03 February, 2023
#32 Portret van een vrouw in de financiële sector: Susan Beharrell
- Can you shortly present your role as today in the organisation (in 1 sentence)?
I work as Programme and Project Manager within International Change, having covered a wide variety of roles within the financial sector (from working at the counter, to credit risk, operational risk, compliance, etc).
- What brought you to finance?
Although I have a degree in Economics & Computer Science, I started my professional career working in the hospitality industry. I even managed a pub and was the head chef for a while. I started in the financial sector by sheer coincidence. When I was looking for a new job, the recruitment agency suggested that, based on my studies, I apply for a role in a bank.
- What did you learn recently regarding gender equality?
Gender inequality still exists however it’s more subtle nowadays compared to a few years ago. While talking to a female colleague, I realized that gender equality has come a long way however is far from eradicated. As an example, how can you know that we are all treated equally if salaries or grades are not made public within the company?
- What was one of the decisions that had the most impact on you or your career?
It was probably my decision to follow my manager’s advice to take up the job in compliance despite my own reticence. I loved working in compliance.
Another important decision was not to pursue my accountancy certification when I was in my early 20’s. Nowadays I strongly believe that, had I done the certification, I would have stayed in the accountancy world and wouldn’t have made the career moves that I have.
- What would you tell your younger self?
Be more confident fighting for a promotion. Don’t hesitate to push harder and get your manager to commit to a development plan that sets you up for promotion.
- Any message to share with female students interested in finance, or with young women starting their career?
I’ve had many very different roles within the financial sector, and thanks to my network I had the confidence to apply for these roles. Having this network helped me understand what different functions people have and, more importantly, what tasks they perform and what their skillsets are. This really helped me decipher job descriptions and gave me the confidence that I too could do the job. I was also lucky to have managers that pushed me to take up new challenges. Therefore, I would say that women should actively work on their network as well as look out for mentoring opportunities.
Interviewed by: Claudia Roosen