I just listened to this on Women’s Hour on Radio 4 – an interview with the fabulous female Icelandic financier Halla Tomosdottir. A stunning bunch of articulate, focussed women — furious that their country and their lives had been compromised by a small bunch of almost exclusively male wideboys. The wild risks these bankers took have resulted in three commercial banks being nationalised and the country being effectively frozen out of foreign exchange markets. But at least two smart women saw it coming — financiers Halla Tomasdottir and Kristin Petursdottir set up Audur Capital in 2007, recruiting mainly women, and determined to exercise risk awareness in their choice of investments. According to Halla, “Our ground rule was simple. We won’t invest in anything we can’t understand.” Since then Halla helped commission a report, published six months ago, which warned the Icelandic premier and Gordon Brown that Iceland’s financial model was unsustainable. Now Audur capital is the only financial company left in Iceland with funds and with a staff recruitment programme.
A recent article in Management Today backs up the view that risk taking can be an over-rated skill! I firmly believe that more balance in the boardroom can only be good for companies and for the country and that the opportunities are around now for women to be recognised and valued for their ‘female’ qualities. This is Authentic Leadership – the ability to be yourself in your role as a leader.
We are in exciting times – let me know how the economic crisis is affecting your workplace. What steps are being taken to meet the new challenges we face?