“In order to sustainably drive diversity, equity and inclusion, we must embrace our differences and hone a style of leadership that welcomes change,” – Sarah Petrcich, managing director and head of synthetic asset management, BMO Global Asset Management.
As a champion of diversity and inclusion, BMO launched its SPOTLIGHT campaign, profiling some of the many women who make up the bank’s Global Asset Management (GAM) division. Inspired by their stories, the bank partnered with Maclean’s on March 23 for a special event highlighting Women in Global Asset Management and the strides being made toward equity in the industry. Gathering in Luma’s dining room and lounge atop the TIFF Bell Lightbox, guests enjoyed canapes and cocktails prior to an intimate panel discussion led by Maclean’s editor-in-chief Sarah Fulford.
On the panel, BMO Global Asset Management’s co-CEO Bill Bamber and managing director and head of synthetic asset management Sara Petrcich were joined by Deland Kamanga, group head of wealth management at BMO Financial Group. Together, the three shared insights on industry changes witnessed over the years along with the personal career learnings they’ve picked up along the way.
Over tales of strict workplace attire and tough love on the trading floor, the panel kicked off by speaking to the ways workplace inclusivity has evolved. “I started my career on the floor of the stock exchange,” shared Bamber. “The antics I witnessed were quintessentially Wolf of Wall Street, but a lot has evolved since then. ”
Accelerated by the pandemic, the impact of hybrid work on BMO’s culture of diversity was another hot topic of conversion. “The natural interaction when you run into people in the office is hard to replace,” said Petrcich. “The one thing that I do consciously think about in the hybrid environment is that when you build a high-performing team, you must be cognisant of how each individual is unique on that team and what the demands are in their personal lives. Whether they are in the office or not, you need to be sure that each person on your team has an equal opportunity for interaction so that no one is left behind.” She added to this by sharing how “While the hybrid model offers a lot of flexibility and freedom for work-life balance, it’s important that people not make the assumption that if I can’t see you, that you aren’t being productive.”
As the conversation neared its end, the panel shared their hopes for the future of diversity, equity and inclusion front in GAM. Igniting a roaring applause from the crowd, Bamber advocated for a diversified point of view where creative and analytically-minded individuals can work together to create impactful and innovative outcomes. “We have gone too far toward one side of the brain where students think they must only focus on numbers to enter this business,” he said. “I think the table is big and that we should have room for both programmers and poets.”
Beyond an evening of reminiscent storytelling, the event offered a timely platform for guests to mingle, network and share valuable strategies for building a successful career in GAM—inspiring many in attendance to take their careers to new heights.