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Sex differences in leadership - Being a good leader is not a matter of gender

08/03/20222 mins. read

 

In her recent interview in Fazzacco, our Head of Marketing, Maria Meramveliotaki, talks about the topic of gender stereotypes in leadership and her experience directing the TopFX marketing team.

 

1. Hi Maria! Thanks for joining us at Fazzaco today! Please share what your experience has been so far as the Head of Marketing of TopFX.

Hello and thanks for having me. I joined TopFX about 4 ½ years ago and both the company and I have grown in so many different ways since then. At the time I entered, TopFX was primarily focused on institutional FX. In the last 2 years, however, we have expanded our offering to serve all clients. The marketing team has worked hard to establish new websites, create our retail brand identity and penetrate local markets. We aim to provide the best possible customer experience because this is how we retain existing clients, increase LCV and attract new prospects.

 

Due to the Forex industry being a mature one, it is hard to reinvent the wheel. Most marketing strategies being deployed have already been used before and the competition is harsh. However, you can always be exceptional at what you do. You don’t need to settle for mediocrity and you don’t need to let the financial industry restrictions kill your creativity.

All great projects begin from uncompromising minds.

 

2. What are the main challenges when expanding different markets as a Marketing Executive?

The industry, particularly outside Europe, is still very much reliant on Introducing Brokers and network building. Our challenge on the marketing front is to understand the cultural differences of each region and create offers that make us competitive in an already crowded market. This is why at TopFX, we focus on brand building for the particular local market and secondly on practical elements that optimise the client experience. Effective market penetration is a collaborative effort that’s why marketing can never stop in mere advertising; it has to be a holistic experience ranging from the way you speak to a certain audience to your onboarding process, transactions’ smoothness, etc.


3. In your opinion, what skills are the most important for women to stay competitive in a men-dominated region, such as the finance industry?

When you know what you are doing, it doesn’t matter if you are a woman in a male-dominated industry or a man in a female-dominated industry. Just know your objectives and implement strategic planning at every step of the journey. We can’t let stereotypes dictate our future.

 

4. What trends are you currently seeing in the forex industry?

I see the need for quality education by traders. At TopFX, we invest a lot in webinars, seminars and have recently launched our exclusive market analysis section. Traders’ demand for quality education has been steady over the last few years and today’s trader is much more informed than before.

 

We are constantly upping the game with better services and better customer experience. Actually, “good’’ is not good enough anymore, you have to be exceptional.

 

5. Which female is your role model that has always been inspiring you over the years?

I have no role models as such. I am primarily motivated by values and not necessarily individuals. So what inspires me is building a project from scratch and morphing it into something that adds value to the world. I am motivated by integrity, innovation and the achievement of goals I set.

 

6. How do you usually enjoy your time when not working?

I love spending time with my daughter and going out with friends. I also practice meditation and have recently started yoga.

 

7. What advice would you give to girls and young women who want to get into the finance industry?

My advice would be to know why they want to enter. Entering the industry because it sounds like a cool job to have isn’t a good enough incentive. What do you want to offer to this industry? How can you use your skills to provide value? The financial industry has on average higher salaries than other industries in Cyprus and we all need money but still, this shouldn’t be your only reason to consider it.


Also, my advice for women would be to never hold back because it is easier to do so. Girls are nurturing and receptive by nature. We are also taught to accommodate other people’s needs before our own. In a professional environment, go all in and claim what you deserve.

 

8. As a minority female leader, what are the major differences between men’s and women’s perspectives when making a strategic decision?

 

I believe that women have some very strong attributes like receptivity, empathy & good intuition which are part of their female nature. But we also possess grit, strength and tenacity. Compared to men, women leaders might be more risk-averse and need more evidence to support a strategic change.

However, being a good leader is not a matter of gender, nor is the ability to make tough decisions.

 

 

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