Women in Capital Markets honours three professionals at annual awards luncheon

Two senior executives and a “rising star” were honoured at the annual Women in Capital Markets (WCM) luncheon in Toronto on Thursday for their work in encouraging gender diversity within the financial services sector and for their efforts to promote the business to young women.

The WCM Awards for Leadership recognize a female and male senior executive who have combined professional excellence with a demonstrated commitment to advancing and championing women in capital markets.

These awards were presented to Marian Lawson, executive vice president of global financial services institutions and transaction banking with Bank of Nova Scotia, and Steve Banquier, managing director of prime brokerage with Toronto-Dominion Bank’s capital markets arm. (Both firms are based in Toronto.)

The organization also acknowledged a female leader at the event who is at the beginning of her career and whose entrepreneurial spirit, leadership and social responsibility are considered to have made a unique contribution to the capital markets industry. The 2016 WCM Rising Star Award went to Eileen Jurczak, director of trading products at Toronto-based Bank of Montreal’s capital markets division.

Lawson was recognized for devoting her 30-year career to encouraging diversity and ensuring that there are opportunities for both men and women to advance themselves in the capital markets industry.

“I’m hoping that the legacy of what we’re trying to do as a business and an industry [is such] that I’m going to look 10 years down the road and [see] that we’ve reached some parity for women in capital markets,” said Lawson in her acceptance speech.

Banquier was acknowledged for his efforts to promote an inclusive environment for both men and women at TD Securities and for his role as co-chairman of WCM’s “Return to Bay Street” program in 2016. The initiative provides short-term contracts with financial services firms and mentorship partnerships to women who are returning to the capital markets industry after taking a break from their careers.

Banquier’s determination to help women advance in capital markets is a long-time goal inspired by the obstacles he saw women face in the industry when he began his career more than 15 years ago, he said in his acceptance speech.

The WCM Rising Star Award was presented to Jurczak in recognition of her efforts to help young professionals in the industry and for her role in founding “Bay Street Deconstructed,” an educational program about the careers available in the financial services sector for students in Grade 10.

The program began when Jurczak saw there was a lack of knowledge regarding financial services careers at the high school level, she said: “My vision was to provide information that these students can understand and make it fun.”

Jennifer Reynolds, president and CEO of WCM, described Lawson, Banquier and Jurczak at the event as three professionals who raise the bar in helping talented women to move forward in this industry.

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