In 2017, we uncovered a glass ceiling in the IR world: our global IRO survey revealed that while the number of men and women who work in IR is roughly equal, two thirds of heads of IR positions go to men.
Fast forward to summer 2018 and the situation has improved – although only slightly. According to our latest Global Salary & Careers Report (published in IR Magazine, spring 2018): women, who accounted for 33 percent of IR head jobs in 2016, now occupy 35 percent of the leading IR roles.
A look at salary figures shows that both male and female IR heads have the same global median pay range of $150,000-$199,999, but that the percentage of women IR bosses earning above this range has decreased from 36 percent to 35 percent year on year, compared with 41 percent of men (down from 47 percent in 2016). More on this can be found here and on our global salary and careers report.
Women in IR: Work in progress
Such stats are depressingly familiar throughout the business world. Within IR, however, the news came as a surprise: IR has always been an industry with many women in senior positions. Despite this, the study conducted showed more needs to be done to improve career opportunities for women in investor relations.
This evening is part of our global series of events aimed at putting pressure on the industry to confront these issue and improve the value of women in IR. These events will feature prominent speakers from IR and beyond, as well as panel debates, case studies and discussions to address the issues of gender equality, pay and inclusion. Join us!
Networking, drinks and canapés
Welcome to the event
Ben Ashwell, digital editor, IR Magazine
Lauren Tarola, vice president, financial communications and capital markets, Edelman
Panel: Breaking the IR glass ceiling
Margaret Ferrer, chief financial officer, STANLEY Engineered Fastening, Stanley Black & Decker
Stacie Swanstrom, executive vice president, Nasdaq
Sara Vavra, senior executive and head of global macro, Point72
Moderator: Kelly Weigel, head of marketing and client services, COWEN
Q&A and wrap-up: Make the leap – take action now!
Smooch Repovich Reynolds, managing director, global IR and chief communications officer practice group, ZRG Partners
Networking drinks and end of evening
Ben Ashwell is the digital editor at IR Magazine, covering investor relations, governance, risk and compliance. Prior to this, he was founder and editor of Executive Talent, the global quarterly magazine from the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants. Before moving to the US, Ashwell was vice president and editor at Executive Grapevine, overseeing a daily news website, 10 annual supplements and HR Grapevine, the UK’s leading HR and talent management magazine.
Chief financial officer, Stanley Engineered Fastening
Stanley Black & Decker
Margaret Ferrer is currently vice president and chief financial officer at STANLEY Engineered Fastening (SEF), a Stanley Black & Decker company. Margaret is responsible for executing global operating and strategic plans for Engineered Fastening. Prior to this, Margaret was the chief financial officer for North America at Axalta Coating Systems, where she provided strategic planning, forecasting and financial leadership in North America. Prior to 2014, Margaret served as the director of investor relations and treasury operations at Chemtura Corporation where she had the global responsibility for all initiatives related to communicating the company’s strategy, growth prospects and financial performance to investors and analysts.
Margaret has an MBA from Pepperdine University and her skill base covers business finance, corporate finance, treasury, investor relations, M&A and joint ventures. A finance leader with focus on driving and implementing growth strategy and acquisition integration, Margaret has extensive experience in managing external relationships with bankers and equity holders.
Smooch Repovich Reynolds
Managing director, global IR and chief communications officer practice group
Smooch Repovich Reynolds joined ZRG Partners at the end of 2017, bringing with her a career that spans more than 25 years of executive search consulting, specifically focused in the Global Investor Relations Officer and Chief Communications Officer functional areas. Smooch pioneered IR executive search as a direct result of her affinity for the capital markets, and has partnered with CEOs and CFOs to address corporate valuation issues and financial market expectations throughout her career. As the profession and financial markets have evolved dramatically the last two decades, she has served as a key influencer of the direction of the Investor Relations profession through her stewardship with client management teams.
In addition, her thought leadership in the Corporate Communications functional niche has been framed by her tenure as a former Chief Communications Officer and her broad participation in the global communications community. Smooch has leveraged this first-hand experience to partner with leadership teams providing guidance by framing corporate communications functions, and by serving as a gateway to exceptional talent whose corporate brand innovation experience has elevated her client companies to new heights of success.
She is considered a leading authority on the intangible leadership traits that define talent who are recognized as part of the top 10% of Investor Relations and Chief Communications Officers globally. Her executive search experience has spanned partnerships with management teams and Boards at organizations ranging in size from pre-IPO entities to global, multinational Fortune 500 market leaders, across all industry sectors.
Having completed approximately 300 Investor Relations Officer searches, one consideration to note about Smooch’s work is the increase in her clients’ share valuation during her tenure as a recruitment management team advisor – nearly $500B in increased valuation that she has contributed to as a direct result of her commitment to clients on the topic of recruiting the right talent.
Smooch has authored numerous thought leadership articles about the CEO-CFO-IRO triumvirate and the impact of their interlocked relationship as it relates to the investment community and valuation. She has been the featured expert on IRO and CCO careers across traditional media and social/digital media, and is called upon by numerous professional groups to speak on wide ranging talent and leadership topics. Smooch has her own website: www.smoochunplugged.com, where she regularly shares her insights about corporate talent initiatives and the competitive advantages of smart, strategic recruitment partnerships. Smooch is also book author.
