< Alle artikels

03 February, 2023

#33 Portret van een vrouw in de financiële sector: Carmen Boschmans

1)    Role in the company

Head of economic relations and outreach, responsible for

-developing economic relationships between the national bank and a wide range of professional target groups for example companies, regional business and sector organizations, unions, colleges and universities, financial sector, economic communities.

-outreach activities of the bank towards the various stakeholders through specific communication channels

-organizing and supporting a network of economic and financial conferences: NBB conferences and Belgian Financial Forum events

In fact, we are the ambassador for the NBB and we network in the financial-economic landscape throughout Belgium


2)    What brought you to finance?

-Choosing for economics and finance as an education was not a decision I recall having made actively or consciously. My parents were self-employed, doing business in the textile sector. I grew up in an environment where everything was related to business, buying and selling things. So the choice for an economic study after secondary school was easily taken.  I was a good student, so I was “allowed to do further studies after secondary school”, in my family that was considered more like privilege…a privilege that was not allowed to my own parents for example because they both had to start working in their family business after secondary school.

-The fascination for financial markets as a young girl and later as a student is definitely something I received from my father who as a hobby was following the financial market news on a daily basis and he was investing a bit in the stock market. What attracted me to all of this as a child was probably the inability to understand a single thing on how stock markets function or why share prices moved. I didn’t understand it at all and that triggered me somehow and I was fascinated by it.

3)    What did you learn recently regarding gender equality?

In some of the fields where I have been active in my career (asset management, investments, dealing rooms, certain areas of prudential regulation) gender diversity was and is still limited. Despite women being well represented in economic studies they seem to be less attracted to these more number-based areas. I am not sure if this is a natural preference or whether it is caused by culture.


In the fields where there is a diverse group however at the bottom of the career ladder, we should see the same gender mix in higher management positions as well. I think many efforts have been made in recent years to encourage women to take on management role and it starts to pay off, we start to see more female presence also in the board of directors of financial institutions.  Nevertheless, I still struggle on a daily basis to compile diverse panels, to find female keynote speakers. Look at the financial institutions in Belgium and which of them is directed by a woman, currently it is only a small minority. How will we achieve this as a society?

4)    What was one of the decisions that had the most impact on you/your career?

I have made 2 radical career shifts, after 5 years of working as an economist and investment specialist for an asset management firm I switched to the field of prudential regulation at the national bank which I did for more than 7 years. 1 year ago, I made another radical switch abandoning policy work to my current role in economic relations leaving a purely analytical role for a role with a lot of networking. Both career shifts were not really planned, I just took opportunities when they occurred.  In both case the radical shift required of course a lot of effort, but I enjoy having new challenges and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. When moving to banking regulation, legal knowledge was important as well as developing negation skills in the international working groups for example while in my current role in economic relations it is important to build a large network of contacts in every sector and with all the different economic actors throughout the country.


5)    What would you tell your younger self?

-Use your time efficiently, your student time is a period in your life where you have so much free time, later on when you for example start a family free time is so scarce

-Focus more on developing skills instead of focusing on acquiring knowledge. That could be mastering a language but also for example practicing a team sport

-Chose your studies and career path in function of the things that make you happy and give you energy, although I acknowledge for a young student this is not an easy question. I chose the course derivative pricing because I thought it would look good on my CV. The 37-year-old me would probably not do the same thing

-Don’t stick too long at one place in the beginning of your career, dare to change even though it will require a lot of effort

-invest a lot in attending networking events


6)    Any message to share with female students interested in finance, or with young women starting career?

-make use of every opportunity you receive to network, talk with starters in different sectors, different companies, attend in house days, future self-days, open company days. Maybe academic research contradicts this, but I can’t seem to shake the impression that women put less effort into this

-Dare to switch your career path in a totally different direction, even though the changes are radical. You will need to invest a lot of effort, familiarize yourself with new material. But your experience, knowledge and competences will grow stronger in the long run and that will make you a more valuable employee with a broader set of skills

Interviewed by Sarah Bonmariage:

“Being given the opportunity of a different approach in my contacts with Carmen was incredibly interesting. It unveiled many information about her that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. It made me realise how often you parallel work with people on a daily basis without necessarily actually getting to know them and how much you would gain from knowing them better.”