Women in Finance Q&A: Jodi DeVito, Credit Suisse
Jodi DeVito is Managing Director and Prime Services Head of Capital Services, Consulting and Client Services at Credit Suisse.
How have things changed in terms of diversity and inclusion since you started working?
When I started working in financial services, I don’t recall hearing much about diversity and inclusion. I remember being part of a large team of mostly men and thinking that it looked different from the population in business school, but I really didn’t think anything else of it. At that time, there wasn’t a culture of diversity, but now – as I’ve seen at my current firm – there are a number of initiatives focused on attracting and retaining women, and more women are being hired into our analyst and associate programs. Industry-wide, I have seen definite progress around the education of diversity and inclusion and stronger female numbers, but there is still room for female growth at the top levels of organizations and in P/L roles.
Who were your role models and the most influential people in your career on both the personal as well as professional and education front?
I was lucky to have many role models and I sought them out. First of all, my parents: I thought for the longest time that my father was my role model as he continually pushed me to get good grades and get the best job possible, no matter what. I realized later in life that it was really my mom who was my biggest role model. She didn’t strive for perfection like my dad; instead, she believed in balance. “Do your best; you will make mistakes. More importantly, be happy.” Professionally, I have several mentors. Some of them don’t even know that they are my mentors and they may not even know I exist. They have mentored me by their presence, by their words, by what they stand by. Many of my mentors are men in the industry that believed in me and took action to help me in my career, and still do.
Who do you mentor?
I am active in hiring and building Credit Suisse’s talent pipeline through our annual Analyst Program, not only seeking out the best and brightest talent within the industry, but also providing guidance and instruction throughout the program. I have been a mentor for junior staffers in Credit Suisse’s accelerated leadership program that is designed to create the best future leaders of the firm. As a senior woman in the industry, I continue to mentor women as part of an ongoing professional development program at Credit Suisse. And most importantly, I hope that both of my children look up to me as a mentor as they have both decided to go into business. My daughter is about to embark on a career in the same industry, and she is striving to break down diversity barriers further in her chosen area of trading.
What challenges still exist for women?
There are still challenges that exist in managing family and work. There has been gradual improvement, but it is an ongoing issue. As mentioned previously, I also want to see companies showing more diversity in senior seats – among different roles, not just those that are operational in nature. Also, salary inequalities still exist across most industries.
Why in some cases, has progress been slow?
I think the intent is there for the industry, and many companies are working to assimilate diversity and inclusion into their culture, which takes time. In order to progress faster, I would say there needs to be less talk about change and more action. As one example, Credit Suisse launched the accelerated leadership program I mentioned to focus on developing the leadership skills of women AVPs (associated vice presidents) with an objective to build a strong senior leadership pipeline.
Looking ahead, what do you hope to see?
In the future, I hope to see more diversity at all levels and, in every industry, equal pay! Everybody deserves an opportunity to operate at their greatest potential, and the movement towards more diversity and inclusion is making that possible.