Worldwide: International Women's Day #BalanceForBetter

Last Updated: 13 March 2019
Article by Intertrust Group
Most Read Contributor in Netherlands, February 2019

Today is International Women's Day, a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The theme this year is #BalanceforBetter and at Intertrust we strive for a balance, equality and diversity amongst our workforce. We have many strong and inspiring female leaders within the organisation across the globe and we asked some of them how they got to where they are now, what career advice they'd give to their younger self and who they most admire.

Read on for their stories...

Name: Stephanie Miller
Job title: CEO
About you: I'm driven, focused and hardworking. I love to travel and scuba dive. And I love my dog. No matter how bad my day is - Santiago still believes in me.

How did you get to where you are now?
My policy was to always know the whole value chain - know your job and learn other people's jobs. I got here because I arrived to work smarter than colleagues and I take opportunities like travelling to gain experience. And never forget to engage everyone and be nice - it's a small world.

Career advice to your younger self:
Keep better records on who you meet and in what context. People want to help. The world is an open book test - this isn't pass or fail - ask for what you need.

Who do you admire?
I think about great people. The CEO of Bridgewater, Eileen Murray, is strong and inspiring. Hilary Clinton is also super impressive. Also, my first mentor, Rick Filipelli, taught me that I was more than good enough. Everyone should have someone that reminds them that they are more than good enough.


Name: Alice Lau
Job title: Head of Private Wealth, Executive Director, Hong Kong
About you: I was born in Hong Kong, I studied in Hong Kong and have always lived in Hong Kong... I'm 100% made in Hong Kong!

How did you get to where you are now?
Hard work, trustworthy and humble.

Career advice to your younger self:
Formulate a career plan and timeline. Be focused and persistent.

Who do you admire?
Coco Chanel - because she is very successful in the fashion industry.


Name: Alli Seppänen
Job title: Managing Director, Finland
About you: I'm a business minded M&A lawyer, now turned managing director.

How did you get to where you are now?
I have throughout my career, irrespective of my industry and role at the time, sought out challenging tasks, roles and projects where I could thrive to do my best with the team, developing and learning new things. That's what keeps things interesting for me.

Career advice to your younger self:
Always listen to yourself and focus on the things that motivate you in life. Make conscious choices in your career. Seek the steep learning curve.

Who do you admire?
I have been fortunate to find excellent role models in life, both men and women, all of whom have taught me a lot.


Name: Allison Wemyss
Job title: Head of Learning and Development
About you: I recently relocated to the Netherlands from Jersey and have worked in learning and development for over 20years. I have a grown up daughter and was a stay at home mother until she was four years old. I don't have a university background so my career has been about working my way up.

How did you get to where you are now?
A mixture of always having a clear career goal and the drive to go for it. I was also quite persistent in my early career about asking my employers for support with attending training and acquiring qualifications and experience.

Career advice to your younger self:
Work hard at building successful work relationships, they will carry you through the hard times and make work so much more rewarding.

Who do you admire?
Katherine Johnson - she worked as a NASA mathematician in the 1950's going onto to become an aerospace technologist. She overcame so many barriers to be successful.


Name: Andrea Williams
Job title: Managing Director, UK
About you: I am a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and in my head I am a forensic scientist courtesy of the CSI franchise!

How did you get to where you are now?
My career so far has been based on determination, hard work and the support of family, friends and colleagues.

Career advice to your younger self:
Listen, observe, learn continuously, plan yet be flexible, acquire discipline, aim for excellence and let your work speak for you.

Who do you admire?
Harriet Tubman and Michelle Obama both exemplify a spirit of excellence, resilience, industry and grace.


Name: Anja Grenner
Job title: Director, Fund services, Luxembourg
About you: I head up the funds team in Luxembourg and have 25 years of funds experience in Luxembourg.

How did you get to where you are now?
Work harder and be better than the male colleague next to you.

