Under the theme of power and money, Professionals’ Financial organized an event at the Musée Pointe-à-Callière, to which some one hundred women and men of action from our shareholders’ professions were invited. The purpose of the meeting was to reflect, network and share ideas on the place of women in the professional world.
Two notable guests, Dr. Diane Francoeur, our chair of the board of directors of Professionals’ Financial and president of the Fédération des médecins spécialistes du Québec, and Rose-Marie Charest, psychologist and reputed speaker, marked the event with their comments on their own professional career path, while broadening the discussion to include more general considerations on the place of money and power in the new women’s reality.
What did they teach us about the unique journey of women who invest in their success?
Conquering your place: for a culture of ambition
In her speech, Dr. Diane Francoeur focused particularly on the inclusion of women in the labour market and on the winning conditions that enable them to rise to positions of responsibility and power. Although their active and massive participation dates back only some 50 years, women increasingly hold jobs that were traditionally reserved for men, such as in the liberal professions, as well as senior management positions.
Dr. Francoeur mentioned the determination and self-confidence she had to have to succeed in her discipline. During her career, she always sought to avoid the “cloak of insecurity” that so many women wear, “… a cloak full of prejudices …,” which causes them to feel like a fraud whenever they put themselves forward. To counter this impression, she suggests “… that women develop a culture of ambition …” as an essential condition of their successful integration in the profession of their choice. A culture whose goal would be to leverage their strengths, to mobilize their talents and to equip them to deal with criticism, while teaching them the value of teamwork and of a solid professional network.
When will we see more inclusive family policies?
Our society has made great progress in terms of openness and equality between women and men, but work-family balance remains a challenging issue. Pregnancies always jeopardize women’s careers, since caring for children often costs them critical years in the advancement to high-level positions. “Why not have an equitable system, where family responsibilities are balanced?” asks Dr. Francoeur. Other countries, like Sweden, have embarked on this path, to enable women to pursue their career without being penalized by their desire for a happy and fulfilling family life.
But above all, happiness!
During her 40 years of practice, psychologist Rose-Marie Charest has seen many times the fear that women feel about assuming positions of power. They are still plagued by doubt: Should I act like a man to achieve this? Can I hold positions of influence while remaining myself? For her, the answer is simple: Power is not granted, it is seized, and you have to dare to seize it.
However, this requires making choices in your personal and professional life, and rejecting an ideal and inaccessible model of success and instead choosing a success that is built moment to moment. According to Ms. Charest, happiness is intimately associated with self-realization and this must be conveyed to girls and young women so that they too acquire a taste for this and a desire to excel.
Resources for self-realization
Professional women’s discomfort with money is often tied to the principles that were instilled in them in childhood or in their social interactions, according to which “… a woman’s value depends on her ability to be loved.” The time has come for women to take charge of their affairs, particularly the financial aspect of their lives, by applying to this the same determination and the same intelligence that they invested in their profession.
Because, as Ms. Charest points out, finances are a key component of success. It is difficult to fully realize yourself without money: getting an education, pursuing a career plan, updating your skills require financial resources. Mastering your finances means giving yourself the opportunity to “be more,” says Ms. Charest; it also gives you the tools to achieve your ambitions.
Watchword: take care of business
With her career and her influence, Dr. Diane Francoeur is a source of inspiration for Professionals’ Financial, and the message delivered by psychologist Rose-Marie Charest is fully in line with our values. As part of the professional world for 40 years, we recognize the great strides made by women who leveraged their know-how, their talents and their drive to build their destiny.
We salute the exceptional path carved by many women and we want to put our expertise to work for them, so that the fruits of their success can enhance all aspects of their lives.
We will continue this dialogue with professional women in 2019. Because we believe, as Dr. Diane Francoeur put it so well, that “Quebec deserves women’s talent.”
Ginette Paquin, B. A., Adm. A., ASC
Vice-president, Communications and marketing