Nordea-WCN Event panel

Popular event put spotlight on (more) women in finance

02-06-2021 09:00

With the (ongoing) mission to encourage more women to join the financial industry, Nordea partnered up with Women’s Career Network in arranging an event for female students. The theme was “Courage to Evolve” – and it turned out to be quite an attraction, leaving the attendees more open-minded to a career in finance.

In May – the European Diversity month – the Women’s Career Network (WCN) invited Nordea to join forces in organising a virtual well-being event for Finnish female students. The two hours inspirational event, which involved body and mind exercises, and tasty treats, was popular. The event was fully booked within two days with 30 students signed up and +20 on a waiting list. And the feedback was overwhelmingly positive; “excellent”, “very successful”, “inspiring” – read on, and see the responds from participants.

The event kicked off with energy-boosting yoga, guided by SagaYoga. Afterwards, the participants were in for another treat; dinner was brought to their homes by Wolt couriers, which they could enjoy while following a panel discussion with Nordea representatives from Markets and Investment Banking in Finland.

The panel consisted of a diversified group of Finnish employees at Nordea Markets and Investment Banking; women working in various areas of the bank, with varied career stages and different backgrounds – such as manager, senior sales manager with background from gaming industry and associate from Investment Banking.

The panellists shared their individual career stories, and openheartedly told about personal situations which have required their courage – both at work and outside work. Well in to their respective careers, they also discussed what kind of advice they would have given themselves back then when they were about to graduate or when starting their careers.

Starting a family – a certain kind of courage for women

“Many job tasks may feel exciting but also even intimidating because there is so much responsibility – which also makes it very fascinating. With an open mind, and with courage, you can handle them. What other way is there to gain experience, and build more courage? It is important to have trust in yourself and your abilities,” said a panelist.

“You can trust in your colleagues – reach out and you’ll get support and guidance from senior colleagues. You must also have courage to step outside your comfort zone – that way you’ll evolve. Looking back, you’ll realise that it’s actually your own personal expectations and thoughts that might be your biggest obstacles,” added a fellow panelist.

Another panellist mentioned that starting a family, could perhaps also need a certain kind of courage for women, and revealed that she herself was pondering on when would be the right time for her, considering her career.

“I’ve realised there would never be a “right time”, and I should just have the courage to proceed with my plans. Having taken that decision, I discovered that Nordea was a very supportive employer, which helped dissolve any fears or doubts combining family life and a career,” the panellist told.

Veera joining the panel discussion from home.

Strengthen and highlight your skills

After the panel discussion, the participants were divided into smaller groups, and opened up for sharing and discussing personal experiences and challenges in a relaxed atmosphere with participations from Nordea representatives – who got many interesting questions from the student during the session.

Participants interested in applying for Nordea’s internship programmes, got tips from the Nordea people, who told about what kind of social and professional skills and abilities are valued. When it comes to candidates for Markets’ FFP (Future Finance Professional) trainee programme (5 months during summer) and Investment Banking’s analyst internship (runs for various periods through-out the year).

“I often advise students to highlight their interests, and be true to oneself when applying for internships and trainee programmes. For example I didn’t have a strong financial background before joining Nordea Markets, so I emphasized my passion for development and innovation which where the topics for my thesis as well, and during my job interview, we ended up having a great discussion about innovation within the financial sector. When I joined the FFP programme a few years back, I was chosen to a team that specialized in development – it was the perfect match,” says Veera Valkeinen, one of the panellists from Nordea Markets.

Essi, one of this year’s FFPs, helped organise the event.

Essi Lepistö, who also represented Nordea Markets and helped organise the event adds: “I only had a few weeks of my FFP internship behind me when I was asked to represent Nordea at this event, and I didn’t think twice to take the opportunity. I consider my volunteering or extracurricular activities to be like a hobby to me, and being able to bring them together with my work feels highly motivating as I continue my summer as intern at Nordea Markets,” says Essi Lepistö, FFP intern at Markets FX Sales, Finland.

Essi has been active in developing different kinds of student associations during her studies, with Women’s Career Network being one of them. “To be part of a student collaboration and now on the corporate side, was an extremely insightful and rewarding experience for me,” Essi tells.

The event was excellent, inspiring …

We hope that you’ve gained some insight too, and we’ve managed to inspire more female students to apply for positions in the banking industry. Be courageous, believe in your talents and capabilities and put your full potential in play.

Feedback from participants:

“The whole event was excellent. Yoga, food, interesting careers and stories. Would love to have more of these kind of events”.

“Panel discussion and the break out room sessions could have been longer as the topic was so interesting”.

“A very successful event and the Nordea representatives were inspiring”.

“Wonderfully warm and versatile event, and good discussions as well”.

“Very interesting to hear about the career paths in Nordea. I’m now more interested in Nordea as an employer after hearing about the personal growth stories.”

FAQ Women's Career Network (WCN)

  • Founded in 2015 in Stockholm 
  • Aim: Contribute to a movement to increase the percentage of women in leading positions
  • Expanded to Finland in 2016 and is also active in Switzerland and Australia 

WCN Finland

  • Around 400 active members within business and law
  • Offers company visits, annual mentorship programs, and virtual events
  • Run by 17 determined team members
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