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Industry Spotlight > Women in Wealth

How Women Network, Bond at Industry Events

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Here’s a segment from “It’s Lonely at the Top — Why Peer-to-Peer Networking for Financial Services CEOs Is Critical,” written by April Rudin for The Huffington Post in 2012, just after meeting Cheryl Nash for the first time:

While almost entirely comprised of men, there is an unmistakable “leave your ego at the door” attitude at Tiburon [CEO Summits]. It’s no wonder that so many business deals happen here.

While most of the conference is made of structured meetings, you know that most of the real conversations are happening in hallways, breakrooms, restaurant, bar, etc. I can see the appeal for these high-level executives. They need a place to find wisdom and friendship. It’s lonely at the top — where can a CEO turn for unbiased advice and camaraderie? Other top-shelf execs!

I would say that many of these industry titans see the value of Tiburon as a place of comfort and kinship. It’s an opportunity for a true peer-to-peer networking experience like no other.

For these guys, financial services has been under tremendous scrutiny of late: post-Madoff issues, housing crisis, bank failures and more, which are creating even more pressure on financial services’ firms. There is new technology and globalism that must be understood and leveraged. It’s no wonder that this year’s Tiburon CEO Summit had record attendance.

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How about the women of Tiburon? Who are they? I was able to catch-up with Cheryl Nash, president of Fiserv, a financial services industry technology firm.

She remarked, “Tiburon is a place where I can catch up with the same people twice a year. Moreover, as a vendor to many of these firms, I am able to speak with my own clients at the most senior level.” When I asked Cheryl about the male vs. female ratio, she laughed and said that it’s no different here. I joked with her about the short line at the ladies room at financial services conferences and meetings!

What did I learn at the Tiburon CEO Summit? While it was terrific to listen to the “state of financial services” as reported by Chip [Roame] and meet some interesting and influential people, I learned something really much more valuable. I learned that everyone needs a safety net and a strong, supportive peer network to go to for advice and conversation.

Learning never stops no matter what level you achieve. While counterintuitive, it’s probably more important as you rise up the corporate ladder and your responsibilities grow.