Prior to joining ZRG Partners, Smooch served at two multinational executive search firms as the Managing Director of each firm’s respective Global Investor Relations and Communications Officer practice groups. In addition, she served as the Chief Communications Officer for The Irvine Company, a recognized national privately-held real estate development company. And, prior to that she was the Founder and CEO of The Repovich-Reynolds Group, a North American focused executive search firm specializing in IRO and CCO search assignments which she led for nearly 20 years. Smooch has served as a Chief of Staff to the CEO of a global public relations agency and started her career in politics as a Press Deputy.
She is a long-time member of the National Investor Relations Institute and a Lifetime member of the International Association of Business Communicators. Smooch has served on several non-profit boards, including serving as Board Chair for two of those entities: American Cancer Society of Los Angeles and Westridge School in Pasadena, CA.
Executive vice president
Stacie Swanstrom is Executive Vice President, Corporate Solutions at Nasdaq. In this role, Ms. Swanstrom oversees the strategic direction of Nasdaq Corporate Solutions’ unique product offering of market intelligence, communications, workflow and collaboration solutions for corporate executives and boards, which support the investor relations, corporate communications and corporate governance functions to over 18,000 customers globally.
Previously, Ms. Swanstrom managed a successful portfolio of software and connectivity solutions for Nasdaq’s Global Trading and Market Services business. She led the strategic development of the Nasdaq Workstation, IPO Indicator tool and Nasdaq’s Compliance Tools and managed Nasdaq’s Co-Location and Trade Reporting Facility. Ms. Swanstrom has more than 20 years of industry experience and has held various leadership roles at Nasdaq including Product Development, Global Marketing, and Human Resources.
Ms. Swanstrom holds a Bachelor of Science in Business with a concentration in Marketing from Towson University.
Vice president, financial communications and capital markets
Lauren Tarola advises the senior management and boards of public companies on strategic communications including investor relations, financial and corporate public relations, IPO listings, transaction communications, crisis communications and leadership positioning. Lauren is a member of Edelman’s Financial Communications and Investor Relations practice in New York, and helps to advise clients globally on IR issues. Current clients include companies in the real estate, consumer, financial, industrial, business services, and technology sectors. Lauren also has past experience working with companies in the oil and gas, utilities, and MLP sectors. Lauren is an active member of NIRI New York and NIRI NextGen.
Prior to joining Edelman as a Senior Account Supervisor in 2016, Lauren was Director, Investor Relations at Brixmor Property Group (NYSE: BRX), a $13 billion real estate investment trust operating in the open-air shopping center space. During her time at Brixmor, Lauren contributed to the company’s communications strategy through the creation of investor presentations, earnings call materials and “best practice” peer analysis. She served as a key contact for the investment community, proactively targeting investors and participating in industry events. Lauren partnered with the executive team and Board of Directors during a time of transition, helping them navigate an accounting review, management departures and the subsequent appointment of new Chief Executive and Chief Financial Officers.
Prior to joining Brixmor, Lauren was a Senior Equity Research Associate on Citi’s REIT and Lodging team, focusing on the Office and Industrial sub-sectors. She maintained financial models, contributed to research reports and was a FINRA Series 7, 63, 86 and 87 license holder. Lauren previously worked at Citi as a Marketing Coordinator in the Corporate Access group, leading one-on-one meeting arrangements for leading global industry conferences and non-deal roadshows. Lauren began her career at Thomson Reuters in the Advisory Services business, providing counsel and support to investor relations officers in the oil and gas and utilities sectors.
Lauren has a BA from Vanderbilt University and an MS in Investor Relations from Fordham University.
Head of global macro
Sara Vavra is the Sector Executive for Point72’s Discretionary Macro operating unit. She is responsible for supporting and supervising the performance and professional development of the Firm’s Macro Portfolio Managers and their teams.
Ms. Vavra joined Point72 after eight years at Laurion Capital Management, where she was Chief Business Development Officer. Prior to joining Laurion, Ms. Vavra was a Vice President at The JBG Companies, where she worked on strategic initiatives to expand the firm’s product offerings and real estate development projects. Before JBG, she was Senior Vice President, Director of Marketing and Investor Relations at SPM. Ms. Vavra began her career as an analyst in the Equities Division at Goldman Sachs.
Ms. Vavra earned her B.A. in Communications, with Honors, from Southern Oregon University, and completed postgraduate study in International Marketing and Finance at Richmond College in London.
Head of marketing and client services
Kelly Weigel is Managing Director and Head of Marketing and Client Services and is responsible for overseeing and managing the firm’s global marketing activities, media relations, corporate access, conferences and research analyst marketing. Prior to joining Cowen, Ms. Weigel ran her own consulting company that provided conference logistics and one-on-one meeting coordination for a variety of investment banks. Ms. Weigel also spent 14 years at Bank of America (formerly Montgomery Securities) in the corporate access and syndicate groups. Ms. Weigel has a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Berkeley.
