Bain & Company recently announced the expansion to the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region of Stratos, a unique, industry-first and member-led initiative pioneered by Bain with the ambition of bringing together C-Suite women executives in financial services to accelerate the sector’s progress towards gender parity.
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"I couldn’t be more excited to announce Stratos in Asia-Pacific – a powerful and exclusive new space connecting bold female leaders in financial services. Since its inception in EMEA last year, and with the backing of Bain & Company – as well as from CEO and C-Suite members from financial firms across the UK and European industries – Stratos has seen rapid growth in its membership." said Henrik Naujoks, the Senior Partner and Head of Asia Pacific Financial Services practice.
"Bain research found that fewer than one-third of CEOs in financial services identified as female, and just 20% of executive committee members in FS were women in EMEA. And this number was growing at just 1-2% a year. We’ve had huge support from both within Bain and from the women FS leaders, including Amanda Blanc and many others, who’ve joined with us to make this network and its goals a reality. It’s thrilling to see how rapidly Stratos has grown and developed in EMEA – and now with its expansion to Asia-Pacific, and we’re hugely excited to support the next stages of Stratos’ success as it continues to expand." said Priscilla Dell’Orto, the Partner and APAC co-leader for Stratos.
Recently the expansion of Stratos in APAC with a pan-Asian, online event being joined by an array of senior women financial executives from across the region, with member representation from FS businesses in Singapore, Australia, India, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea and Thailand, builds on the considerable success achieved by Stratos since its initial 2022 launch in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA), with the goals of enabling women FS leaders to expand their networks, discover shared ambitions, and champion the next generation of female leadership throughout the industry.
Su Shan Tan, Group Head of Institutional Banking at DBS Bank, who is taking part in the APAC launch event, said: “Stratos will be a great platform to drive positive change in the industry and continue to pave the way for women in financial services.”
Anusha Thavara, Regional CEO for Asia-Pacific at Allianz, who is also joining the event, commented: “This initiative will allow me to continue to champion the next generation of female leaders in the financial services industry.”
Among Bain’s partner team attending the APAC launch will be Nishma Gosrani, Seow-Chien Chew, leader of the firm’s Southeast Asia Financial Services practice and APAC co-leader for Stratos, and Priscilla Dell’Orto, APAC co-leader for Stratos and head of the firm’s Asia-Pacific Customer practice, who works extensively with FS clients on strategy and customer-centric transformation.
Priscilla added: “Stratos in Asia-Pacific will allow female senior executives in finance to have a space to learn from one another and collaborate in a way not yet available in the region.”
The ground-breaking initiative has won loud praise from dozens of industry participants at its keynote events, with plaudits not only for its promotion of gender parity in financial services but also for spearheading thought leadership on the most pressing concerns for the sector and wider society – from diversity and cybersecurity to decarbonization and issues affecting emerging markets. Stratos and its members seek to serve as a collective force for positive change in the sector and beyond with the shared belief that a diverse workforce is good for business – for customers, profitability, investors and workplace culture.
Last September, the initiative’s founding members launched its industry-first Stratos CEO Club, an exclusive network where female CEOs in financial services combine their talents and convening power to help shape the 2050 World Economic Forum themes. Stratos CEO Club members have mapped out a member-led vision for their efforts to emphasize building a strong community of female FS leaders through the initiative, creating a space for trust and support and fostering the talent pipeline for the next, enlarged generation of female CEOs in the sector.
In conjunction, Bain and the Stratos CEO Club have since also successfully created the Stratos Academy, an invitation-only network of inspiring, high-potential women FS leaders that provide opportunities for in-person training and virtual networking events with world-leading trainers and industry leaders, offering coaching in CEO-level leadership and participation in a powerful and exclusive network of leaders.
Amanda Blanc, Group CEO of Aviva, one of the initiative’s main founders, commented: “I am delighted to be a founding member of Stratos. This is an important initiative that provides crucial support and encouragement for the amazing women who will be the financial services leaders of the future.
The success of Stratos’ recent Stratos Academy event in London is reflected in an outpouring of enthusiastic feedback from Academy participants who attended. One commented: “So energizing to be with like-minded people – it made it seem that things that yesterday were out of reach are within the art of the possible.” Another said that the event “felt like a once in a (working) lifetime opportunity”.