Brand Idea Article

Career Inspiration from Five Women at Allspring Global Investments

March is Women’s History Month, a time set aside to celebrate the contributions women have made in the name of gender equality. We’re going one step further by sharing insight and advice from five women who work at Allspring Global Investments, in an effort to help the next generation of women in finance.

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3/1/2023

10 min read


Topic

Culture

Key takeaways

  • March is Women’s History Month, a time set aside to celebrate the contributions women have made in the name of gender equality.
  • Women have pointed to learning from mistakes, using networks, embracing unconventional paths into finance, and listening as among the best career advice ever received.
  • Some of the biggest challenges faced by women have been managing nonlinear career paths, being a minority viewpoint in a larger group, and simply getting a foot in the door.

March is Women’s History Month, a time set aside to celebrate the contributions women have made in the name of gender equality. We’re going one step further by sharing insight and advice from five women who work at Allspring Global Investments, in an effort to help the next generation of women in finance.


Gretchen Wilder, Executive Business Manager | Office of the CEO

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Learn from your mistakes and have a growth mindset. We all make mistakes, so there is no reason to dwell on them. It’s better to understand why you made the mistake in the first place, then move on and try not to repeat it.

If a female college student asked you for advice on how to start a finance career, what would you tell her?
I would tell her two things: First, find an internship at a company you could see yourself working at after college. Second, find a mentor.

What has been one of the biggest challenges of your career so far?
I know I’m not alone when I say the transition from Wells Fargo Asset Management to Allspring, but for me it took place while also navigating a very challenging time for my family. It was the most overwhelmed I’ve ever been during my career. My responsibilities changed and the projects I was working on were incredibly varied, so I was pulled in more directions than ever before. I really had to constantly prioritize and re-prioritize, stay organized, and rely on so many of my amazing Allspring colleagues to stay sane!

What do you know now that you wish you knew as a new college graduate or in an earlier stage of your career?
Take your personal life as seriously as you take your career. It seems so obvious, but so often when we think of our future we focus on our career goals, leaving our personal life a bit of an afterthought. The decisions you make in your personal life will have the biggest impact on your future happiness, including your financial and career success. So be thoughtful and make decisions in your personal life very carefully!


Christine Collins, Investment Strategies Consultant

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Network, Network, Network!

What is the biggest challenge for women entering a male-dominated industry?
Finding and using our voices in meetings.

If a female college student asked you for advice on how to start a finance career, what would you tell her?
Study hard, be confident, practice your interviewing skills, ask questions, and don’t be afraid to fail.

What has been one of the biggest challenges of your career so far?
Careers are not always linear. There are no crystal balls in terms of the decisions we make for ourselves and our families, but it should always “feel” right. Trusting your instinct is critical.

What do you know now that you wish you knew as a new college graduate, or in an earlier stage of your career?
Confidence goes a long way. So does admitting when you don’t know something. Learning never ends.


Sophie Careford, Product Specialist

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Embrace your path. I had a somewhat unconventional path into finance. No finance degree. No internship. No grad program. I started at the very bottom and worked my way up. I used to be embarrassed about my path to the point where it may have started to hinder my progress by limiting my horizons. With a lot of encouragement and support, I learned to embrace my path and, through an iterative trial process, began to see the value I add by bringing a different perspective to the table.

What is the biggest challenge for women entering a male-dominated industry?
Being the only woman in the room can be tough—and sometimes intimidating. I think the biggest challenge is having the courage to find your voice and speak up. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by some of the most sophisticated and experienced investors. Asking a question in this environment can be daunting, however sometimes, the most simple questions can be the most powerful. Ask the question, it could become the start of something exciting.

What has been one of the biggest challenges of your career so far?
Stepping into a new role last April as a product specialist and building credibility in this role was always going to be a challenge. It’s taken a lot of hard work and determination on my part. My non-linear path through distribution to solutions to product armed me with a diverse skillset to tackle the challenge head on. Another key part in overcoming this challenge has been having the support of my team. I’d encourage anyone in this position to seek out someone who can champion you, take every opportunity to learn, and lean on those around you to support you in achieving your goals.


Tyndale Brickey, Associate Portfolio Manager

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
You can’t learn anything when you’re talking. Ask all the questions. Intellectual curiosity is critical to my job as an investment professional. I love learning how companies work, why management teams do what they do, and how strategy today will impact decades in the future. Plus, almost everyone loves to talk about him or herself!