Your CFO, CEO or lead director are the change agents needed to get on-board with the movement to break the glass ceiling in investor relations. So please sign up for your pass below, and whilst you’re at it, get a free pass for your senior management or board-member!
IR Magazine is supporting the Coalition for the Homeless’ First Step program through our Women in IR events. First Step gives homeless and low-income women the skills and confidence they need to achieve financial independence. A major part of this is to prepare women for employment. Often these women cannot afford a professional outfit to wear to interviews.
We would be delighted if you are able to bring along an unwanted business outfit. They will be donated to women on the First Step program.
In partnership with IR Magazine and Equanimity Inc., Carol Murray-Negron, executive and leadership coach, is pleased to offer three attendees of this evening event an opportunity to win a free coaching session! To learn more about Equanimity Inc. and to enter for your chance to win a free coaching session, please click here.
Carol Murray-Negron coaches and mentors senior executives and investor relations leaders to develop a dynamic executive presence, and strengthen their leadership and communication skills. She specializes in coaching women leaders to effectively communicate their value and “influence up,” so they get the rewards and recognition they deserve.
Cowen Inc. is a diversified financial services firm and, together with its consolidated subsidiaries, provides investment management, investment banking, research, sales and trading, prime brokerage, global clearing and commission management through its two business segments: Cowen Investment Management and its affiliates make up the Company’s investment management segment, while Cowen and Company, a member of FINRA and SIPC, and its affiliates make up the Company’s investment bank segment. Cowen Investment Management provides investment management solutions to a global client base and manages a significant portion of Cowen’s proprietary capital. Cowen and its affiliates offer industry focused investment banking for growth-oriented companies, domain knowledge-driven research, a sales and trading platform for institutional investors, global clearing and commission management services and also a comprehensive suite of prime brokerage services. Founded in 1918, the firm is currently celebrating its 100th Anniversary and is headquartered in New York with offices worldwide. To download Cowen’s investor relations app, which offers access to SEC filings, news releases, webcasts and presentations, please visit the App Store for iPhone and iPad or Google Play for Android mobile devices.
Please visit us at www.cowen.com
Point72 is a global asset management firm led by Steven Cohen that uses Discretionary Long/Short, Macro, and Systematic strategies to invest in eight offices across the globe. We look for people who want to build a career with us – people who want to innovate, experiment, and be the best at what they do – while adhering to the highest ethical standards.
Point72 is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, and maintains affiliated offices in New York, Hong Kong, London, Tokyo, Singapore, Paris, and Palo Alto. We invest in a wide range of asset classes and situations through our businesses: Point72 Asset Management, EverPoint Asset Management, Point72 Ventures, Cohen Private Ventures, and Cubist Systematic Strategies.
Learn more at: www.point72.com.
ZRG Partners’ mission is to bring talented candidates to leading companies. We adhere to a set of core values that allows us to fulfill our clients’ needs on an optimal scale. We take pride and care to ensure that the core values we instill in our staff help our clients acquire strong leadership within their company.
For more information, please visit our website.
Edelman financial communications & capital markets is a boutique strategic consultancy with the reach and resources of the world’s largest public relations firm. We advise public and private companies on strategic and capital markets communications to help effectively position them with the financial community during transformative events as well as during normal-course business.
Visit us at:www.edelmanfincomms.com.
NIRI New York is the largest chapter in the NIRI network. Our unique position at the cross roads of the world’s largest financial center and proximity to a large number of Fortune 500 companies, enables us to deliver cutting edge programs featuring our industry’s most respected leaders, unparalleled peer-to-peer networking opportunities and access to thought leadership across multiple channels. No other local investor relations organization offers the breadth and depth of our outstanding membership benefits.
For more information, please visit www.niriny.org
The event is open to all IR professionals – men and women – to build on last year’s discussion, learn how those leading the way are facing challenges head-on and helping 2019 become the year US investor relations can boast a truly level playing field.
If you are a member of NIRI, please use the code NIRINY45 while registering to get you the early bird rate of $45
Whether it’s exposing the glass ceiling for women in IR, highlighting the benefits of board diversity on financials or looking at the ways in which diversity is increasing in importance to the buy side, IR Magazine has been at the forefront of these issues.
Our journalists have put together an archive of gender and diversity articles, divided into three sections: IR-specific articles, cultural and financial. Each section is in chronological order, with the most recent articles first.
Breaking the IR glass ceiling
Highlights from IR Magazine’s recent Women in IR series of events, held in September and October
‘Genuine interest’ exists to get more women in top IR roles, says search consultant
Women less likely to obtain top IR jobs, according to research, but there is growing demand for female IR heads
Female CFO pipeline slows in 2017, says Deloitte
Number of women reporting to the CFO drops in 2017
IR Magazine Global Forum 2017: Gary LaBranche
Gary Labranche, NIRI’s president and CEO, discusses women in IR, cooperation between IR associations and the impact of Mifid II on the US market
Find our full archive here.
For all inquiries
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