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What International Women's Day
Means to T. Rowe Price: A Q&A with Cheri Belski

3/7/2019 | Corporate Publishing

T. Rowe Price is celebrating International Women's Day on March 8. It will mark not only the achievements of women but also call for action on gender parity, which is integral to the firm's mission of inclusion.

This commitment extends well beyond this one-day celebration. T. Rowe Price understands that equality is vital to the success of both its associates and for the firm as a whole. Enter Wave @ T. Rowe Price— a global business resource group focused on increasing the firm's ability to attract more women and develop, advance and retain them. Wave @ T. Rowe Price currently has 1,500 members drawn from the offices across the globe.

"Balance for Better" is the theme for this year's International Women's Day events. In preparation, we spoke with Cheri Belski, a 20-year veteran of the firm, Head of Retirement, U.S. Intermediaries, and chair of Wave @ T. Rowe Price.

How is T. Rowe Price planning to mark International Women's Day?

We'll host a global webcast sponsored by Wave @ T. Rowe Price. It will showcase employees, both men and women from around the globe, on a panel discussion about what they're doing to address or achieve Balance for Better in their personal lives and careers. Then there will be networking opportunities regionally to keep the conversation going.

What does Balance for Better mean to you?

We look at Balance for Better as raising awareness. When people hear "gender equity" they immediately think it's a women's issue. But we all have a part to play. Balance for Better is about increasing gender equity and having good representation at all levels. Long term it's about getting everyone to show up in a leading way. It's not a women's issue; it's a strategic business issue.

I look at Balance for Better in terms of how I can influence a real mindset change. I think of the people who stepped up and sponsored me or put me in situations where I could thrive; now I look for men and women I can mentor to pay that forward.

Why is gender balance such an important issue at T. Rowe Price?

People work at their best when they feel most comfortable in their work environment. From a business perspective, so many studies prove that gender diversity raises earnings. At the end of the day, what you get from being gender balanced is the best from the people who work for you, including better innovation and results.

In your 20 years at T. Rowe Price, how have you seen the firm change how it addresses gender inequity?

In a word, I would say: intention. For example, over the last year we've instituted unconscious bias training. Also, we've been looking at our interview and selection process and some of the biases, unconscious or not, that we might want to remove. Thirdly, we've been intentional about our talent mapping process. We've become more thoughtful about taking note of that pool and looking at whether we have good representation and diversity of capabilities in our up-and-coming talent. These things have already had an impact.

Work-life balance is such a hot topic right now for everyone, but particularly for women. How do you juggle both work and family commitments?

I look at what's most important to me right now meaning today, this month, or at this stage in my life. I try to approach it like groups of circles and ask myself, "What am I doing for myself, my family, my marriage, and my career?" At any given time I may be pulling on some of those more so than on others.

I've also always taken the approach that it's equally important to know what I am going to focus on as what I'm not. For example, right now I choose to be present for my kids' sports activities, but I give up on being active in PTA. It's a give and take. I also owe much of my success to my husband; we try to demonstrate to our kids what it looks like to have a shared home life. Lastly, I've always been grateful to work for a firm and to have leaders who support integrating life and career.