What Helps State Street’s Professional Women’s Network Thrive?
Tapping into the power of their people, technology, insights and experience, State Street is a leading provider of financial services to institutional investors. Their presence in 30 locations across the world creates unique opportunities for employees to gain access to a global network of peers. They also understand that success depends on the success of all stakeholders – clients, employees, investors and the communities they serve. As part of this approach, State Street strives to create an environment where employees across the globe feel their identities and experiences are represented, embraced and celebrated.
One way State Street is doing this is through global employee networks, which unite employees around common goals to build career and create cultural opportunities. There are currently more than 20 employee networks, including the Black Professionals Group, Latin American Professionals Group, Disability Awareness Alliance, and Pride and Friends.
In celebration of the International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we talked with State Street’s Professional Women's Network (PWN) to understand what makes the network thrive.
Global Presence and Cooperation
With 30 PWN network chapters at State Street offices around the world, international collaboration and transparency plays a key role. Virtual meetings bring together representatives from North America, EMEA and Asia Pacific. “Moving to a virtual environment has increased the opportunities for cross collaboration of events between the PWN global chapters and enhanced our exposure to senior executives globally to participate as speakers in virtual panel event discussions,” notices Sinead Kiely, co-chair of the Ireland chapter and vice president with the EMEA product strategy team. “Our China chapter also increased the engagement with other PWN chapters, especially including Hong Kong and Australia in the APAC region,” adds Yuefang Wang from the FX sales trade research team and chair of Hangzhou chapter.
Chapter co-chairs share best practices, report achievements and discuss opportunities to join efforts, for example, on occasions such as International Women’s Day. This year, colleagues across State Street were united by the #ChooseToChallenge campaign, encouraging everyone to challenge gender bias and inequality, celebrate women's achievements and help create an inclusive world. The PWN’s global efforts allow employees to feel welcome and build a network of colleagues in their local office and a sense of belonging to State Street’s global team. “I am thrilled as I reflect on my affiliation with the local and global community, building on lasting relationships and developing a broader international business view,” reflects Ritu Pandey, India chapter co-chair and controller at the Global Finance Center. “Every interaction has helped me sharpen my strengths, while also developing a bigger-picture perspective to engage and deliver at every level.”
Strategic Planning and Global Impact
The global PWN aligns closely with a key corporate value: global force, local citizen. The PWN leads strategic programming to support professional development and networking opportunities for employees at both the local and global level. Through events and programming, the PWN spotlights important topics applicable to the members. The Network is also supported by several global senior executives who take part in a Global Advisory Board, helping the Network sharpen their strategic focus and brainstorm key global programming and policies.
“As we continue to increase our connectivity and collaboration across regions, employee networks like the PWN provide key opportunities to create synergies between global members. They also provide important career development programming, and continue to advance diversity and inclusion within our employee base by connecting employees from all levels of the company across regions both locally and globally,” says Katherine Colpitts, Massachusetts chapter co-chair and relationship management specialist within the Global SPDR Strategic Partnerships team.
At the country-level, chapters operate by facilitating locally relevant initiatives, such as workshops, mentoring programs, guest speaker events, and partnerships with external business networks and non-profit organizations. In the United States, the partnership that the Massachusetts chapter has with the Boston Women’s Workforce Council supports their goal to decrease the gender pay gap in the Boston area. In Poland, the regional chapter collaborated with the Women’s Rights Centre and received a grant from the State Street Foundation to execute a project that supports women struggling during the global health pandemic. The Ireland PWN chapter was recognized by external partners for its collaboration with 100 Women in Finance, the Professional Women’s Network Dublin and the 30% Club. In China, the PWN chapter collaborates with China Women’s Development Foundation and in 2020 provided aid for female doctors and nurses fighting the pandemic.
Of equal importance is the PWN’s focus on allyship. This diverse and intersectional community forms a key pillar to promote all PWN members, while spotlighting the important ways diverse backgrounds benefit all.
“Working for a company like State Street and particularly in the APAC region offers a cultural richness that you can leverage and celebrate across country borders. We have an incredible array of diversity across the business, which can be tapped into to create unique and inclusive events,” says Claire Cleeve, chief administrative officer and a co-chair of chapter in Hong Kong.
As allyship becomes a continued and important aspect in network goals for workplace equality, the PWN partners with other employee networks to raise awareness and foster an environment of inclusivity and support. A key component for allyship in the PWN lies with male membership. Collaboration across employee backgrounds is the cornerstone for affecting change within the broader industry.
Programmed for Success
International collaboration and a focus on supporting career growth for employees at all stages of professional development has led the PWN to launch several global programs.
The Talent Advisory Program helps members take charge of their careers, strengthen their professional profiles and prepare for internal mobility opportunities. Participants benefit from resume reviews, interview coaching, toolkits and expanded knowledge of State Street to build their networks and effectively demonstrate their talents.
Global Mentoring Circles pair employees from junior to mid-level management positions with senior leaders from various areas of the bank. The cross-regional format of the program provides a forum for employees to build their network, learn from both leaders and peers, and expand their knowledge and understanding of the bank.
To build and support a pipeline of senior leaders and help bridge the male and female achievement gap, the Global Sponsorship Program focuses on developing senior-level positions, pairing candidates on the vice president and managing director level with a senior leader. The process of matching is targeted to the candidate’s specific needs and creates a mentoring relationship based on career goals and growth.
“Being a part of the PWN team that manages the Sponsorship Program over the last years, I had the opportunity to meet many talented individuals, who have transitioned into a new role or even attained a promotion through their sponsorship. I could not be more proud to have been given the opportunity to lead a program with such talented individuals,” says Svetozara Koleva located in Amsterdam, who leads a PWN Sponsorship Program and a PWN Mentoring Circle in addition to her role as a culture lead in the Transformation Office. “One of the strengths of State Street is that we, as an organization, are very supportive and nurturing toward our employee networks and those that run them. The networks, spanning across the business areas, bank titles and regions are the invisible glue between our employees,” she emphasizes.
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