‘Believe in yourself and your abilities’
By Tony Sanchez
In our latest Women in Finance Interview, Tony Sanchez speaks to Anastasia Sachinidou, Legal Associate at Fiduciam.
As a law graduate from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and qualified lawyer in Greece, Anastasia started her career in a law firm in Thessaloniki.
Working there for two years while completing her Master of Laws in Transnational/European Commercial Law and Banking Law at the International Hellenic University.
In 2019, she moved to Luxembourg and joined a Luxembourg law firm as a Corporate and Finance lawyer.
Anastasia joined Fiduciam in August 2021 and started working on UK and German loans, while being part of the company’s legal project and legal development team.
What brought you into financial services?
Being flexible and taking a chance on a different sector.
Working as a Corporate and Finance lawyer in Luxembourg meant I was involved in many cross-border financing transactions, which sparked my interest in finance and encouraged me to seek opportunities which would allow me to gain more experience in the field.
Hence, I joined Fiduciam in August 2021 and I am learning to apply my legal knowledge and experience to the bridge lending world.
What do you think makes a successful leader? And in particular women leaders?
Regardless of gender, I believe that a successful leader is someone who values the whole team, communicates effectively, provides the necessary training and boosts the team’s confidence to take on responsibilities and grow.
I strongly believe that trust towards the team and emotional intelligence to handle interpersonal relationships appropriately and empathetically are essential components of a leader’s success.
What are the biggest barriers you have faced in your career in financial services?
Coming from a legal background, a challenge I faced at the beginning was the lack of exposure to specific financial tools needed for certain daily tasks.
I have definitely faced a steep learning curve in this regard, but luckily, I work with great professionals that are more than willing to provide useful advice and training.
If you could tell your younger self one thing you know about business now, what would it be?
To trust the process and believe in yourself and your abilities.
When I decided to study law in Greece, I never thought that eight years later I would be working in the largest financial centre of Europe after first spending two years in a law firm in Luxembourg.
Thinking back, I am incredibly proud and happy that I left my comfort zone and took risks.
What’s your own personal mantra?
Don’t wait for opportunities to arise, create them.
What do you think is key for finding a successful work-life balance?
Personally, I have found that focusing on my mental and physical health by pursuing hobbies and doing activities that I love, while also making sure that I spend time with family and friends, is key.
This helps me recharge my energy levels and feel more fulfilled, which in turn increases my performance and motivation at work.
In addition, staying organised and prioritising your tasks, at work and in your personal life, can make a day less stressful.
What advice do you have for women aiming for leadership positions?
Do not be afraid to pursue your goals and take risks. There is no ceiling when someone works hard and is determined to succeed.
Be flexible and try new things without worrying about the outcome. But most importantly, know your worth and negotiate for it.
What do you think is holding women back?
I believe that self-doubt and a lack of confidence to go for or claim higher-ranking positions play a significant role in a woman’s professional progression.
For instance, women tend to be less vocal about their career goals and aspirations.
The balance between family life and career can also be a challenge, however management support and favourable corporate policies could easily facilitate this to prevent it from being something that holds women back.
Do you think there is still a glass ceiling?
Unfortunately, the number of women in senior executive positions is still considerably lower than the number of men.
However, many organisations are promoting gender balance in the workplace and are trying to improve the gender ratio and avoid malpractices of the past.
Although there are still things that require change, I like to see the glass half full, and thus I believe that we will see positive results in the years to come, with more businesses embracing new policies and aligning with an evolving era.
What are your thoughts on the Women in Finance Charter?
While I find it sobering that initiatives such as the Women in Finance Charter are still needed to ensure fair representation in the finance industry in the 21st century, I do find it very encouraging that more and more companies are embracing the Charter and committing to its goals to break barriers and promote diversity and gender equality, and I am proud to be working for a company that does.
How do we encourage more women into financial services?
On a professional level, I believe that organisations can assist in this process by encouraging and promoting female finance networks, so that female professionals can be connected and share their thoughts and experiences, as well as advice for working within this sector.
On an educational level, organisations could help raise awareness of the finance industry and the opportunities it presents by participating in talks and seminars in schools and universities, and by inviting students to their offices to experience the daily tasks and responsibilities of a finance professional.
This could visualise the work and roles within the industry, making young women more confident to apply.
Making finance education accessible to young women will also boost their confidence and encourage more women to pursue a career in the industry later in life.
The gender pay gap is only second worst to the construction industry. What can organisations do to address this?
I believe that part of the pay gap and determination of salaries is highly dependent on negotiation skills, which can differ greatly amongst professionals.
Organisations could address this gap by ensuring that hiring and promotion processes are fair and based on clear and consistent criteria, by being explicit and transparent about how compensation is determined, and by making sure that there is equal access to mentorship for all employees.