Get some inspiration from a female investor about how to get more women investing in themselves and the markets. (4:59 min read)

This information does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. You should consider if the relevant investment is appropriate having regard to your own objectives, financial situation and needs.

The content of this article relates to Leonie’s personal experience and research only and is not to be taken as general or personal investment advice. The only purpose of this article is to celebrate women investing. Leonie Wilkinson has experience working with institutional investors and is not licensed to provide financial product advice to retail investors.

 

We sat down with Leonie Wilkinson, property investment specialist and director at QIC, to talk thriving personally, professionally and financially.

Leonie dropped some serious pearls of career wisdom, and reveals why she remains optimistic about women and the future of investing.

 

Q: Any nuggets of career wisdom that proved useful throughout your career?

Yes, there are two memorable exercises I’ve learnt that have been very helpful to me.

The first was simply picturing myself as an 80-year-old woman, reflecting on my career, and thinking through what would have made me proud. It’s nice to think long term.

The second was more recently, answering the question:

“why do I do what I do?”

The exercise helps me think through this in a structured way – breaking down that big, profound question into a series of smaller questions, ranging from:

  • What do you do for work?
  • Why do you do it?
  • How is that making you a better person?
  • How is it making the world a better place?
  • Why do people employ you?
  • What topics are you constantly debating?
  • What makes you happy?
  • How do you think the world should be?

From all of this, you can quite easily distil your beliefs, which helps you understand your values. Once you understand and can articulate your values, you know what you’re about.

You become the author of your career; complex decisions become easier, and demanding situations become manageable.

 

Q: What are some nuggets you’ve picked up yourself along the way?

Choose not to take offence. It’s brilliant.

 

Q: Did you ever come up against the “glass ceiling” on your path to leadership roles? How did you break through it?

I’m fortunate to have worked for a range of personalities, and have learned so much from both supportive and challenging management styles.

For me, while I’m still on a journey and don’t feel I’ve “broken through” or “arrived”, I would credit three main things to the growth in my responsibilities to date.

The first is being trustworthy – simply do what you say you’re going to do, every single time. Trust and relationships take a long time to develop, so take every opportunity you can to be reliable, deliver your very best work, and focus on adding value.

The second is investing time and energy in building your networks. There is so much knowledge and insight available when you get out and talk to people.

It has really helped me connect dots, recognise opportunities and just be in the general flow of information.

“Lastly, I have tried to think long-term about my career and not focus too much on short-term gains. It’s been great to try different things, get totally out of my comfort zone, constantly learn.” 

I believe that if you focus on adding value and taking on new opportunities, people notice and the rewards come – if not within your organisation, someone outside will notice and reward you.

 

Q: What do you think needs to be done in order to narrow/close the gender investing gap?

Fortunately, we are seeing narrowing gender inequality in wealth.  According to the Boston Consulting Group, between 2010 and 2015 private wealth held by women grew from US$34 trillion to US$51 trillion, and from 28% to 30% of total private wealth.

The research suggests most of the wealth that changes hands in the coming decades is likely to go to women.

Some money managers and pension funds are recognising the trend of rising women’s wealth and are responding accordingly.

This goes beyond better communication with women and includes recognising that women, particularly younger women, want to invest in a way that is consistent with their values.

In a recent Morgan Stanley survey,

84% of women said they were interested in “sustainable” investing, that is, targeting not just financial returns but social or environmental goals. The figure for men was 67%.” 

Investment firms seem to have recognised this and there are many examples of sustainable-investment and impact-investment focused firms and products to service this demand.

Interestingly, the newest trend within values-driven investing is in fact to use a “gender-lens” to make investment decisions.  A small but growing group of investors are starting to ask whether their money helps or harms women.

I am optimistic that all of these dynamics working together will eventually close the gender investing gap.

 

Q: Best/worst investing decision you made + lessons learned?

I have to say the best investment I’ve made was a 12-month commitment to Bikram yoga during a particularly stressful transaction back in my investment banking days!

The great lesson for me was to prioritise health, sleep and wellbeing.

This is very mainstream now, and it’s lovely to see a real focus by companies on the overall wellbeing of their employees.

 

Q: If you could give women one piece of wisdom from your personal experience about investing, what would it be?

Really understand your objectives, then devise your strategy, and then execute – in that order!

 

You can catch the rest of our women & investing series here.

 

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About Jade Ong

Jade Ong is a Co-Founder of AtlasTrend, an online investment platform that makes it easy for anyone to learn and invest in trends transforming our world. Jade has over 15 years experience in financial markets including roles at Macquarie and IAG Asset Management.