On January 16, 2014 BELRIM organized its first Ladies Mind Risk Event at the EUROCLEAR offices in Brussels. Catherine Van Cauwelaert (EUROCLEAR) and Sabine Desantoine (ING) were the driving forces behind this event.

  1. Make sure you are noticed. Be aware of your attitude and your looks. Be seen and heard. Speak up in meetings.
  2. Ban perfectionism from your values. It is a threat for ladies and makes you vulnerable for criticism. Don’t care about criticism. Don’t try to be liked by everyone. Take your public relations in your own hands. Don’t be ashamed to say “I have achieved this” instead of “Our team has achieved this.”
  3. Look at your career as a long term project (it could be 42 years). Look at the capitalized view. Don’t lose out when you have young children. Manage your career. Don’t sit and wait until you are rewarded.
  4. Be yourself, remain authentic!

These were the tips on how to move up the corporate ladder as a woman given by Lieve Mostrey, Executive Director and Chief Technology and Services Officer of EUROCLEAR, who was the keynote speaker.

Lieve Mostrey joined Euroclear in October 2010 as Executive Director and Chief Technology & Services Officer of the Euroclear group. She is a member of the Euroclear Group Management Committee (5 people, 1 woman) and an Executive Director of the Board (26 people, 3 women) and Chairperson of the Risk Committee.

Previously, Ms Mostrey was a member of the Executive Committee of BNP Paribas Fortis in Brussels, where she was responsible for IT technology, operations (including securities, payments, credit cards, mortgages, clients and accounts), property and purchasing. Ms Mostrey began her career in 1983 with the IT department of General Bank in Brussels, moving to operations in 1997 and, upon its merger with Fortis in 2006, became country manager for Fortis Bank Belgium. She became Chief Operating Officer of Fortis Bank in 2008, which was acquired by BNP Paribas in 2009.

Ms Mostrey was also a Non-Executive Director of the Boards of Euroclear PLC and Euroclear SA/NV between 2006 and May 2010.

Having earned a degree in civil engineering from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in 1983, Ms Mostrey completed a post-graduate degree in economics from the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in 1988.

And last, but not least, she is also the happy mother of 2 grown-up children.

With this background, Lieve Mostrey was therefore the perfect keynote speaker for this BELRIM event exclusively addressed to its female members.

Lieve gave an interactive presentation of her personal views and 30 years of experience on diversity in general and on gender diversity in particular and some tips for women on how to move up the corporate ladder.

“Things would have been different if the Lehman brothers had been sisters” is an often-heard statement that is on the one hand a simplified view and on the other hand irrelevant to the debate, stated Lieve It is however a fact that mixed teams make a difference in a global world. Any decision requires analysis on many dimensions. We are all programmed and equipped differently to analyze certain aspects. Very often corporate organizations are mono-cultural, mono-educational, mono-experienced, so obviously when it comes to decision making many aspects are missed out on.

It is generally accepted that multi-dimensional views are more common with ladies, which might explain why they often take longer to make decisions. Men generally put a train on a certain track and make it run. Women will look at many more aspects and consider alternatives. One should wonder if it is sufficient to have one or two women on board, when we consider the fact that at leaving university the number of women equal the number of men. We seem to lose the ladies on the way up the corporate ladder.

However, gender is only one aspect of diversity. Culture is another aspect. A culture that valorizes diversity is needed to make wise decisions and that is the core of risk management.

The talent pool in the Western world is under great pressure. There is a war for talent. Moreover, the challenge of the aging population should not be underrated. How are we going to make our welfare model sustainable?

From a society perspective we also need to capitalize on female talent. Is our society ready to do this? Do women know what they want?

In her 30-year professional career, Lieve Mostrey regrets to say that she has seen very little difference or improvement.

Young women seem convinced that it is sufficient to have talent and work hard. Why then do they drop out on the way up?

Although many books have been published on the topic, not many solutions are offered. One of the key factors that seem to work is the flexibility which is more frequently offered for employees to work from home on certain days or opt for part time contracts during some years. These possibilities still seem to be regarded for women only by society. Perhaps that is where the heart of the problem lies.

It is easy to be action driven: to help and support women to climb the corporate ladder through mentoring, e.g. The bigger challenge is to help men – who are the deciders – to recognize female talent, for male and female talents manifest themselves differently. Men like to think that all decision on promotion is always rational and almost scientific.

Debating about the quota leading to a less strong woman being preferred to a stronger man, should be avoided, because it is a wrong hypothesis. Recruitment is about some objective facts, personal judgment and bias. Instead of using the term “quota” it might be a better choice to use “balance” as a label. Balance is needed in all kind of topics. Striking that balance on gender diversity is one goal worth going for.

After this interesting presentation, a lively debate followed in which many of the participants gave their points of view and exchanged their experience.

The networking continued over a lovely lunch. From the evaluation we can conclude that this first Ladies event was a success and the story will most probably be continued.