Andrea Shaw is Chief Compliance Officer at the Cryptocurrency firm BitFlyer, for their US business.
A worldwide business, they are a Cryptocurrency exchange & marketplace whose vision is to build a global firm that reflects the scale and international nature of the currency. As such, Chief Compliance Officer is a fascinating - and important role at the company, with changing regulations across the world in multiple markets meaning compliance is mission critical for expanding Crypto businesses.
Andrea's experience in Compliance spans a decade and a half working for global banks, regulation authorities and even as an adjunct professor at Albany. Being in an Industry that has sometimes been male-orientated at board level, we were keen to hear her thoughts for IWD on where improvements are being made, where more needs to be done and how companies can implement successful DEI initiatives.
"Representation matters and when you see a leadership team that is diverse it demonstrates commitment"
How has your company/industry changed in its approach to bias and tackling it historically?
I’ve been with the financial services industry for the last 15 years. When I first started, women in leadership roles were rare, women of color were even rarer. I’ve seen a lot of change in the industry with more women serving in executive level roles in some of the largest financial institutions in the world. I’m proud to see the women of color I looked up to when I first started holding leadership roles in some of the largest financial institutions in the world.
As I have pivoted into that role myself, I hope to be an inspiration to the new generation in the same way my mentors were for me. While the industry has grown in this respect, unconscious gender biases and pay inequality is still very prominent. Despite having more experience and better pedigree, women still must fight the boys club mentality. Management plays a crucial part in fostering a positive culture for women and need to adjust the tone at top to support the leadership roles women hold. Women earn their role in the leadership table and as such their input and presence should be valued as much as their male colleagues.
"Management plays a crucial part in fostering a positive culture for women and need to adjust the tone at top to support the leadership roles women hold."
Women historically have been so underpaid in comparison to their male colleagues with same experience/education that achieving pay equality is still many years away. Companies are slowly catching up in this respect and with the new push by states for pay transparency, I’m hopeful to see much more traction in the upcoming years.
How can companies combat gender bias in the long term?
Connect with the underrepresented groups in your organization and ask them what they think of the culture and opportunities within your organization. By starting here, Organizations will become more self-aware, and re-define their DEI strategies to improve the cultural and leadership outcomes for women and other diverse groups.
What diversity initiatives are having the largest impact, in your opinion?
Some of the most successful diversity initiatives are those that focus on growing the share of women and other diverse groups in leadership roles. Representation matters and when you see a leadership team that is diverse it demonstrates commitment and that we (the underrepresented groups) have a voice and are valued.
Two such strategies that promote representation are redefining recruiting practices and investing in top talent in the organization via mentorship and/or creating a leadership path; these strategies not only provide valuable opportunities for the organization culturally but long-term financially.