Women in Finance Asia Awards Q&A: Joelle Yap, CME Group


Joelle Yap, Director, Client Development & Sales – Sell-Side, CME Group

Joelle Yap, Director, Client Development & Sales – Sell-Side, CME Group, won  Best in Exchanges at Markets Media Group’s 2020 Women in Finance Asia Awards

Markets Media caught up with Joelle to learn more. 

What has been your experience as a woman in finance? Have you found that any doors were closed (or open) for you because of your gender?

I recall in one of my earlier jobs, I worked in a broking house as a dealer’s assistant.  The company also required us to double-hat and support the sales and marketing team during client seminars and networking events in the evenings.  I saw that as an opportunity to learn new things and to widen my own horizons, rather than fret about having to do additional work outside of my original job scope.  This was how I learnt to multi-task and at the same time, this allowed me to experience first-hand a sales-related role within the derivatives industry and my initial dealing assistant role later expanded to include sales and business development.  Subsequently, the experience I garnered in this very broad role stood me in good stead for a job opportunity at CME Group, and I was hired into my current role based on the merit of my skill sets and sales experience in my previous company.

For me, I am very thankful to have worked with many great bosses and mentors who had provided me with a lot of guidance and have given me the freedom to explore and work to my strengths while at the same time watching out for me to ensure that I am not blindsided by my own weaknesses and constantly pointing them out to me, and helping me course-correct along the way.

I have been very fortunate to have colleagues and bosses who have been supportive, and created a conducive and collaborative environment for me to thrive in. And this is especially so at CME Group, where the exchange of ideas is embraced and driven by the rich diversity of our people, cultures and experiences.

Women are well-represented at CME Group, including at the most senior levels.  40% of our senior leadership team is comprised of women, with women making up nearly a third of our workforce globally. 

At CME Group, we have two Employee Network Groups (ENG) that were started by women and continue to create a forum for our female colleagues to share their professional and personal interests.

  • Women’s Initiative Network (WIN) was our first ENG and it launched in 2012.  WIN is open to anyone in the company irrespective of title, gender, age or geographic location. It offers networking, education and charitable outreach opportunities to employees. WIN has a strong commitment to internal and external development to maximize employee participation in the financial market ecosystem.  WIN actively engages with Women in Listed Derivatives, an external organization focused on promoting networking and relationship building among women in the listed and over the counter derivatives markets through mentoring programs, as well as social and educational events.
  • We also have Women in Technology (WIT) that formally launched as an ENG this year (before that it was a group embedded in the Technology Division).  WIT is focused on advancing the interest of women serving in technology roles across the organization.  It also aims to bolster the general tech literacy of all employees by sponsoring technology-focused educational events company-wide. The group is also actively engaged in bringing more women to our organization in Technology roles through our engagement with the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing and other recruiting events.

What is the “secret of your success”?

There is no real secret to my success, and my success if any, is all down to hard work, and constantly striving to better myself. 

For women, or anyone working in the exchange sector, here’s my nuggets of wisdom for them:-

  1. Hard work is the foundation of success.  If you put in 100% in everything you do, even if you don’t succeed, at least you know you have given it your best shot.
  2. Do not be too pre-occupied with chasing success.  If you work hard, and with a bit of luck, success will find its way to you. 
  3. Nobody is perfect and if you make a mistake, admit it and make sure you learn from it.  Making a mistake once is acceptable; making the same mistake twice is not.
  4. Find a mentor – someone experienced and respected and who is in his or her position because of hard work and true capability and learn from him or her. 

What is the value/significance of industry events such as Markets Media’s Women in Finance Asia Awards?

Over the years, I have seen more and more of such awards honoring women, and I think they are a fantastic way of showcasing and highlighting the achievements of women.  I believe that these awards and awards winners themselves continue to provide a source of inspiration for many other women, especially to those who are relatively new to the workforce.

For me, I feel that the award win was a culmination of my hard work and the recognition and the opportunities given to me by my bosses and my peers.  To be honest, I have never ever dreamt of winning an industry award, and to be conferred this Women in Finance Asia awards is both an honor and a privilege. 

I hope that this will inspire many others who are reading about my award win, and drive them to work harder and to strive to be the best they can be.  That hopefully could be my humble contribution in giving back to women in society and within the industry.