Balance for Better: “Diversifying our business empowers us all”

Jacqui Brown talking
“Diversifying our business enriches and empowers us all,” says Jacqui Brown, Chief Operating Officer at Close Brothers Invoice Finance. She’s reflecting on the theme for International Women’s Day 2019.

International Women’s Day, an annual event held on the 8th of March, is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year, the theme is ‘Balance for Better’, and encourages everyone to strive for a gender-balanced world where economies, communities and businesses can thrive.

“A collaborative approach creates a successful team, and the business community is becoming more aware of that,” says Jacqui. “By moving towards equal representation, we gain more rounded insights into how we work and how we can improve. It enables us to be adaptable and develop in a way that provides for, recognises and excites our staff and customers.”

Close Brothers Invoice Finance is committed diversity and inclusion, something which is demonstrated by our continued recruitment, promotion and support of women in various roles. Jacqui has worked for the business for over 30 years, and in her role as a director, she champions these values.

“Having women in senior executive positions and in boardrooms has a positive impact on the way businesses work,” she says. “Men and women are equals, but we can be different in our approaches. When women join the debate, more holistic decisions can be made.

“It’s great to see an increase in women at management levels across all sectors, but more needs to be done to achieve gender parity. We must keep up the momentum for women everywhere in the world.”

Thinking about her own career path, Jacqui adds, “I take pride in working for Close Brothers and in what I have achieved during my career. For me, being asked to be a director was certainly a highlight!

“Lots has changed since I joined the modern merchant banking group, but I know there is further to go before we reach true gender-balance both in business and in society. It’s important to celebrate the significant progress we have made and the new opportunities that are open to women so that we can realise further advancements in the future.”

Jacqui ends the interview by advocating for other business women. Her advice to others who want to pursue a career in finance is simple but shrewd. “You have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. Believe in your own potential, but understand that you need to actively listen to others and that your learning will never end. Be adaptable, flexible and compassionate.”

“Don’t let others define what you can do,” she advises.