09 Oct 2020
Women in Leadership Spotlight Series - Part 2
Statistics show that women account for 40% of the workforce and continue to contribute to world economic development. However, studies reveal that 55% of women do not believe they possess adequate entrepreneurial skills and tend to second guess themselves compared to their male counterparts.
Manning Elliott focuses to improve this statistic and elevate women’s leadership in business. As such, an initiative of the firm's Women, Wealth, and the Future Committee aims to highlight and demonstrate how women are growing, thriving and succeeding in the economic world through our Women in Leadership spotlight series.
Gina Jones and the Path to Business
Gina Jones, CPA, CA, CF, ICD.D., always knew she loved working with numbers and had a strong interest in business. Her path to success started with gaining credentials, getting good experience from the companies she worked with, and then building a reputation as a trustworthy leader.
Today Jones is CFO and CCO of PenderFund Capital Management, an independent investment firm based in Vancouver. She started her journey at UBC.
“I had an entrepreneurial interest. So I went into the Faculty of Commerce at UBC and, at the end of that program, I took the normal next step and began the public accounting articling process.”
“The degree program offers you different directions. My choice channeled me into working with a CPA firm. So I articled with PriceWaterhouseCoopers.”
Jones says that her early days in the businesses were positive for her as a young mother in the 1980s.
“After my first child was born, I was lucky to be among the first group of mothers who successfully negotiated a part-time work schedule,” Jones said.
“I wanted to put my family first. I was driven to create that work life balance… I was very cognizant of picking the right partners to work with. And, that's always been the challenge.”
Over the years, Jones was recruited to start up multiple independent broker dealer firms in the finance industry. These opportunities allowed her to accumulate direct experience in an operational capacity that has allowed her to fulfill her interest in working with entrepreneurial businesses.
But then the 2008 financial crisis hit, and the finance industry experienced a great deal of change and hardship.
“Fundamental changes in our industry meant that independent brokerage firms were having difficulty surviving.”
In 2014, Jones’ firm was acquired by a larger broker dealer which saw her become the CFO and COO of that firm as well as a board member.
“By late 2015, it became clear to us that the independent broker business model really wasn't viable anymore because of industry and competitive changes,” said Jones. “Independent broker dealer firms were closing down, left, right and center.”
Leadership in a time of crisis
This major change in her industry came with many challenges for Jones.
“Many times in my career, I have had the opportunity to join an existing firm in a leadership role. Entering into an established business culture in a senior role means having to work hard to gain the trust and respect of my colleagues,” says Jones.
“This can be difficult, especially joining a firm in a time of crisis or, as at Pender, a time of great change. It can be challenging, and I've learned a lot.”
Jones advises other women in leadership roles to always be mindful of building trust so that they can get the job done and inspire others.
“Establishing strong relationships built on mutual trust and respect means trying to understand what is motivating them, what's driving them, what's worrying them, and letting them know I’ve got your back.”
Jones says people in positions like hers have to prioritize leadership and interpersonal skills, and be willing to learn and make mistakes.
“Our world is constantly changing. We have to continue learning and adapting. That means upskilling, applying new approaches, listening to new ideas, embracing diversity of thought and alternative perspectives, so that we can stay relevant and be able to continue to add value."
To read our other Women in Leadership spotlight series, visit our blog.