Women Leading The Finance Industry: “A society which embraces, educates and advances its women, secures a better future for its children.” with Lorraine George-Harik and Tyler Gallagher
Nurturing of support systems that provide advancement and education of all women, without ethnic, religious, or economic bias. Our perspectives on the advancement of women are often colored by ethnic norms, religious traditions, or economic barriers. The contributions of women in societies all over the world are greater and far more impactful than understood or recognized. We must promote the recognition of those contributions; use them as role models to further the education of women who do not have access to educational systems which will nurture their advancement. A society which embraces, educates and advances its women, secures a better future for its children.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Lorraine George-Harik, a Partner in Cerity Partners’ New York office and is a Co-founder of the firm. She has served in several leadership roles for Cerity Partners including Wealth Management Practice Leader and Chief Marketing Officer. She is currently a member of the Executive Committee and the Personnel Development Committee. Lorraine has more than twenty-five years of experience in wealth management, capital markets, corporate and international banking, serving affluent individuals, multi-generational families, business owners, privately-held companies, foundations and government institutions in the U.S and abroad.
Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you into the banking/finance field?
I was unconventionally introduced to banking and finance as an undergraduate student. My school was hosting a “Prospective Employer Showcase” in the Student Union dining room. While working the breakfast shift during the event, I was also tutoring one of my Arabic language students, who was working alongside me. One of the guests heard me and asked, “What language are you speaking?” I replied, “Arabic.” She gave me her business card and asked me to visit her booth during the showcase, which I did. She offered me a position on the Middle East liaison desk within the international banking department of a global bank.
Can you share the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far?
A: I am fortunate to have had many interesting experiences in my career. One, in particular, was as a member of a special six-person team tasked with completing a $2 billion gold project, which remained confidential at the highest executive levels. We were sequestered in a conference room for five months to complete trades to acquire the gold and work out the logistics for refining, minting, insuring and transporting across the oceans. It was an above and beyond adventure, not without challenges, but successfully completed to the satisfaction of the noble client.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Our mission to positively impact the financial well-being of our clients through uncompromised advice and oversight is our greatest strength. My colleagues and I not only believe that this is our mission but more importantly, our duty. We value the contribution of each colleague and other professional advisors with whom we collaborate to serve each client uniquely. Our resources are extensive, and our capabilities comprehensive. In all that we do for our clients, we remain refined, honest and resolute.
Wall Street Used to be a “boys club.” This has changed a lot recently. In your opinion, what caused this change?
Wall Street and finance have changed in their perception and inclusion of women, albeit, we still have a ways to go. C-Suite and management roles are still held primarily by men, and where and when decisions are made, too often women of equal stature are “notified,” not included.
However, as new generations move into these positions, equilibrium has begun to unfold. There is greater acknowledgment of the education, problem-solving skills and decision-making of women as well as a greater appreciation of the extensive preparation and credentialing they undertake to combat the negative perception and earn a seat at the table. Women have learned to carry themselves with confidence and engage deliberately.
Of course, despite the progress, we still have a lot more work to do to achieve parity. According to this report in CNBC, less than 17 percent of senior positions in investment banks are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a) individuals b) companies and /or c) society to support this movement going forward?
1. Inclusivity in solutions-setting and decision making. Individuals have the opportunity to create environments, which invite conversation and contribution by women. We must learn to invite women to join the conversation and to craft solutions. Listening and learning from others is one of the most productive paths to consensus.
2. Recognition of gender-blind skills and credentials. Corporations, their leadership, management and human development professionals must be trained and regularly reminded how to avoid gender bias in their skills assessments, and more importantly, in the development and promotion of women to non-traditionally identified roles. Women are eager to and can meet the challenge.
3. Nurturing of support systems that provide advancement and education of all women, without ethnic, religious, or economic bias. Our perspectives on the advancement of women are often colored by ethnic norms, religious traditions, or economic barriers. The contributions of women in societies all over the world are greater and far more impactful than understood or recognized. We must promote the recognition of those contributions; use them as role models to further the education of women who do not have access to educational systems which will nurture their advancement. A society which embraces, educates and advances its women, secures a better future for its children.
You are a “finance insider.” If you had to advise your adult child about five non-intuitive things one should do to become more financially literate, what would you say? Can you please give a story or example for each?
Five “non-intuitive” practices to become financially literate:
1.READ, READ and READ MORE. U.S., global, right, left, new, old.
2. Travel outside of your comfort zone. The more you experience how others live, the more you will understand the economic eco-system.
3. Understand all the fine print before you sign. If you don’t understand, ask questions until you are satisfied.
4. Develop lifestyle financial awareness and quantify it to understand the impact of your spending and saving habits. For example, establish personal credit early by owning a credit card, and for the first twelve months only charge what you can pay off entirely at the end of each month.
5. Set happiness goals: Find what makes you happy, pursue, cultivate and reap the benefits, both financial and psychological. Don’t be afraid to go off-course: that may be your true calling, which will bear real fruits.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
When I was a child, my father often said to me, “As you climb the ladder of success, look from side to side and thank all of those who are holding the ladder for you.” I try always to do so and have been very fortunate to have worked with many dedicated associates at my side.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Stand boldly, go confidently. Never compromise your integrity — you are what you say and do. In all of my personal and professional encounters, I have lived by this promise to my mother, who came to the United States at the age of 19, to pursue her university studies.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
If I could inspire a movement to bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, it would be: LITERACY, beginning at the youngest ages, in every country, at no cost to family, so we can ultimately create a world which seeks understanding through knowledge.
Thank you for these great insights!
About The Author:
Tyler Gallagher is the CEO and Founder of Regal Assets, a “Bitcoin IRA” company. Regal Assets is an international alternative assets firm with offices in the United States, Canada, London and Dubai focused on helping private and institutional wealth procure alternative assets for their investment portfolios. Regal Assets is an Inc. 500 company and has been featured in many publications such as Forbes, Bloomberg, Market Watch and Reuters. With offices in multiple countries, Regal Assets is uniquely positioned as an international leader in the alternative assets industry and was awarded the first ever crypto-commodities license by the DMCC in late 2017. Regal Assets is currently the only firm in the world that holds a license to legally buy and sell cryptos within the Middle East and works closely with the DMCC to help evolve and grow the understanding and application of blockchain technology. In addition to his role with Regal Assets, Tyler is a regular contributor to Forbes, Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global and Authority Magazine. Tyler has also been featured in many news publications and has been a guest expert on “The News with Ed Shultz”. Tyler is a proud member of the Forbes Finance Council a private invite only-group of hand-selected industry leaders.