By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
Jamie Peretz is founder of 2MyCareer, a college to career advisory service which assists ambitious college students and recent graduates in realizing their careers goals. She’s also been a managing director at Korn Ferry International, the global leader in executive recruitment and talent consulting and has worked in executive positions in investment banking at Credit Suisse and JP Morgan.
Jamie has brought her wide swath of relevant experience to our series of interviews on the challenges women face while striving for their career objectives by taking some time to talk about some pertinent issues. She takes a thoughtful approach to the subject and starts with a historical perspective.
“I think that what’s missing a little bit from this debate is the fact that different industries historically have been favoured by men or women. A lot of what people are criticizing has to
do with the choices that women themselves are making,” she says. Peretz clarifies her point saying that while there are women who choose careers in sectors where there aren’t a lot of women, many women do not choose these sectors for their own reasons.
“It’s not as quite as impossible as depicted,” she says. “Women and men make choices based on their interests and schedules and mentors. I think what we’re seeing now which is interesting is that the Millennials have adopted some of the concerns that were previously seen as “female issues”.
She feels that this generation is actually taking the mantle and “leading the charge” by bringing issues like work/life balance and flextime to the forefront. When it comes to traditional benchmarks like performance reviews, she says that women looking to break into a male dominated industry should make finding a mentor a priority.
“While this is of course true for everybody,” she says, “I think that if you’re a woman and therefore possibly a minority in an institution, it’s even more important, and sometimes harder to find a mentor.” She says it may very well be a lack of mentorship that can result in disappointing performance reviews for women who haven’t been properly coached on how to succeed, what to expect and how to navigate these important milestones on the career path.
She stresses that today’s competitive business environment is significantly more demanding for everyone – including both women and men on upward career trajectories as well as those just starting the climb.
“Hopefully, you’ve been in a nurturing family and nurturing schools and you’ve been able to benefit and blossom as a result of that. Then you get to a work environment and business is business,” she says. “It is what it’s purported to be.”