First Rate Celebrates International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is this upcoming Sunday (March 8), and it’s going to be celebrated all around the globe! We couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate and recognize the amazing women that we have the pleasure of working with every day than to tell their stories of struggle, triumph, ambition, and passion. Here are just a few of the amazing women that help make First Rate what it is today and lead the charge for innovation and growth.

“In 2006, I was leading my firm’s first Knowledge / Business Process Offshoring with a partner firm in India. During the team build-out phase, the partner firm wanted to control manager selection from a male-dominated pool of candidates; I insisted on having the final say, and I expanded the pool to reflect more female candidates. I am proud to say that a woman was selected to manage a team of twenty investment performance professionals; year 1 attrition rate of 5% and year 2 attrition rate of 0% while a 37% attrition rate was the norm. She rocked it and became a model and mentor for many young women at the partner firm.”

Debra Detweiler, General Manager – Solutions, Reporting & Analytics, First Rate

“I enjoy the game of golf. For years I belonged to a club that had two golf courses, one of which was only for men. In early 2000 during a General Membership Meeting, I addressed the club President on the antiquated rule and expressed all the reasons women should be allowed to play the course. The biggest reason was that they were losing revenue! Was I the first female to standup on this issue? Absolutely not. But I did join the cause and had my voice heard. To this day, the course still only allows men to play, yet as more and more women stand up and make their voices heard, I do believe change is inevitable.”

Jeanne Benson, General Manager – Managed Hosting, First Rate

“Approximately 8 years ago, I realized that additional diversity of thought within our Board of Advisors would be valuable to our business. Although leadership was likely already considering this when reviewing new board candidates, they allowed me the opportunity to embark upon a search for a woman in the financial technology industry to present as a candidate. I forwarded several names and LinkedIn profiles on to our leadership, and I even visited someone I was interested in Westchester, NY. It was encouraging for me to see all the women capable of holding this position. Not too long afterwards, our first female board member was brought on. I can’t take sole credit for this milestone, but I do believe my interest in it was influential.”

Kate Baird, General Manager – Wealth Business Process Outsourcing, First Rate

“Back in my hometown in Germany, I started working for a very traditional manufacturing company as an administrative assistant. I was interested in advancement and applied for the job of the material analyst when it became vacant, which had historically been fulfilled by only men.

The position included wearing a hard-hat and walking through the factory (dominated by male workers) to check all machines and read their meters. This was very labor-intensive and would require me to climb on top of giant machines in a hot factory and sometimes open them to eyeball how much raw material was left. The job would ensure all machines had enough raw materials to keep running for 24 hours with calculated stop-times, as inoperable (or stillstand) machines were very expensive for the company.

I applied for the position, and shortly thereafter, I was hired to fulfill the role. Many of the male factory workers, who were responsible for storing and receiving the materials I ordered, had a hard time reporting to me because I am a woman; in fact, some even went as far as setting me up to fail on more than one occasion when placing orders. Many of them felt that the role was not fit for a woman and had no problem telling me so.

Eventually, I moved on from this company, but I would like to think that my commitment to this role opened the door, since another woman was hired into my position upon my leaving. The male crew eventually realized this was a path to the future.”

Sabine Adams, General Manager – Professional Services, First Rate

“I am an ordained Elder in my local church (The Potter’s House of Dallas). Women being ordained in ministry is still not widely accepted in many churches. I’m proud to serve in a church that does not exclude women. More and more, women are being ordained to serve in ministry and for many of us, it was a major step to move forward with what God was calling us to do. My husband and I were ordained together in 2003 with a focus on building strong marriages. We often meet with couples for pre-marital sessions, or marital sessions when “tune-ups” (as we say) are needed. I am grateful that this area of ministry values the perspectives of women as for many couples, both voices add value to achieve understanding. If I had chosen not to accept my calling or take this leap of faith, many couples might not have gotten what they needed to grow or develop healthy and sustainable marriages. Many churches have a long way to go in this area and my prayer is for women around the world to keep pushing to fulfill their own callings. Let’s keep fighting. God shows no partiality; Romans 2:11.”

Virginia Franklin, Administrative Assistant – Solutions, First Rate

“Growing up in a household with no other females other than my mother, I never felt the limits placed on the female gender as she did. Her struggles were my roadmap. She was by far my ‘Shero’. She didn’t have a glamorous ‘9 to 5’ office job. She worked at Sears in the mall of our hometown. As demanding as the days were, she loved every hour spent there. I learned so much by just watching her. She was the only female in her department, and she was very proud of that. Not only did she command and receive respect from her counterparts, but she also proved to the toughest male customers that she ‘knew her stuff’ and they became her most loyal customers for years to come.

Her ‘I can do anything he can do’ attitude was the foundation for my own career path. When I accepted my first managerial role in the financial services industry, I unexpectedly received tons of pushback from my male counterparts and even the all-male team that I managed. True to the nature of my mother’s will and determination, I too pushed harder, dug deeper, and gained far more knowledge in areas that others spent years trying to understand. Under my leadership, the team helped the company to meet first-time target expectations for both quality and quantity of reporting and billing productions.

I have a twelve-year-old daughter, and I hope I am at least half the positive influence on her that my mother was on me.”

Colette Carson, Investment Performance Analyst, First Rate

“I recently was able to participate in a women’s group where I was able to help raise awareness of the Financial industry to young girls attending high school. We were passionate about leading this conversation because this industry has historically been male-dominated, and many young women typically do not consider a career in Finance or Technology. While leading one of the career events, I met a young woman that was interested in learning more about the industry. I was able to share my story in my role as Performance Analyst. Hearing our stories empowered her to pursue a career as a programmer.”

Alejandra Garcia, Quality Assurance Analyst, First Rate

We admire these women (and all women) who take risks to have their voices heard! Thank you for consistently pushing for greatness and going against the status quo. The world needs each and every one of you to use your talents and gifts to continue to push for change. As a privately held woman-owned company, we have a passion for voicing our beliefs loud and clear. We are committed to supporting the women in our communities and will continue to humble ourselves in this journey towards equality.

Happy International Women’s Day!

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