On an early December afternoon, students filed into the high-ceilinged offices of J.P. Morgan at Place Vendome in Paris, to join staff for an interesting discussion. Organized and moderated by current HEC Paris EMBA candidate Anna Safaryan, Vice President of Payments and Sales for France and Belux, the evening was an opportunity for members of the HEC student body to engage with the global banking company on issues of gender diversity and inclusion.
Organizing such an event was important to Anna, who heads the French chapter of “Women on the Move-Men as Allies” within J.P. Morgan, a program that advocates for the recruitment and retention of more women at all levels of the company. Anna has connected with groups at HEC such as the Women in Leadership Club.
“It was important for me to make my contribution. Since the beginning of my EMBA program, I wanted to reach out to HEC students to share what I do, the company I work for, and the positive impact it creates through Women on The Move and Men As Allies.
I didn’t want to limit the opportunity to EMBA candidates only, but to extend it to a wider number of students – Grande Ecoles, MBAs, EMBAs. I truly believe that we should be more and more cultivating cross-program networking opportunities. So I am happy that the event that we organized has not only allowed for students to meet with Senior Executives from J.P. Morgan, but also allowed for this cross-program networking.”
While the percentage of women at J.P. Morgan is growing, Marc-Antoine Cosquer, Head of Equity Derivatives Solutions Sales and Cross-Asset Retail Distribution for FraBeLux and co-Head of Men as Allies in France, notes that it takes five to ten years to make lasting change. “Right now we have more men than women in leadership roles because we weren’t recruiting like this ten years ago.” Today, recruiters have their eye on more diverse profiles.
“We are better if we have more diversity,” says Annabelle Azoulay, Private Bank Region Head of France & Benelux and WOTM Senior Sponsor for France, who adds that hiring more diverse candidates positively impacts the work they can do. With a wider variety of voices in the room, a wider range of customer needs can be anticipated and served. An international company like J.P. Morgan sees the interest in shifting their recruitment strategy to include more female profiles.
“Support from your manager is critical,” adds Mme Azoulay, noting that she has felt lucky in her career to have had managers who noticed when she was ready to take on certain roles. Looking out for one another is key to success, and in creating this opportunity for all HEC students, Anna Safaryan is already showing her support for her HEC network.