportunities highlighted by the firms and industry panel!

The conference has long passed, but the WIF team is still hard at work! We have a bunch of events planned for the spring term, so stay tuned! If you want to get involved with our initiative, be sure to follow us on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Facebook.