The Forum was the brainchild of RegentAtlantic Capital partner Jane Newton, who says it emanated from her “conversations with clients over a number of years. Even before 2008, people were seeing some shifting on The Street. There were changes in the regulatory side coupled with the exits of high profile women. My female clients were seeking advice on how to position themselves and how to turn challenge into opportunity.”
Newton continues: “Many of my female clients had kept their heads down and done well and never took the time to have a resume, network, or go to events.
I listened to their questions and couldn’t help but factor in the career-related choices in regard to personal finances. My area of expertise is in managing their assets and helping them meet their goals, which is of course intertwined with their careers. Many of these women had lost their channels — the mentors, sponsors and peers— who were now dispersed.”
Wall Street Women Forum brings experts to these senior women to discuss key issues while fostering a sense of community across different sectors and firms.
The topic of the most recent Forum: “Negotiating Like the Big Boys”. RegentAtlantic Capital polled the group to discover the topics they most wanted covered at these meetings. And negotiation was first on the list. Surprisingly, 56% of women polled said negotiation was a bugaboo: They felt “woefully inadequate” or “wish they had an agent”. And don’t forget: these are senior women.
Negotiation is a hot topic because, as presenter Anne Miller points out on her website, we live in an environment where everyone wants to negotiate everything. So if that’s the case, why are people so bad at it?
According to Linda Babcock, co-author of the acclaimed book Women Don’t Ask, “it turns out that whether they want higher salaries or more help at home, women often find it hard to ask. Sometimes they don’t know that change is possible–they don’t know that they can ask. Sometimes they fear that asking may damage a relationship. And sometimes they don’t ask because they’ve learned that society can react badly to women asserting their own needs and desires.”
Miller says that each negotiation is different because the people are different, which can make it tough to prepare. And when it comes to money, we often let the other side set the range—a key mistake.
Another point Miller made that was particularly prescriptive, was that there is a big difference between demands and interests. A demand is: I need it by Tuesday. An interest is: I need it by Tuesday because I’m going on vacation. So our job as negotiators is to find the interest behind the demand.
A study conducted by the Simmons College School of Management and Hewlett Packard showed that women in leadership positions with a “high proclivity to negotiate” were rewarded for their actions. They were more likely to receive high performance reviews, be viewed as having leadership ability and be offered additional leadership roles. They are also more satisfied with their jobs and less likely to leave.
The Simmons College/Hewlett Packard study identified three key implications for women negotiating their success in new leadership roles:
Asking yourself: “What would make me say yes to this offer?” forces you to assess strengths and weaknesses and whether the job is a good match.
Identify the kind of support you will have from your boss and other key stakeholders. Your networks and mentors can help with this.
Understand where resistance lies and find ways to gain early, small wins.