Highlighting female leaders at SEI to commemorate Women’s History Month
To commemorate Women’s History Month, SEI is highlighting some of our talented and fierce female leaders. In our most recent female leader spotlight, we spoke to Monica Fisher — Managing Principal at the SEI Boston branch — to gain insight into the challenges facing women in the workplace and how men can contribute to women’s empowerment. Here’s what she had to say.
When you started your career, did you face challenges to grow and reach your potential? How did you get rid of these barriers?
“When I was younger, I felt like one of my strengths was my ability to assimilate into the predominantly male-dominated industries in which I worked. My value was in my ability to look the other way, have a thick skin, and be ‘one of the guys’. With age and perspective, I came to see that something I thought of as a strength was a weakness. I don’t know that I’ll ever reach my full potential, but I now see clearly how important it is to take a stand and speak up when necessary – I wish I had learned this lesson earlier.”
Tell us about an experience at SEI when you felt like SEI was different from other companies?
“Before my official start date, I was invited to the summer picnic. I went expecting awkward small talk, stuffiness and was prepared to make an appearance and get out as soon as possible. I still remember arriving and it was as if I was at a family barbeque – unpretentious and welcoming. I knew then that this was a place where people worked to live, and that putting my family first was not going to be a liability.”
How can men contribute more to women’s empowerment at SEI?
“I think men can help – not just at SEI, but everywhere – by being allies. Speak up against injustices when it’s necessary, be equal partners to the women in your lives, and be vulnerable and make a space for psychological safety at work. Then visibly model all those wonderful behaviors for the young people in your lives and teach them how to do the same.”
What excites you about SEI’s focus on DE&I in the future?
“I know that the more diversity we have, the stronger we get. There is incredible value in having a variety of perspectives and the more we bring those perspectives to the table through mindful hiring, succession planning, and continued focus, the stronger we will be as an organization. I’m so proud of the work we have done in this space – both in my LOC and nationally – and am optimistic about the future.”
When Monica interviewed in 2009, there were few women in the Boston office, but that has changed over the years. SEI Boston is now close to a 50/50 mix of men and women.
Is there any advice you would give your younger self or somebody else you want to share your knowledge with?
“My dad always told me to work hard, take care of other people, and be loyal. So it was advice my younger self did receive… I’m still trying to live by it.”
At SEI, we are honored to have so many talented female leaders driving the success of our organization and are committed to ensuring that their voices never go unheard. Keep an eye out for more female leader spotlights to come this month!