The number of women now working in senior roles in legal and compliance across the commodities industry continues to grow, and as a business, Proco Commodities is committed to supporting diversity in the industry.
We are therefore working hard to build a community of senior women, both through our women’s group on LinkedIn [https://www.linkedin.com/groups/4807398], which we invite all women working in this space to join, and through our day-to-day activities.
We hope to build a strong network of leading women, both to inspire others to join the industry, and to provide a platform for women within the industry to support each other. It is also a great opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women in what remains a very male-dominated environment.
With that in mind, let me start by showcasing an inspirational female leader who I know well: Monique Rowtham Kennedy, who is head of compliance in the Americas for Engelhart Commodities Trading Partners. Monique is an attorney with over 20 years’ experience in regulatory matters, and in her role at Engelhart has been responsible for developing and implementing a comprehensive regulatory compliance programme for a start-up global commodities business. She previously served her country as an appointee to the Senior Executive Service in the administration of President Barack Obama.
I believe Monique is a great role model to inspire young women to build successful careers in commodities, and specifically in legal and compliance. Here’s what she had to say when I interviewed her recently about how she came to be where she is now:
Why did you choose this industry?
I had worked for many years in the electric utility industry on the regulatory side of things and wanted to better understand the markets/economic side. I thought the experience would round out my knowledge of the power industry and allow me to leverage my regulatory experience.
What challenges and highlights have you faced?
Moving into commodities compliance I have been exposed to numerous products, beyond power and gas, in a variety of jurisdictions. Decision making in this industry happens much more rapidly and you have to be confident enough to make decisions quickly or to push back hard when more information is needed. This has been both a challenge and highlight for me.
What advice do you have for women who are moving into leadership roles?
Know your stuff, be confident in your abilities, understand, respect and leverage the skills others bring to the table, communicate clearly, and don’t take things personally.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I think networking is sometimes a challenge for women, particularly those with children or other responsibilities at home. You are not always invited to, or able to attend, social events outside of working hours where many mentoring relationships can develop. Also, there are certain personalities who may question your authority or knowledge and seek confirmation of your input or advice from other sources (I think this is particularly true for women of colour).
Do you have a female mentor in the business?
I am fortunate to work for a woman who is very well respected and who is also an excellent advocate.
How do you see the future of women in compliance?
I actually think there are more women in the area of compliance than in other areas of the business. Thus, I think the future of women in compliance is secure.
Do you see any future trends?
This is a pretty broad question, but I think with markets becoming increasingly global, compliance budgets becoming leaner, and trading becoming increasingly automated, there will be more of a need for surveillance and monitoring systems and monitoring analysts well-versed in the rules of multiple jurisdictions.
There are plenty more women out there like Monique, and I plan to showcase others in my blog over the coming months. In the meantime, please do sign up to our LinkedIn group to find out more.
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