On 8th March this year, International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. It also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. The theme this year is Choose to challenge.

We caught up with key members of the Stonehage Fleming team in Jersey to hear about how best to challenge bias, the things they have faced as working women over the last year and what advice they might give to younger women at the start of their career in Jersey in 2021.

Monika Osiak

Monika joined the Stonehage Fleming Group in 2008 and is a Senior Associate in the Family Office division. She is responsible for the administration of a portfolio of structures held for high net worth clients. Monika has a masters degree in History of Art, qualified with the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA) in 2012 and holds an ICSA certificate in offshore finance and administration. Monika is a member of the Society Trust and Estate Practitioners (TEP).

It is vital that women support rather than compete against each other. As women in business, our success depends on it. Without each other’s support, we are in danger of talking about but never actually achieving our full potential. Real queens fix each other’s crowns.

More flexibility is essential to uplifting women in the workplace. Employers should not require an explanation as to why an employee wants to work from home, as long as they get the work done. Lockdowns have shown us that even with both parents working from home the majority of the duties fall to women. Support from their employers to work flexibly is invaluable.

Be kind to yourself and don’t be afraid to ask for help. During the pandemic, combining work and home schooling has been my biggest challenge. I could not have managed without the support of my line manager. Being a working parent, has honed my ability to prioritise and lockdown has made that even more important – determining what requires your urgent attention at a given time.

For our clients, the pandemic has helped them realise the importance of family. While wealth is important, it has taken a back seat during the covid crisis. Many of our clients live a truly global lifestyle with family members dotted around the world. Not being able to travel to see each other has been difficult for them.

I would tell my younger self starting out in work to embrace change and plan ahead. If you want to combine a career with raising a family, I recommend you think ahead.  If you lay the groundwork, the rest will follow. The other thing is that Jersey is a great place to live and work, with many interesting career opportunities. Embrace them as they present themselves – don’t limit yourself, even if it means change.