Hymans Robertson partner Rona Train was named Adviser of the Year at the inaugural Women in Pensions Awards. She speaks to Stephanie Baxter about building her career in pensions.
What does winning the Adviser of the Year award at the Women in Pensions Awards 2018 mean to you?
I was genuinely delighted to win the award and proud to be able to share it with all of my colleagues at Hymans Robertson who have supported me over the past 14 years. It's wonderful that PP is recognising the great work that women in our industry do and to win the very first of these awards makes it extra special for me.
Since winning the award, I've written a blog for our intranet that I hope will inspire others, both women and men, to grasp new opportunities when they come along and to be positive about what they can achieve.
I was so disappointed to miss the awards dinner. It was my daughter's 21st birthday and we were dining in Cinderella's castle at the Magic Kingdom in Florida - her choice, not mine! But that's typical of the need to juggle both work and home life that we all face on a day-to-day basis!
What is the most important lesson you have learned in your career?
Throughout my career, I have had the pleasure of working with a wide range of people from a variety of firms and backgrounds. My most important lesson from a business point of view is to treat everyone, whatever role they are in, as a future prospective client! In today's world where people increasingly move between roles within the industry, you never know when someone who is promoting their product or service to you today may be someone you are promoting your product or service to in the future. If you treat them with respect and engage them on both a personal and professional level, they are much more likely to remember you and want to do business with you in the future.
And from a personal point of view, I guess my greatest lesson has been to continually challenge myself about whether I am adding the most value I can in any role. We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses. I often use the example that Roger Federer is a great tennis player, but couldn't compete with Chris Hoy on a bike. Throughout my career, I've learned to build on my strengths and surround myself with people who can successfully plug my weaknesses. Doing this enables people to develop successfully and ensure that they build effective and efficient teams.
The Women in Pensions Awards Winners Series
What has been your greatest achievement, or one you are most proud of?
This is a tough one. I get the greatest feeling every time I win a new client, and seeing my clients happy and successful always makes me feel incredibly proud. However, I am most proud of becoming a partner at Hymans Robertson in 2015.
As a firm, Hymans Robertson aims to give people "the best job they will ever have" and that's certainly been the case for me. We have such a supportive culture and we truly value our people. To be part of the amazing and diverse group of people who will help shape the business for the future and take Hymans past its 100th birthday in 2021 makes me feel very proud indeed.
What has been your experience working as a woman in the pensions industry?
I've been lucky in that I've always had a very positive experience of working in the industry. Thankfully, I'm not intimidated by walking into a room full of men but I know others can be! The number and quality of women across the pensions industry is growing and I really believe that the industry now offers a positive and supportive culture.
What is your top tip for women looking to progress or start a career in the pensions industry?
I hope you'll indulge me with a couple here!
Our industry has changed beyond all recognition in the period since I started work in 1986. With a technological tsunami on the horizon I'm sure it will continue to change at an ever increasing pace. Women (and men!) need to be flexible, adaptable and willing to try new things if they want to succeed. By choosing to be excited by change and not frightened of it, women will have an increasingly important role to play in the financial services industry to ensure good decision making. We must be prepared to think differently from the herd and be visionary.
Always try to work closely with a mentor or sponsor who will help you to develop yourself and explore the areas you need to work on. Critically, it's important to learn how to get others to speak up for you rather than doing it for yourself.
And finally, have fun! You spend around a third of your life at work during your career. Do something you enjoy.
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