Many students and new grads have the skills to hatch the career of their dreams, but often lack one important thing: industry connections.
Networking is important for professionals in every field, but it’s especially critical in Finance. This fast-paced line of work can be challenging to break into, so it helps to know people who have navigated the process before and can help steer you in the right direction.
This is exactly what the CPP Investment Board Women’s Leadership Conference was designed for. This exclusive one-day conference held in downtown Toronto provides university women with the opportunity to meet with senior professionals, sharpen their leadership skills, and learn more about the Finance and Technology industries.
With the 2016 event coming up soon, we connected with past attendees Cindy Kurt and Paige Franzoi to learn more about the conference – take a look!
Meet Cindy and Paige
For both women, the CPP Investment Board Women’s Leadership Conference was more than just a conference, it was a stepping stone to a future career.
“CPPIB was always my dream company so any chance to set myself up for a co-op term there was worth taking,” says Cindy about her decision to go to the event.
Currently, she works in the Total Portfolio Management department as an Investment Research Analyst. She attended last year’s conference to expand her network and connect with others who were passionate about supporting women in Finance. In addition, with her unique background in both Finance and Math, Cindy was curious about how she could apply both of her skillsets to a future career in the field.
Commerce student Paige works as an Analyst at CPPIB. Having recently made the transition from specializing in Accounting to Finance and Economics, participating in the Women’s Leadership Conference seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn more about her new field.
“I was specifically interested in exploring Private Investments as a career option and hearing about the day-to-day work life of an analyst in that department,” says Paige.
Experiencing the conference
Paige and Cindy had some ideas of what the conference would be like, but the real event far exceeded their initial expectations.
Both women were treated to a wide range of experiences including workshops, panel discussions with CPPIB representatives, and of course, plenty of time to network.
“There were so many opportunities to talk to professionals from every level and department at the company and such fantastic training was provided,” says Paige. “The organizers of this conference really thought about the exact training and learning experiences young women needed and provided an itinerary that did just that.”
Additionally, the conference’s focus on women created a warm and encouraging atmosphere that both Paige and Cindy greatly benefitted from. Being able to work closely with both peers and industry professionals in different sessions throughout the day was a learning opportunity like no other.
“Right from the start everyone was friendly and keen on sharing their experiences,” says Cindy. “It was exactly the type of environment you’d hope for among women in the workplace today – one of collaboration and support.”
Want to maximize benefits of the 2016 Women’s Leadership Conference? Do your research!
“Spend some time before the conference familiarizing yourself with the different departments across CPPIB to enrich your discussions. Doing so will lead to more informed questions and help you make the most of the time you have!” – Cindy Kurt, Investment Research Analyst, CPP Investment Board
Without a doubt, one of the biggest benefits of the Women’s Leadership Conference is the potential doors it can open for young professionals.
For example, attending the conference gave Paige and Cindy a “competitive edge” during the CPPIB hiring process that helped both of them to land egg-citing co-op positions at the company. Furthermore, the conference helped them strengthen their professional networks and gain the confidence they needed to achieve their goals.
So if you’re a woman looking to hatch a career in Finance, both Paige and Cindy have one word of advice for you: apply! No matter what specific area of the industry you want to pursue, attending the Women’s Leadership Exchange can help prepare you for your future career.
“It was an incredible experience to spend a day with such remarkable women,” says Paige. “I learned so much from speaking with them. Hearing their stories and learning through their example was the highlight of the conference.”
Adds Cindy: “This conference has provided me with a network of contacts that have done and will do great things and I think that’s one of the most valuable things you can hope for – meeting people who inspire you and are happy to help you bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be.”