7 March 2023
Honest Conversation with our CMO on #EmbraceEquity
As the financial services industry continues to evolve, so do the challenges faced by women in the sector. However, M4Markets is leading the charge on equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace. In an exclusive interview with Marilena Iakovou, M4Markets' Group Chief Marketing Officer, we delve into her insights on gender equity and how the company promotes inclusion and diversity.
Marilena, an industry veteran with over a decade of experience in the financial services sector, joined M4Markets in 2020 and talks about the challenges she has faced in a historically male-dominated trade.
IN CONVERSATION WITH OUR CMO
Interviewer: Marilena, can you tell us a bit about your background and how you became the CMO of M4Markets?
Marilena: I've been working in marketing and advertising for over a decade, and I've had the chance to work for some pretty big names. But, as much as I loved those experiences, I was ready for a new challenge. That's when I joined M4Markets in 2020 and since then I am a part of a company that is committed to innovation, growth, and customer satisfaction. As CMO, my job is to make sure that our brand is rock-solid and that our message resonates with our audience. It's a big responsibility, but it's also incredibly exciting to be part of a company that's doing such great things in the financial services industry.
Interviewer: This year's International Women's Day theme is #EmbraceEquity. How does M4Markets promote equity in the workplace, particularly for women?
Marilena: Look, at M4Markets, we don't just talk the talk, we walk the walk. We have a culture of diversity and inclusion, and we encourage our employees to bring their unique experiences to the table. Did you know we have a total of 18 nationalities working at our company? And this number will continue to grow. Plus, we have women holding leadership positions and we offer equal opportunities for growth and development. And, let me tell you, we're not about to let anyone's gender, race, sexual orientation, or background hold them back.
Interviewer: In your opinion, what challenges do women face in the financial services industry, and how can these challenges be addressed?
Marilena: Oh, where do I start? Women face a ton of challenges in this industry. For starters, it's been a boys' club for way too long. Personally though I never felt as a minority because of my gender because I am confident of myself and what I can do. I believe that it is all about character and not gender. I faced a lot of challenges through the years, and I overcome them all through hard work and dedication, therefore the only challenge is with myself. But indeed, there's a lot of gender bias and discrimination, and it's a challenge to balance work and family responsibilities. To address these challenges, we need to have more women in leadership roles, and we need to promote mentorship and professional development opportunities. And let's not forget, it's time to get rid of bias and discrimination and create a work environment that's supportive and flexible.
Interviewer: How can M4Markets support and empower women in the financial services industry?
Marilena: Oh, we're all about empowering women at M4Markets. We offer equal opportunities for growth and development, and we've implemented policies and programs that promote work-life balance and flexibility. Plus, we promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Interviewer: What advice would you give to young women who are considering a career in the financial services industry?
Marilena: To all the young women out there, my advice is to believe in yourself and your abilities, and don't let anyone hold you back. Forget about genders discrimination and focus on what you can achieve as a person, if you don’t feel different then no one else will treat you differently. Find mentors and allies who will support and guide you, and take advantage of opportunities for growth and development. Be confident and assertive, and don't underestimate your potential. And, most importantly, be resilient and adaptable, because change is inevitable.
Interviewer: What advice would you give to companies looking to promote gender equity in their workplace?
Marilena: My advice to companies is to start with a commitment to creating an inclusive and diverse culture. Sorry to keep repeating myself, but I want to underline this point fully. This means having a gender-balanced team, offering equitable opportunities for growth and development, and creating policies and programs that promote work-life balance and flexibility. It's also important to eliminate bias and discrimination, and to create a work environment that is supportive and respectful of all employees.
Interviewer: How do you think the financial services industry can attract and retain more women?
Marilena: To attract and retain more women, the financial services sector needs to do a better job of promoting the benefits of a career in this field. Companies also need to create more mentorship and professional development programs that cater to the unique needs of women and offer more flexible work arrangements that accommodate family and personal responsibilities.
Interviewer: What has been your experience as a woman in the financial services industry?
Marilena: Well, as I said before I never let anyone question me because I know what I am capable of and I respect others for their knowledge, skills and character. I demand the same. I personally never felt that I was treated differently since I find a way to get along with my colleagues regardless their gender and I cut immediately any behaviour that is unfair to me or any other.
I had some amazing opportunities and experiences that have allowed me to grow and develop as a professional. And, I'm proud to be a part of a company that values and promotes gender equity in the workplace.
Interviewer: What do you think are the benefits of having more women in leadership positions in the financial services industry?
Marilena: The benefits are numerous! For starters, having more women in leadership positions can bring a new perspective and fresh ideas to the table. Women are great at building relationships and fostering collaboration, which can lead to better teamwork and more innovation. Additionally, women in leadership positions can serve as role models and mentors for other women in the industry, helping to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.