The financial crisis has shown how vulnerable our financial system is. We have created products whereby money and funds create more money and funds in a way that is too complicated, even for the experts.
Governments have saved banks and put in new legislation in order sustain the financial sector, to minimize the risks of certain products and also to help consumers to better understand financial products.
But legislation is not going to change the culture of an organisation, let alone a whole sector!
Neelie Kroes once said that had the Lehman Brothers been Lehman Sisters, the bankruptcy might never have happened. But it is not merely an issue of more women. Because it is much more likely that within existing financial institutions women are just ‘men in skirts’, as Icelandic banker Halla Tomasdottir explains. She herself played by ‘the rules of the game’ created by and for men and she managed to play the game very well.
It is more an issue of whether or not women (and men) in banking would be able to use their female leadership skills such as listening, empathy and selflessness. Halla Tomasdottir together with her partner created Audur Capital, an investment bank based on a more sustainable definition of profit by including impact on the environment and society. It is all about ‘doing good business’ by bringing in those feminine values.
Tomasdottir said in a her TED talk of 2010: “I am fed up of how we are rebuilding the old again, doing the same thing and hoping for another outcome this time.” That why she has created Audur Capital and has named the company Audur which means both wealth and happiness in Islandic.
She is the female leader bringing in female leadership skills and feminine values that are badly needed finance. Watch here her TED talk for inspiration. Or watch the interview broadcasted by Dutch television (starts 02:15 until 07:35), interview in English: De nieuwe leider NTR – vrouwelijk leider