Beyond the stories

A look at the how and why of A Wealth of Women’s Stories podcast

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In fall 2021, IG Wealth Management launched a new way to share women’s stories and experiences. A Wealth of Women’s Stories podcast is hosted by entrepreneur and star of CBC television’s Dragon’s Den, Manjit Minhas, and each episode came to life by introducing listeners to stories of empowerment shared by inspirational women.

The podcast began as a forum where women’s voices are heard, then amplified, and has since become a community of women supporting women.

Now in the middle of its second season, we had a chance to catch up with Lisa Ritchie, IG Vice-President of Talent Acquisition, to talk about the impact the podcast is having both internally at IG, and in the greater community.

But before we talk about the podcast, let’s take a step back and talk about the financial planning industry and how it relates to the podcast. Ritchie says that currently only 23% of financial advisors in Canada are women. She says one of the goals of the IG Talent Acquisition team is to increase this number and promote careers in financial planning for women.

“What we recognize is critically important to achieving this is providing education first. After speaking with many qualified women professionals, both in the industry and outside of it, we have learned how much bias or misconception persists out there around what a career in financial planning is all about. Many women we have spoken to share that they assume this opportunity is ‘all about numbers’ and ‘that they are not interested in becoming an investment banker’,” said Ritchie.

Ritchie says before the financial planning industry can make an impact on hiring more women, it first needs to change the narrative and amplify the voices of women in financial services and women entrepreneurs.

“That is where [A Wealth of Women’s Stories] podcast comes in,” said Ritchie. “It serves as a platform, a community for women professionals to not only examine and discuss relevant issues that impact their careers, but also to create a place to support and to help cope with some of these challenges. The podcast connects women professionals in a fun, dynamic, authentic and safe way.”

Ritchie says the connections being made through A Wealth of Women’s Stories podcast are so important. This togetherness — from people streaming it, to the guests, to the host — is something she feels resonates with the growing community. It also underlines the message of support that is part of each episode.

“You are not alone,” said Ritchie. “Whether you are an entrepreneur looking to build your business, an executive who may not have any other women around their boardroom table, a career changer who is mustering the courage to make a shift professionally, or even an ally who wants to educate themselves on how they can help make a difference, this podcast is your community.”

The consistency of support becomes evident when you listen to discussions during, and around, the podcast. It was something that links back to the four areas the Talent Acquisition team wanted to focus the podcast on: women and wealth; women and well-being; women and leadership; and diversity, equity and inclusion.

These four foundational areas of the podcast created a safe place for women to discuss and share their successes, challenges and barriers they had to overcome. Ritchie says this all links back to empowerment.

“You are never too young, never too old; it is not too early, or too late to start something new or to make a change,” said Ritchie. “As women, many of us defer to all the reasons why we should not do something, why it will not work and what happens if we fail. A shift in our mindset would alter this narrative to ‘I should do this,’ ‘It will work,’ with a vision of what success looks like.”

Ritchie says, in the past, the conversation has traditionally been women competing against men for a job, a promotion or a project, however she says, today that has changed.

“The biggest competitor facing women today is ourselves —- often becoming our own worst enemy, rooted in self-doubt,” said Ritchie. “Fuel your positive mindset by seeking inspiration and strength from other successful women. Building your network to surround yourself with others who you can relate to and draw confidence from. Believe in yourself and go for it.”

Speaking of seeking inspiration and strength from other successful women, Ritchie says, while she finds all the guests on the Wealth of Women’s Stories podcast incredible, if she had to choose, one guest in particular has resonated with her.

“That would be Alyssa Davies’ episode from season one,” said Ritchie. “Alyssa and Manjit have a powerful discussion around the fundamental shift in the wealth management landscape towards women, known as ‘the great wealth transfer.’ In their conversation, they highlight that women are set to control $93 trillion in wealth globally and to hold almost 40% of all wealth in North America by 2023. This is really an unprecedented time in history for women. As Alyssa shares, when selecting a financial advisor they can trust, women are often most comfortable selecting another woman ‘who thinks like them, has a similar life to them, so that they can relate and understand what they are going through.’”

Ritchie says that there is an incredible need for more women to choose financial planning as a career.

“As a talent acquisition professional in wealth management, I feel an enormous responsibility to take action and make progress,” said Ritchie.

She says that, after speaking with many women professionals both in the industry and outside of it, her Talent Acquisition team have learned how much bias and misconception persist around what a career in financial planning is and is not.

“Many women we have spoken to share that they assume this opportunity is all about numbers and selling stocks; that you must be an aggressive salesperson. There is a belief that you cannot have a demanding career like this while juggling family needs and other responsibilities. The most discouraging factor for women is the perception that there is not a steady income stream,” said Ritchie.

In an effort to break the bias and assumptions about what financial planning actually is, Ritchie says IG — through localized recruitment efforts, its field leaders and talent acquisition partners — is committed to ensuring that its advisors reflect the diversity of the clients and the communities which they serve.

“Such efforts have included a focus on advancing the careers of our women within the advisor network, as well as promoting careers in financial services with IG to both women in the industry and those considering a change in careers,” said Ritchie. “The pandemic has accelerated a mindset with more women invested in exploring new opportunities that are aligned to their values and priorities. As such, our talent team and field leaders have engaged with more women who are open to change than we’ve seen in any year prior to our team’s inception in 2018. With the pandemic beginning to recede and the hope of returning to normalcy, we are seeing an increase in the number of women pursuing the advisor opportunity, making up 42% of our total appointments.”

Ritchie says A Wealth of Women’s Stories podcast is just one of many ways IG is hoping to encourage more women to consider a career in financial planning.

“A couple examples of how we are reaching women is through a series of career webinars facilitated by women, for women, covering relevant topics such as: ‘the confidence gap’; balancing the demands of this career with family; compensation; as well as our podcast series, A Wealth of Women’s Stories,” said Ritchie.

Get inspired this summer. Catch up on episodes of A Wealth of Women’s Stories and connect with this growing community of women supporting women. The podcast is available on your favourite podcast app.

About Lisa Ritchie

Lisa Ritchie is Vice-President, Talent Acquisition at IG Wealth Management. She began her recruiting career in financial services 20 years ago, with a full-service brokerage firm responsible for recruiting financial advisors across Canada.

“I quickly became very passionate about this industry, as I was exposed to many inspirational stories of how clients’ lives were positively impacted through the relationship with their advisor,” said Ritchie. “As recruiters, we all know that our effectiveness is derived from how well we authentically connect with purpose.”

Five years ago, drawn by what she describes as “the incredible transformative plans that IG was making,” she joined IG Wealth Management.

“I wanted to be part of this journey,” said Ritchie. “The commitment and focus on clients through real financial planning while providing exceptional resources and support to advisors was intriguing to me. I felt like I was ‘coming home’.”

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