Tony Wood, Financial Services Partner Deloitte, shares with WiFA his experience with mentorship, advice to men to support their female colleagues, 2021 mantra, and much more.
Tell us about yourself
I am based in Hong Kong. I have worked in management consulting and banking and am an economist by training. I have had the great fortune to work in a large number of countries on complex issues. I have a strong focus on health and well-being and am passionate about the positive impact that coaching and mentoring can offer both others and myself.
What is one characteristic you would say that all women in finance share?
I am not sure I am qualified to say. However, I think we still see instances where individuals are identified by gender. This creates real challenges of stereotyping and boxing individuals into specific roles and career paths. There are differences in all of us, given our backgrounds and the paths that we have taken to this point in time and the best leaders I see are those that recognize the strength that differing perspectives can give.
Mentors play an important role in the development of the careers of women. Have you or are you mentoring a woman in finance? Please tell us about your experience.
We are only as good as the team of people that support us. I currently have a number of mentoring relationships and the best ones are where we are able to identify strengths and challenges to work on and where the individuals are able to accept that the role of the mentor is to challenge their perceptions of both themselves and the world around them.
What advice or guidance would you provide men so they can become an ally? What can they do better to support their female colleagues professionally?
I fundamentally believe that we won’t achieve positive change in the workplace unless the dominant groups take ownership of that process. In many circumstances this will be men and we need more positive role models proactively driving change. The decision to be a mentor is a big one and it also requires a lot of effort. However, I also think it is one of the most positive ways that successful executives can pay back for their good fortune. Who we were, who we are, and who we become cannot be the same if we want to achieve positive change.
What will be your 2021 mantra to keep you motivated, either professionally or personally?
It’s very easy to be consumed by all of the negative things around this. However, we are in the privileged position to be able to help effect positive changes and take steps to a better series of outcomes. So I will borrow one of my favorite quotes: “Action is the only truth.”