Scene Last Night: Women of Goldman, Calvert, BMO Capital

“You get ahead -- good reviews, promotions -- and at some point you can lean in and have your head chopped off,” Barbara J. Krumsiek, chief executive of Calvert Investments Inc. said in an interview last night at the Financial Women’s Association Annual Dinner.

In a ballroom at the Grand Hyatt, the association honored Krumsiek as Private Sector Woman of the Year. She shared the dais with the Visionary Woman of the Year, Betsy West, executive producer of Storyville Films; the Public Sector Woman of the Year, Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation; and Representative Carolyn Maloney, Democrat of New York.

“Women are half of the population, they should be half of financial services employees, half corporate CEOs and half of Congress,” Maloney said.

Women from Goldman Sachs Inc., Deutsche Bank AG, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. and BNP Paribas SA, to name a few, filled the tables. BMO Capital Markets Corp. matched $25,000 in donations made at the event, resulting in $86,000 raised for educational scholarships.

One of the association’s scholarships went to Kamellia Saroop who works at BMO. Saroop was unable to attend “because she’s working,” said Deirdre Drake, a managing director at the firm.

The association was founded in 1956 by eight women denied admission to the Young Men’s Investment Association. Today it has about 800 members, said Joyce Sullivan, founder and CEO of SocMediaFin Inc. and a board member.

Startling Time

Krumsiek became an association member in 1989, when she was around 37.

“That’s the most startling time,” she said. “You accomplish during the meritocracy part of your career, and then all of a sudden things aren’t working that used to work. You get stuck. You realize a career is an obstacle course, not a ladder.”

One of her legacies is helping develop an association curriculum called “Beyond Competence,” about managing difficult bosses and subversive subordinates.

Topics in high circulation in the room last night -- thanks in part to Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In” -- were mentoring and sponsorship.

“I think mentoring is misunderstood and overrated,” Krumsiek said. “It’s a two-way street, it’s about helping each other. And these relationships can’t last an entire career. Sometimes you move past your mentors.”

As for sponsorship: “If you add value in your company, you will be sponsored,” she said. Four out of her seven direct reports are women, she said.

Working Revolution

Excerpts from honoree West’s documentary “Makers: Women Who Make America” gave a sense of the revolution that led women into the workplace. It featured an interview with Muriel Siebert, the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange.

Min Lu, who works in the audit department at Credit Suisse, was moved. “I see how much we take for granted,” Lu said during a “networking break” at the dinner. “I’ve been leaning in out of personal motivation. Now I feel I have an obligation to lean in for the women who fought so hard before me.”

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

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