To mark International Women’s Day, SAP’s Australia and New Zealand CFO, Gina McNamara, spoke with FutureCFO magazine about how to best support the next generation of female finance leaders

At SAP, we have an internal mentoring group for females working in finance called Future Female Leaders, providing employees with an opportunity to be mentored by other finance professionals from offices around the world.

It’s an opt-in program with staff electing to be a mentor, mentee or both, and it aims to provide women in the group with networking opportunities, advice and tools to help professional development.

Making use of mentoring

The program works by enabling staff to elect what type of mentor they are looking for — for instance a manager or CFO — who meets with them at minimum once a quarter. Mentors also facilitate broader networking opportunities by connecting everyone in the group with other members each month.

I’m participating in the program as both a mentee under the guidance SAP’s CFO for Middle East and Europe, and as a mentor for SAP’s Turkey CFO, and SAP’s Head of Commercial, South Africa.

As a personal initiative, I also started a network for female CFOs, called Women CFOs Roundtable, in partnership with Ernest and Young (EY) as a place where women can discuss ideas, challenges, and seek advice for both their personal and professional lives.

The idea was born following a conversation I had with a fellow CFO who was having difficulties within her own organisation and was seeking advice to help overcome hurdles with the executive leadership team.

Female finance network

This conversation made me realise that female CFOs often don’t have the same opportunities to network with others, share ideas and resolve issues due to the often-busy lives they lead outside of work whether that be taking care of children or caring for older relatives.

I was inspired to create a network specific for women that would suit their schedules and provide a safe environment where we can discuss a range of different challenges — from how to conduct a capital raise to developing purpose-led strategies.

To date, we have about ten women who regularly join our catchups, which have since moved online due to COVID-19. We also connect via a WhatsApp group which is often easier for those who have other commitments outside of work.

To read the full article, visit futurecfo.net: Female finance leaders: These are the practical ways to empower women

To read about SAP’s Diversity and Inclusion policies, visit the SAP Equality for All homepage.