The banking industry is still a male-dominated environment – especially areas such as investment banking or asset management. Fintechs do not do any better either. Although there are many new innovative approaches to work, the basic problem remains the same, especially in agile environments – women find it difficult to reconcile career and family. “And from my experience, this is exactly the core issue across all industries – to create attractive and impactful positions allowing women to combine their private lives and professional careers”, asserts Madeleine Sander.
An Agent for Change
MadeleineSander is Head of Corporate Development and Co-Head of Digital Wealth Channel Zeedin at Hauck & Aufhäuser Privatbankiers AG. In this function, she is responsible for the strategy development and strategic planning. Her other responsibilities include identification and evaluation of growth opportunities and innovations in close cooperation with business divisions. As a leader, one needs to set examples – building up a strong interdisciplinary team, empowering each individual and encouraging others to follow new ways. “One of the key factors which drive me, is the ability to generate an impact and to grow my team members as individuals”, Madeleine says. “In the day-to-day business, you will face a lot of challenges and resistance, but if you stick with what you believe is right and have a strong team surrounding you, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.” She started her career at DekaBank as a Business Manager in the Corporates & Markets division after completing her diploma in mathematics. After which she worked at Deutsche Bank for more than six years in the Group Strategy Department (AfK) and In-house Consulting before joining Hauck & Aufhäuser Privatbankiers AG.
She enjoys spending her spare time outdoors – jogging, skiing or hiking in the mountains. She has high regard for SherylSandberg and was deeply moved by her book ‘Lean in’. She still recalls her key advice from the book, ‘start talking about it’ and ‘you don’t need to be loved by everyone’, as her philosophy for everything.
Leaving Trails with Hauck & Aufhäuser Privatbankiers AG
Hauck & Aufhäuser has a total of eight offices: Headquartered in Frankfurt; four offices in Germany (Munich, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, Cologne); branches in Luxembourg (Munsbach) and Great Britain (London); representation offices in France (Paris) and Switzerland (Zurich) thereby providing holistic advisory services internationally.
Using an optimal combination of both modern technology and human expertise, Hauck & Aufhäuser is on the mission to provide excellent financial services to private and institutional clients and to support clients throughout the value chain to ensure the sustainable success of their personal or corporate finances. The company consists of four core business segments: comprehensive and tailor-made fund services for financial and real assets in Germany and Luxembourg; acting as service provider for independent asset managers; providing holistic advice and wealth management solutions for private clients as well as asset management for institutional investors; and offering research, sales and trading activities specializing in small and mid-cap companies in German-speaking countries as well as individual services for IPOs and capital increases. The company remains open to new ideas and takes advantages of those technologies that can bring real added value to their clients. This wealth of facets is also reflected in their corporate culture. They incorporate both traditional businesses, such as PrivateBanking, which is part of their DNA, and slightly younger businesses such as InvestmentBanking.
“Hauck & Aufhäuser is a company with over 222 years of history, which works fast, agile and innovative”
As a medium-sized company we rather focus on actions than policies. Gender diversity, as well as gender equality, are clearly gaining more relevance in recent times. The same was reflected while setting up a new executive board at the beginning of this year. Again, the company currently develops a comprehensive talent management framework, a success management framework and is adopting new work approaches (such as working in squads) as their key design principles. “I have often experienced what a positive impact diversity can have to the success of projects”, says Madeleine supporting the company’s course of actions towards the drive.
Growing strong together
For Madeleine, the essence of success lies in building a strong team and continuously rethinking the capabilities of one's team from a strategic point of view. Indeed, it is critical to invest time in finding, nurturing the right people and upgrading as trends evolve. She also advises one to network, build an alliance and plan one’s career. Though this might lead to some glitches, “male colleagues often make career plans over a beer. However, if a woman goes out with her boss for a glass of wine, it often still has a touch – especially if he is part of the C-level”, explains Madeleine pondering over society perceptions.
She also appeals to women to start building an inner circle with other female decision makers and openly talk about the challenges they are facing. “I am a strong advocate of teaming up with other female leaders. Although it sounds very odd, when you think about what sets us apart as women, I still see so many women competing against each other instead of joining forces”, elucidates Madeleine. “In case you are not good in self-marketing, you can begin with promoting other women from your inner circle.”
“I am a strong advocate of teaming up with other female leaders. Although it sounds very odd, when you think about what sets us apart as women, I still see so many women competing against each other instead of joining forces”
Stay Authentic, Stay Gold
It is one's unique abilities and style that set one apart. “In my career, I have met very talented and pleasant female leaders. They excelled in empathy, team-building and focused on results. However, when moving up in the hierarchy and trying to find their place at the senior leadership table, they often lose the qualities which characterized their leadership style”, describes Madeleine remorsefully. She thus appeals to all young women to make use of the aptitudes that distinguish them as an individual and not forget their unique strengths when aiming for their place at the high table of the C-suite.