State Street’s Professional Women’s Network Thrives Globally
At State Street, global employee networks provide opportunities for colleagues to celebrate the values and cultures that unite them, and to learn from each other. With a mission to support professional development and networking opportunities, the Professional Women’s Network (PWN) is working to create a culture of inclusion that aligns with State Street’s purpose to help create better outcomes for the world's investors and the people they serve.
We spoke with the recently appointed global co-chairs of the PWN to learn more about their networks’ goals.
Global Head of Product for the Alternatives Segment, Jennifer S. Tribush, leads the asset servicing product teams. She also serves on the Boston board of the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association and the executive board of BUILD Boston, whose mission is to use entrepreneurship to ignite the potential of youth.
Jeanet Ladino-Otero is responsible for process assessment, risk identification and identifying areas of improvement for analytics and planning as part of the Human Resources Workforce Planning team. Jeanet has also led initiatives with State Street’s Latin American Professionals Group.
New leaders bring a wealth of new perspectives. How is the PWN changing with the appointment of global co-chairs?
Jennifer: We have learned from the pandemic that the needs of our workforce have evolved over the past two years and the PWN is no different. Virtual work environments allow for even better cross-regional collaboration. As global co-chairs of PWN, Jeanet and I are responsible for setting and leading the global strategic vision of the network. We work closely with PWN’s Executive Sponsor, the Global Advisory Board, the Global Inclusion Diversity & Equity Office and our 29 global chapters, to enact change within the network and ensure all PWN members have access to the programming, resources and tools necessary to advance and thrive at work.
What are some of the goals you want to tackle?
Jeanet: Our vision is to elevate and empower employees across the network and organization. To start with, we are working on creating an International Women’s Day signature event that will be recognized globally. This will include executives from our organization and we hope to eventually expand and include other organizations. In addition, we are working along with PWN’s remarkable regional leaders, who have already created local programs and events that benefit the network’s members. Our goal is to foster collaboration and raise awareness about global career development programs, such as our Sponsorship Program, Mentoring Circles and Talent Advisory Program, and develop new ones.
What are the challenges you see ahead as global co-chairs?
Jennifer: As we continue to operate in a hybrid environment, the PWN will take a critical look at the needs of our members to effectively champion true gender balance in the workplace. We’re excited to promote a call to action to support, attract and retain the members of our network. While we’ve made good progress, there is still so much to be done. We hope this work will inspire more employees to join us.
Jeanet, your motivation to support the career development of others is also related to your personal experiences as a Latina. Can you share more about the challenges that people of various backgrounds may experience in a new culture?
Being a Latina in the United States (US) is both an honor and a challenge. I believe it also applies to other cultures. I came to the US in 1992 from Colombia and, as you can imagine, it was quite a challenge for me. I will just outline a few challenges. First, I had to learn how to de-escalate. I am from Colombia where everyone is extremely affectionate, and I had to learn not to do the same here. Not everyone likes to be hugged and kissed the moment they meet you. The second was the language barriers. Everyone’s experience is different but, in my case, even if you consider yourself fluent in the language there will always be situations that make you hesitate to share your thoughts.
The third challenge is the stereotyping, which has its own biases, including the assumption that if you speak Spanish you are Mexican. These assumptions come from limited mindsets who are not aware that there are more than one country that speaks Spanish. There are additional stereotypes about Colombia that we must battle against.
The fourth one relates to your own identity. At times, you feel like you really do not belong in the new country and at the same time when you go back ‘home’ that place does not feel like home anymore.
The final one is the survival mode you go into after settling into a new country. You have to work with what is available to you, and it may not be something that you enjoy doing or what you went to college for. Through the years, I took many steps backward to make my way into the field I went to college for and the one I enjoy working in.
Being involved with employee networks, including the Latin American Professionals Group, has given me the opportunity to find a sense of belonging and work for the community. At the same time, being a part of the network also helped elevate my profile, gave me the opportunity to participate in high-profile mentorship and sponsorship programs, network and get advice from executive managers. I look forward to working with PWN in the next two years to provide opportunities to others.
Ready to make your mark? Learn more about career opportunities in finance and technology at State Street here.