The Beqaj Interview

posted April 8th, 2011 by Janet Graham - Leave a Comment

This is the fourth in a series of posts I will publish based on an interview I did with Jim Beqaj to gain his perspective on the progress of women in the financial services industry. Jim is a respected veteran of the financial services industry and author of the recently published “How To Hire The Perfect Employer” which I reviewed in a previous post. (Check out my review; I loved his book!!)


I asked Jim whether he saw himself as a mentor to both men and women and, if so, how his mentoring relationships developed. He said:


I think there’s no question that I see myself as a mentor as there are tons of people all over the street that have worked for me over 25 or 30 years in the industry, who I spent a lot of time with, figuring out how they worked, how they’re wired, how to improve them, how to help them, how to make them understand.  I wish somebody had done the same for me. Well, one person did it for me but unfortunately he ended up leaving the firm.  His name was Peter Campbell.  He did the same for me. I did it for lots of people and I was very blessed because I had a lot of outstanding women come my way to work for me and I was able to help them, mold them, shape them, promote them.  All kinds of different people, all kinds of really talented thoroughbreds that just needed some help and guidance and sometimes a little kick in the pants or a shoulder to cry on and I just kept pushing them forward.”


“I was very blessed.  I had these thoroughbreds and they just needed feeding and training and developing.  I mean one of them ran Global Sales and one of them ended up winning the Bond Trader of the Year Award in New York. If you ask most people about me they’d say Jim’s a pretty chauvinistic guy and they wouldn’t see me as sort of a liberal-minded individual and I’m probably not.  I am probably fairly chauvinistic but, you know, I ran a business and I approached it from a business perspective and the business perspective was that I hired some pretty talented women and men and they could run.  They were good and I fed them and I gave them the rope and I let them go and when they needed coaching and advising and a little push, you know, I gave it to them. I never saw the women differently in terms of compensation or things like that.  They were good.  I was almost gender neutral but the women were just good. They were really good at what they did, and the other thing about them is they listened more, right, and they learned like sponges whereas the rock heads, you had to hit them over the head with a bat about 20 times just to get them to understand what you were saying and I think that’s partially ego.  I think that’s partially f–k you, I know what I’m doing, I don’t need you to tell me what to do. I think a lot of that’s gone in the industry to tell you the truth based on everybody I talk to, not just for women but for men too. I know given my own coaching practice, the number of people I coach, that the stuff I do should be done internally, right, but people don’t know how, they’ve never done it.  When we grew up in the business, we had someone who looked out for us and reached out and said, hey, slap, slap, slap, I’m going to teach you how not to make a fool of yourself when you’re eating soup type of thing. Just come with me and watch how I am with the clients and stuff like that.”


What Strikes Me?


Women listen more; they are like sponges


A lot of coaching takes place outside of organizations because people inside firms don’t know how to do it, they have never done it


Sometimes people simply need some guidance or help, a kick in the pants or a shoulder to cry on; it’s not complicated


Ego can impact our ability to hear advice when it is being offered


What Strikes You?

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