Women In Leadership: Emma Cohen our Digital Solutions Manager
In celebration of International Women's Day, we wanted to shine the light onto our inspiring women in leadership here at Raffingers. Read on to discover what our Digital Solutions Manager, Emma Cohen thinks about being a woman in the finance industry.
What was your journey like into the job role you are in today?
I started at Raffingers when I was 18. I was straight out of college and fresh into an office environment which was brand new... and rather scary to me! I started as a business admin apprentice, and 7 years down the line, I am managing our new Digital Solutions department! I have learnt tons of amazing things and have got to know some really great people on my journey.
Who inspires you?
I know this is probably so cliché, but my mum is who inspires me most. Not only is she my biggest supporter, but she taught me how to be strong, independent and work hard for what I want in life. (She probably would have also had words with me if I did not pick her for my answer!)
What are your thoughts about gender equality in the workplace?
Gender equality in the workplace is extremely important. Being in the 21st century, I have to say that inequality within a workspace is rare, but I’m sure in a variety of workplaces and offices, inequality has showed up in ways so subtle that people may not even understand what is happening at first. This can hinder a women’s ability to get things done at work and maintain a clear progression path. Studies have in fact proven that companies with high levels of gender diversity actually outperform!
Joining a top accountancy firm at the age of 18, I had an image in my head that I was going to be joining a firm full of men (as that is the typical stereotype of an accountancy firm) but as soon as I joined, I could not have been more wrong. I quickly realised that there were female managers, both faces and voices of the firm, which proved to me that anything was possible (especially within the finance industry), and that I wanted to be in that position one day, which is what helped me gain my confidence and get me to where I am today. Without having that equality in place, I think I would have really struggled with my career path.
Now, in 2022, we have our first female partner, Ashlee Bloom, which is absolutely amazing and so inspiring!
How is Raffingers different to other workplaces?
These are just a couple out of many, but firstly, the partners here at Raffingers worked hard on producing our core values, which are so important to include as part of our everyday working lives. Secondly, for new mums to be, we offer 16 weeks of maternity leave which (aside from the top 3: PWC, KPMG and Deloitte) is the best maternity leave package in our industry. Thirdly, we have a group of team members who meet up on a weekly basis to discuss how to improve and implement ideas into our client experience here at Raffingers. The way we do things here at Raffingers is different and fun, especially around our marketing aspect as the whole team is able to get involved on occasions! Lastly, should we want to progress within our career path, we are always able to sit down with one of the partners here at Raffingers, build that plan and work towards it.
What advice would you have given your younger self?
Don’t be reckless, but take smart risks.
Why do you feel like there aren’t more women in the finance industry?
In the past, the finance industry has been very male dominant and this can be quite intimidating. Partners at the top firms are male, but women are progressively starting to take the lead! I think it is due to fear of the unknown and only seeing half of the picture. You might see online and on websites that the finance industry is predominantly male based but, behind the scenes, women are joining this sector every day, heading up a department and a team, becoming a partner and following their career path.
How can the finance industry make itself more inclusive?
By diversifying their partners and letting their clients know more about them through the power of digital, such as social media and blogs.
What do you love about your job?
I love being able to express my suggestions and ideas in an open work environment and know that people are listening. I also love that my job challenges me every day in different ways. As well as that, my job is very client facing and it's great meeting new people from all different types of businesses, learning more about them and what they do. The culture here at Raffingers is also the kind that fosters a great work environment, as well as giving us that flexibility if and when required, resulting in happiness throughout the firm.
What are your career goals? What’s next for you?
I am going to continue building the success of the new Digital Solutions department. My plan is to one day become a partner (fingers crossed)! It would be great to have more female partners here at Raffingers, and I would be honoured to be one of those!
How has your job changed from when you first started?
I joined as an admin apprentice, so I had a huge career change in the sense I am now working within finance and Digital Solutions. I went from working closely with one team member to a team of 5+. I have learnt loads along the way, and would not change it for the world.