Released On 8th Jul 2019
An interview with ... Ali Mirkhani and Britt Johnston, NATIXIS
Cityparents reached a milestone last month welcoming our 100th Corporate Member! Ali Mirkhani, Director of Public Sector Origination in the Investment Banking Division and Britt Johnston, Director of Fixed Income Sales for the Global Markets Division tell us why NATIXIS decided to join Cityparents.
Q. Ali, Britt, congratulations and thank you for becoming our 100th Corporate member! We’re thrilled to welcome Natixis to Cityparents. Please can you start by telling us a little about Natixis and your roles there?
Britt: NATIXIS is a French multinational financial services firm specialized in asset & wealth management, corporate & investment banking, insurance and payments. Within NATIXIS, the Women in Natixis Network (WiNN) was established in 2012 in Paris with senior management sponsorship. Ali and I are the co-chairs of the WiNN U.K. and the third generation managing the U.K. network, which originally launched in 2015 in London. The mission of WiNN U.K. is to achieve gender balance and engage all genders in our cause to recruit, nurture and promote women at all levels across our organisation.
Q. Where did you hear about Cityparents and how does our network fit in with your focus on gender balance?
Ali: WiNN U.K. is active on working with and learning from other established banking gender balance networks, and as I’m also a co-chair at the London Gender Interbank Forum, I had the opportunity to meet with Cityparents Director Helen Beedham at an event hosted at the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development.
Q. Which topics do you think your people will be most interested in?
Britt: Increasingly our digital lives have both helped and hindered our ability to manage a healthy work-life balance, as we are both encouraged to ensure that we have a healthy amount of downtime in traditional affairs, as well as be open to profiting from the distance breakdown that technology enables.
Q. In high pressure working environments, such as in the City, workloads can be intense and feel unsustainable even if flexible working options are available. How can we help people achieve a healthier balance between work and home lives?
Ali: Natixis encourages quality of life at work through its Work&Life at Natixis program, supported by our Senior Management Committee. It does this by supporting working parents and reinforcing the physical, mental, financial and social wellbeing of employees through its ongoing events and initiatives. For example, Natixis’ partnership with My Family Care, which provides emergency backup childcare, adult and elder care, reinforces its commitment to working families.
Q. Do you encourage flexible working and if so, how?
Britt: Natixis supports agile working through its EASY laptop programme, for roles that permit. Flexible working is encouraged for all, where roles permit – this does not have to only mean working from home. Showing flexibility in working hours and treating employees like adults – meaning measuring outputs and not facetime – also helps.
Q. How do your external partnerships with Cityparents and other organisations such as G7 Institutional Investor Initiative, Strong Women Strong Girls and Invest in Girls help you foster an inclusive culture that supports and develops women?
Ali: Working with a variety of external organisations enables members and supporters of WiNN to raise the visibility of women in leadership roles, provide inspiration and support women’s professional growth and development. One recent success has been its partnership with the 30% Club Mentoring programme, which is helping to develop a broader pipeline of women and ‘balance the pyramid’ at all levels. Our partnership with Employers’ Network for Equality & Inclusion has helped us launch our formal D&I policy as well as leading us to train internally on both unconscious bias and inclusive recruiting, for example.