Career advice to your younger self:
Become an expert in one field prior to becoming a generalist, not vice versa. Be curious, ask questions and learn. The job always needs to be fun, if you don't have fun, change the job.

Who do you admire?
Madeleine Albright. Intelligent, strong and human.


Name: Carmen Rozpide
Job title: Managing Director, Spain
About you:I have been working for Intertrust since 1995 and I still enjoy it as it's always been different and challenging. I like traveling, sports, eating and art.

How did you get to where you are now?
Hard work.

Career advice to your younger self:
Common sense is obvious but is very important.

Who do you admire?
Malala of Pakistan. Women that fight for the right to study for girls in her country are vital. Something that's obvious in our world is forbidden in other countries.


Name: Ciara Smith
Job title: Head of Regulatory and Compliance Services
About you: I'm Irish and recently relocated to Amsterdam with my partner to work for Intertrust. So far I'm loving Amsterdam life and feel I'm already a proper native having recently been knocked off my bike!

How did you get to where you are now?
Completely by chance. After realising I didn't want to be an accountant, I fell into a role in risk and regulation, becoming a subject matter expert in an area which just exploded after the financial crisis. I've worked hard, taken risks and was lucky enough to have a supportive partner who believed I could pull it off.

Career advice to your younger self:
Failure is a good thing. If the small stuff always goes your way you will never be able to handle the big stuff.

Who do you admire?
Leda Braga - she has a PHD in quants, joined Bluecrest when she was 34 weeks pregnant (!), and is the most successful female hedge fund manager in the world. When asked how she succeeded in such a male dominated world she just said simply that she always liked to work.


Name: Deirdre Hochman
Job title: Head of US Corporate and Administration Services
About you: I'm a financial services leader delivering corporate performance through financial leadership, operations discipline and strategic business planning. I enjoy growing and leading high performing teams built on trust and accountability.

How did you get to where you are now?
My positive attitude, hard work, determination and learning from my team mates have been the keys to my success.

Career advice to your younger self:
Do not be afraid to make a mistake! Fail fast and then capitalise on the lessons learned.

Who do you admire?
I admire Marie Curie because she did not allow the rules of the time to stifle her passion to learn and take action.


Name: Imelda Shine
Job title: Managing Director, Ireland
About you: I grew up on a farm in Tipperary (yes, it's a long way). After University I moved to the US and lived on both coasts for 10 years. I've enjoyed the growth and change in the financial services sector over the last several years. Dublin is now home for my family and it's great to see it such a thriving city a decade on from the financial crisis.

How did you get to where you are now?
A sense of adventure took me to California after I graduated from business school and I haven't really looked back. My motto is work hard and be nice to people.

Career advice to your younger self:
Build resilience, back yourself and enjoy the journey!

Who do you admire?
I am a huge fan of Christine Lagarde - I admire her intellect, grace and style, she appears to shoulder her responsibility seamlessly.


Name: Mari Hietala-David
Job title: Director of Global Marketing
About you: I'm Finnish living in Amsterdam with my husband and two children. I love my job and my team. I love to travel and spending time with my family and friends.

How did you get to where you are now?
A combination of hard work, luck, enthusiasm and dedication as well as having great bosses, a supporting husband, outsourcing housework and volunteering to do more.

Career advice to your younger self:
Have a clear goal of what you want to achieve. Make a five-ten year plan and then break it down smaller. Network, be positive, focus on your goals and don't worry about things that you can't influence.

Who do you admire?
There are so many. Frida Kahlo, Hilary Clinton and my own mother. They've all achieved great things, despite criticism and headwinds.


Name: Marie McNeela
Job title: Managing Director, Guernsey
About you: I'm a wife and mother of two children. I'm originally from London and have also lived and worked in Cayman as well as Guernsey.

How did you get to where you are now?
I've taken opportunities that were offered to me and relocated a few times to take on roles that I knew I would be challenged by and enjoy. I've worked hard and made sure I work with people I respect and can learn from.

