Episode 52: Challenging the Gender Gap
Guest: Emily Viner
I am so excited that it’s April and winter is finally past us. I hope that you’re enjoying the weather and being outdoors as much as I am.
My guest this week has been making a difference in gender balance in the financial industry and sales, and she is calling on others to help. Emily Viner, Vice President of Agency Management & Leadership at The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America has found her passion and is hoping to help other women find theirs too.
After graduating with a degree in Marketing and Economics, Emily spent some time applying for marketing positions. During one interview she was asked to do a typing test. Concerned that she would be seen more as a secretary, she knew that there was more purpose in her life and turned down the job. Eventually, she came across an ad for sales in finance. Not knowing what that meant, she went and spoke with people at the company. After learning more, she became fascinated, especially by the fact that she could help others while making a comfortable living.
Knowing that women make great advisors and that women tend to buy from other women, the Guardian conducted research on why there was such a gender gap in the financial industry. After surveying several thousand women, they found that it was the sales portion of the industry that wasn’t appealing. They also found that women spent most of their time being competent and less time being confident, which has also been validated through brain science. This results in women not being comfortable with taking risks.
If this sounds like you, Emily recommends being authentic but to also learn how to say “yes” even when you don’t know how. The pressure to always be perfect and to avoid risks is holding you back. Also, we all need to get better at helping other women gain more confidence and to pull each other up.
Emily took her research and presented it to the industry through a conference with over 26,000 attendees. After her presentation, Emily challenged the industry to form a coalition to help encourage change towards gender imbalance. Over 400 people came together to look at several pieces that needed to change, and to encourage the sales aspect of the industry. During a 90 minute session, there was a huge response, which included companies from 8 different countries. At the end of the conference, 150 people signed up to take part in the coalition, with a goal to make an impact by March of 2017.
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