Among the incredible leaders celebrated in Forbes‘ list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, which came out last week, several are from the global financial industry. Though their backgrounds couldn’t be more different, they are all working mothers who share a passion for their chosen professions and a commitment to helping women succeed in the challenging world of financial services.
Here are the five finance industry leaders listed among Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women:
Title: President, Fidelity Personal, Workplace and Institutional Services, Fidelity Investments
Forbes Ranking: #57
Abigail Johnson is Fidelity’s president and heir apparent to the company founded by her grandfather and currently run by her 82-year-old father, Chairman and CEO Edward C. Johnson III.
Upon earning an MBA from Harvard, Johnson began working for the family business in 1988 as an investment analyst and fund manager. In 2001, she was named head of the firm’s mutual-fund division. In 2011, Johnson became chairwoman of Fidelity Management & Research Co., the company’s mutual fund operation which manages about $1.3 trillion in total mutual fund assets.
Title: Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, ICICI Bank
Forbes Ranking: #59
Chanda Kochhar started her career at ICICI Bank, India’s largest private bank, in 1984 as a Management Trainee. As she steadily ascended the company’s corporate ladder, Kochhar gained experience in every division of the bank, from retail finance to corporate infrastructure.
In 1996, Kochhar was struggling with handling her workload and taking care of her infant son. ICICI’s then CEO Kundapur Vaman Kamath let her take a half-year hiatus from her job as head of infrastructure financing. Kochhar credits this short break with giving her the ability to stay committed to her career, while also taking the time she needed for her family.
Thirteen years later, in May 2009, Kochhar succeeded Kamath as CEO.
Title: Chief Executive Officer, Westpac Banking Corporation
Forbes Ranking: #60
Australia’s most influential businesswoman, Gail Kelly runs Australia’s second largest bank, which serves around 12 million customers, employs 40,000 people, and has more than 1,200 branches.
Kelly began her career as a Latin teacher and earned her MBA while pregnant with her first child. When Kelly applied for a senior HR executive position at South Africa’s Nedcor Bank in 1990, the mother of infant triplets and one toddler was interviewed with one of her children sleeping in her lap. According to a recent profile of Kelly, she “not only got the job but also convinced her future boss to hold the full-time position open for her for the next seven months, until her babies were at least a year old.”
Kelly is a leading advocate for the advancement of women in business. In 2011, she set a public goal to have women represent 40% of her top 4,000 managers by 2014. That number is already at 38.5%.
Title: Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
Forbes Ranking: #65
The first woman named to head the SEC, Schapiro took the top job in 2009 when the financial crisis and the Madoff scandal had everyone wondering if the country’s regulators were asleep behind the wheel of the economy. Schapiro’s commitment to reforming financial services led Time Magazine to anoint her one of The New Sheriff’s of Wall Street.
Schapiro, who started as a lawyer at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission in 1980, has been a regulator for most of her career. When President Reagan appointed Kelly as a SEC commissioner in 1988, she was the youngest person ever named to the position. When Robert Rubin, then the economic czar for the Clinton administration, tapped Schapiro to take over the US Commodity and Futures Trading Commission in 1990, she was nine months pregnant.
Though her job is 24-7, Schapiro works from home on the weekends so she can spend more time with her two daughters. This year, Working Mother magazine named Schapiro one of its 10 Most Powerful Working Moms.
Mary Callahan Erdoes
Title: Chief Executive Officer, JP Morgan Asset Management
Forbes Ranking: #95
One of the most powerful women in Wall Street, Erdoes runs, according to Forbes, “the world’s fifth-biggest asset management company, which includes the second-biggest hedge fund, the nation’s most prominent private bank that serves the ultrawealthy and more than 200 other investment classes. In her first calendar year on the job profits rose 20% to $1.7 billion on revenue of $9 billion.”
Erodes received an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and B.S. from Georgetown University, and is on the short-list of those who could succeed JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon.
A mother of three, Erodes told Forbes:
“The good news is, you can have it all, but you have to be religious about your schedule. The thing to remember is there is no such thing as work-life balance–my husband and I naively thought we could have that, but we found out you can’t and still be on your A-game. It’s really about work-life integration.”
At a time when many young women are wondering if they must temper their career ambitions in order to start a family, it is wonderful to see that these women are both mothers and industry leaders. As Chanda Kochhar said:
“Woman need the conviction to believe that they can manage their work and family. It is important to enjoy both the roles, we need to treat this as our special privilege.”
How do you attend to family and work without losing touch with either? Share your tips in the comments below.