International Women's Day

Annually, on the 8th of March, we observe International Women’s Day. In countries such as Belarus and China, it is considered a national holiday for women, in other countries such as Estonia, women are given flowers, but the message is the same throughout; it is a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

This year at Growth Street we want to celebrate three incredible women who have distinguished careers in the finance industry.

April Nardulli: Senior Regulatory Counsel at RateSetter
April Nardulli, Senior Regulatory Counsel at RateSetter
April Nardulli

“It is well established that diversity amongst all levels of staff, and particularly senior management, benefits and enriches businesses.”

Law was not the original path April wanted to take. With dreams of becoming a writer as a child, her journey started with a degree in languages. Her interest in law was triggered when she took an admin job at a small leasing company to support herself whilst completing her first degree. After years of hard work, April now holds a senior legal position within London’s blossoming financial technology industry.

“I did not follow a traditional path to becoming a financial services lawyer. I had always loved language and writing but had also inherited my father’s business acumen. A career in law seemed a perfect combination of the two. It took eight years of part-time study and training to qualify as a solicitor, but the most important catalyst for my career was the industry experience I built up working throughout the time I studied.”

April believes that to encourage diversity within the financial industry (both ethnic and gender) employers need to understand and buy into the business case for it.

“For women building a career in a male-dominated environment, it can be tempting to suppress their femininity to blend in and to be accepted as (often) the only woman at the table. However, the very attributes which even the most confident women sometimes shy away from, such as empathy, passion, emotion and resilience, add tangible value to businesses. Recognising, celebrating and rewarding the strengths and instincts of people from different backgrounds will naturally encourage diversity.”

Victoria Raffé: Non-Executive Director at Starling Bank
Victoria Raffé: Non-Executive Director at Starling Bank
Victoria Raffé
Victoria Raffe's work timeline

“I refuse to think that showing passion for what you are doing is any barrier to career success - in fact, I think it’s essential.”

At the start of her career, Victoria was flourishing in Marketing. She loved all aspects of the industry; the advertising, the tangible results, however, Victoria started to specialise in Regulation, a line of work she would dedicate 20 years of her career to. This position would ignite her love for start-ups.

Victoria tells us: “Early on in my career, I went on a management assessment course. Someone made a point of telling me to tone down my sense of humour to improve my credibility. I didn’t take on their advice. I believe that the warmth, humour and personal touch I have brought to my job has made my time at work much more enjoyable. It has definitely helped me to become a more approachable leader. No-one can accuse me of not being authentic - they may not like what they see, but they know it’s real!

Emilie Bellet: VestPod Founder
Emilie Bellet: VestPod Founder
Emilie Bellet
Emilie Bellet's timeline

“Understanding the need for flexibility may be part of the solution to attracting more women to work in the financial industry.”

Starting her journey in Private Equity, Emilie’s career has taken a new turn; encouraging women to look at their personal finances with content from her blog, VestPod. The blog’s audience is primarily women, but the content applies to everyone. With intriguing articles asking questions such as: ‘Should I invest in my friend’s start-up?” or “Investing your first £1,000.” it is easy to see why Emilie’s blog has become a hit in such a short amount of time as she tries to demystify the world of investing for women.

“Although I have learnt a lot from my years of experience in Private Equity, I realised how little I understood about personal finance. I didn’t have anyone I could speak to who I could trust on the subject. I knew there and then that I wanted to create a blog focusing on women and their finances whilst answering the questions that women did not want to ask. I want to build a business from this and give women the tools and lessons they need on the subject of investing and let them know that investing is inclusive of everyone, no matter of gender, race or capabilities.” 

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