There was a time in my career when I felt slightly uncomfortable walking into a meeting room and being the only female there. And if I am honest, being relatively young, foreign and female made me a perfect candidate for feeling this way.
However, I soon realised that when I step into a room, I bring completely different qualities. Qualities that my peers - both male and female - may not have, which are complementary and can help the dynamics of the meeting. With my quiet and calm assertiveness, I’m able to bring listening skills, fresh energy and lots of passion.
And because of that, I now see the boardroom/meeting room as a place where my presence and contribution add value; and I therefore put my energy into what I am good at and what is in my control.
The reason I am involved in PACE – LV’s gender network programme - and mentoring of women is that I really want young women to feel empowered and be able to grow in their professional confidence and make braver choices. I want to see more women in senior roles, I want more female representation around the senior tables and I want more of my peers to be female.
It gives me a personal sense of achievement when I see my mentees grow in confidence, apply for the next job, challenge themselves and progress through their careers. Knowing I am contributing to their success, even in a very small way, makes me proud of my choice to take time out of my busy life and help others.
If I’ve learnt anything in the last 15 years in financial services, it’s that - whatever your background, gender or where you’ve come from - if you want to make a difference, are brave and you treat people with the right intent along the way, there really is very little that can stop you from achieving great things.
That and being a strong role model for my daughter are my personal reasons for supporting the Diversity & Inclusion agenda at LV=.
Magdalena Baugh is Commercial Director for the Chief Operating Office and has recently been shortlisted for the Banking and Insurance Advocate of the Year category at this year’s Women in Finance awards.
LV= serves over 5.8 million customers with a range of financial products. We are the UK’s largest friendly society and a leading financial mutual. We are currently the UK’s joint number one brand for Insurance and Investments, according to the 2016 YouGov Brand Index Buzz Rankings. We offer our services direct to consumers, as well as through IFAs and brokers.