Career advice to your younger self:
Be open-mined. Work hard but make sure you take time for yourself too. Life is not just about work and finance is not the only measure of success.

Who do you admire?
Dame Mary Perkins is a great example amongst many.


Name: Marieke Palstra
Job title: Director Investor Relations and Corporate Communications
About you: I live and work in Amsterdam

How did you get to where you are now?
By not being afraid to change, be open to new challenges.

Career advice to your younger self:
Be more patient and be more vocal about what you want.

Who do you admire?
Michelle Obama


Name: Nikki Giraud
Job title: Finance Director
About you: I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2004 and have worked in Jersey, London and Cayman Islands. Now working in the Jersey Finance team, I've seen a number of changes and milestones met over the past 10 years. Outside work, I have two children as well as a passion for running and travelling.

How did you get to where you are now?
Throughout my career I've always had a clear vision of my goal, I've maintained strong business values, self-belief and a positive work ethic. These qualities have driven me to where I am today.

Career advice to your younger self:
Understand that your career will evolve and always be responsive to change. Having a good perception in business along with the right amount of confidence is powerful. Don't sell yourself short, believe in yourself.

Who do you admire?
I have immense admiration for working mothers who successfully manage both a demanding job and also raise confident and happy children.


Name: Pamela Valasuo
Job title: Director, Business Development
About you: I'm a grounded, accessible and open-minded person. I'm lucky to have been surrounded by people who have helped me professionally as well as supported me as a mother of three. I love to travel and I love the sea; sailing is a passion of mine.

How did you get to where you are now?
I gained the support of people I respect and built and maintained these long term relationships. I have taken opportunities that have come my way and I it's important not to forget to have fun.

Career advice to your younger self:
Live without hesitation and without fear of judgement, trust your instincts and don't compare yourself to others. You should never hold back in giving your opinion. It may be hard to see it sometimes but you have great ideas and you shouldn't be afraid to share them, even when people might not agree with you.

Who do you admire?
I admire women who manage to maintain the balance of life whilst continuing being true to themselves and their aspirations.


Name: Sonja Hartsuijker
Job title: Managing Director, Curacao
About you: I studied law and started working in the financial services industry about 10 years ago, following a career in HR previously. I'm very committed to my team and my family. I have three kids and love to travel.

How did you get to where you are now?
Deliver what you promise, work hard, discipline, being goal driven and having structure helps a lot. I create opportunities and act on them. I strongly believe luck is something you create yourself.

Career advice to your younger self:
Don't worry about being yourself because in that way you'll add the most value.

Who do you admire?
I admire anyone with strength and resilience.


Name: Susanne ten Berge
Job title: Service Line Director
About you: I live in Rotterdam and studied law in Utrecht (the Netherlands) and Cape Town (South Africa), high level field hockey player, big fan of golf, tennis, art, cultural trips and living the good life with family and friends.

How did you get to where you are now?
I'm passionate about my work, this generates energy. I love to work with people. I also pinpointed a 'spot on the horizon' for the short and long term and worked towards that. Correct and timely communication is key.

Career advice to your younger self:
Stay strong, stay focused whilst engaging and empowering other people to achieve your own goals.

Who do you admire?
Maxima Zorreguieta (current queen of the Netherlands). She's a strong empowering lady.


Name: Thecla Kamphuijs
Job title: Service Line Director
About you: I have worked for Intertrust for over 18years and setting up the Intertrust office in Sao Paulo was an exciting highlight for me. I like working with people of different professional and cultural backgrounds and traveling is my most favourite hobby.

How did you get to where you are now?
By being open to opportunities and new challenges and also pushing myself out of my comfort zone regularly.

Career advice to your younger self:
Be convinced of your own strength and capacities and don't be afraid to make mistakes.

Who do you admire?
I admire women who are independent and choose their own path and career in life.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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