Gresham also helps empower its employees. The culture here was created by the employees, and they respect each other, and they all work hard together. On this, Irene quotes, “Diversity & Inclusion is a key element of the company’s business strategies, both internally and externally, and is inclusive of not only gender and ethnicity, but also in experiences, backgrounds, skills, education, and other characteristics.” She asserts that women play a key role in the organization, with several women holding senior roles across the firm. As it is the policy of Gresham and Nuveen, she and her team feel extreme pride in treating all employees fairly and equitably, providing equal opportunity to all applicants, regardless of age, race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, gender, and other factors. Irene, herself, is also a firm believer in equality and finds it very essential not only for women but for all types of minorities out there. “Different studies have shown that diversified workplaces perform better,” she asserts. According to her, equality should be a priority for every organization, it is in their interest. “As someone once said "there are no free lunches, except, maybe, diversification!",” says Irene.
To promote gender equality in daily life and create a gender-equal world, Irene suggests to, “continue to drive equality of the genders. Also educate, educate and educate the younger generation. I would like to see successful women getting invited to schools and universities to talk about their careers and their challenges.” To female entrepreneurs, Irene urges them to be self-confident, follow their instincts, and believe in their work. Be stronger, shake it up, know what you want, and know that you can make it happen. She says, “There is no bigger defeat than when you do not even try.” Although Irene accepts the biggest challenge for women is to get the roles in the first place. But is confident that “women can be just as successful as men in leadership roles once they have them.”
Making the world a better place
Irene’s emphatic personality and optimistic approach also have beautifully reflected over her life outside business. It is no surprise as when asked, who is a leader worth admiration to her? Irene quickly comes up with this epic reply, “There are a lot of people in this world that are true models; I am not talking about the known ones who might donate a tiny percentage of their wealth and the world applauds them,” says Irene. “I am talking about those who live in sub-human conditions and yet they fight every day for freedom and justice. Many times, giving away 100% of everything they have, including their own lives to make the world a better place. Those are my role models.”
Irene envisions eventually set up an orphanage. “There are more professional milestones to be reached but at some point, it will be time to give back,” says Irene.