As young women begin their careers, what is one thing they can do to lay the groundwork for financial success?
Talk about money! I read a study that Gen Z, our most outspoken and open generation to date, is still uncomfortable talking about money and finances. Ask your friends in the industry what they make and share what you make. You need to benchmark yourself, and it helps everyone to understand market rates from true life examples and not Glassdoor, for example. Anecdotally, men I’ve known in my personal life feel very open and willing to discuss salary and bonuses, even among peers who make significantly more or less than themselves. Women do not do that. It’s still seen as taboo, and we need to help each other out with financial literacy and acumen.

What is the biggest challenge for women entering a male-dominated industry?
Getting your foot in the door. Women’s financial networks are smaller than men’s. Begin networking immediately. Ask female and male family friends in finance for advice, check with your school’s alumni associate, and make as many connections as possible—as soon as possible. Once you’re in the industry, you’re in the minority. People will remember you if you’re the only woman in the room; make them remember you for a good reason! Always be prepared with intelligent questions, due diligence on the subject, topic, company, person, etc., and embrace your individuality and differences.

What do you know now that you wish you knew as a new college graduate, or in an earlier stage of your career?
How to advocate for myself. Knowing my worth, my market value, and asking for the money, the role, the responsibilities and challenges instead of waiting for them to come to you. I didn’t have a family member or mentor early in my career pushing me to negotiate or drive harder, and I started advocating for myself too late in my career. Early in your career, the status quo is never the place to be for too long, and it’s up to you to change it.


Jaime Morgan, Senior Director, Client Portfolio Specialist

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
I have been fortunate to have several great colleagues, leaders and mentors over my 20 years in the industry. There were many different stages in my career where their insights and guidance helped frame my thoughts and actions at those particular times. However, if I look back over some instrumental times that got me to the place I am today, the one piece of advice that sticks out is to challenge myself to step outside my comfort zone at times. This has taken many forms over the years and has been as simple as learning new products, strategies and concepts, networking with new colleagues and finding new opportunities to be engaged both professionally and personally. But it has also meant bigger steps such as moving to a different city for a new job and new company, getting my MBA while working full time, leaving the industry for a brief period and then coming back to land in a good spot. When I have stepped outside my comfort zone and challenged myself, new opportunities open up and allow me to continue to grow and develop.

What is the biggest challenge for women entering a male-dominated industry?
A lot has changed over the years, and we are definitely in a better place as women in this industry today than we were 20 years ago. So I’m thankful for that. I never saw the fact that I was a woman, being in a male-dominated industry, as a challenge. Sure there were times it was challenging and frustrating, but my biggest advice is to not take it personally and force yourself to step back. Find your voice, your seat at the table and be engaged. See yourself as an equal from a gender perspective, and let other differences be the differentiator. If I put myself on a level playing field with my male colleagues, this helps me focus on things I can control and ways I can contribute without letting gender come into consideration. Clearly there are going to be others that don’t view things the same way as I do and challenge me on this. And I can’t ignore that there are differences. I have set boundaries around the fact that I am a working mother and need to balance work and life. I try to normalize conversations around work-life balance—discussing with my leader and colleagues the need for flexibility around meeting times, or times I’m away from work when kids are sick or have doctors appointments. My husband and I have had many conversations around each of us pitching in to balance the time that calls one of us away from work. And I have been fortunate to have companies and leaders that embrace this flexibility as well and allowed me to have that good balance.

If a female college student asked you for advice on how to start a finance career, what would you tell her?
Don’t let the fact that we are in a male-dominated industry scare you away from a career in finance. There is plenty of opportunity for women in this industry—probably more opportunity now than ever. Not that the gender imbalance in our industry should be ignored; there is a lot of work yet to be done in this regard, and education and awareness are key. There are a lot of biases, many unintended, that have formed over the years that I feel many people aren’t even aware of. As we continue to uncover and address these biases, we will continue to make strides to eliminate them. Challenge yourself and step outside of your comfort zone at times to put yourself on an equal playing field and continue to develop and grow. Form good relationships with your peers, your leader and other leaders in the organization and make yourself a valued member of the team. Network with other women in the industry and learn from strides that have been made along the way and how we can continue to move the needle towards equality.