International Women’s Day 2022: #breakthebias

Today is International Women’s Day 2022, which has the theme of #breakthebias, aiming to create a world ‘free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination’. To mark this important day, we asked two STEP members about their experience of being a senior woman at STEP and their role models. This is what they told us:

Bock Eng Sim, STEP Singapore (left) and Vanessa King, STEP BVI (right)

Vanessa King TEP, Managing Partner at O’Neal Webster, Chair of STEP Caribbean and Latin America Regional Committee and Chair of STEP BVI

What has your experience as a senior woman at STEP been?

STEP is very much still regarded as a men’s club and this is a topic that is often raised within our region, which in contrast has many female industry leaders. I am hopeful that as more women take their place at the STEP table, as we have been seeing over the years with such chairs as Helene Lewis and now Nancy Golding, that that label will be a thing of the past.

STEP has definitely contributed to my growth and development as a leader in the industry. I have met, worked with and learnt from amazing people with different ideas and perspectives that have framed the way I view my role and the way I lead. I have developed relationships through and within the network that have become great resources for me in many different aspects of my work life.  

Who is your female role model within the industry?

The Caribbean and Latin American region has many strong women leaders in STEP and the wider industry and I have been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work closely with them. The former chair of STEP, Helene Lewis, was a former chair of the BVI Branch and has without a doubt paved the path on which I now walk.

She has encouraged me with words and actions on my journey within STEP. Lorna Smith OBE is another leader within the industry that I have a lot of respect and admiration for. She is a titan within the financial services industry and is an exceptional role model for anyone in the industry.

Sim Bock Eng TEP, partner with the firm of WongPartnership and Chair of STEP Singapore.

What has your experience as a senior woman at STEP been?

I have found STEP to be unique. Members come together with the common purpose of sharing information and know-how in order to achieve excellence in their respective areas of expertise. It allows each of us, and in particular, women, to be a part of STEP and a part of the private wealth industry.

This is regardless of the stage of our lives, be it we are charging to build a career, seeking to establish ourselves or taking a slower pace as we build and care for our young families. The collegiality is invaluable and regardless of the stage we are at, STEP is always a relevant reference and touchpoint!

Who is your female role model within the industry?

That’s a challenging question. In truth, there are quite a few to put to paper from within and outside the industry. A trait which has impressed me in my years of practice and which I try to emulate is the willingness of women practitioners to create opportunities to work with and cross sell for fellow practitioners.

As well as this, they are willing to share their experience and their life hacks to deal with challenges and pressures from both work and family demands. It fosters a positive working atmosphere amongst the STEP practitioners and clients have so far always been appreciative of the outcomes achieved.

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