DIVERSITY STORIES #7

I come from a multicultural background.

My mother being Colombian and my father Swiss. The past 12 years I have worked and lived in Hong Kong, where I joined an international top tier American bank in 2006. I was one of the 1st non-Asians in private
banking. I remember clearly adjusting to the mentality, culture and being very observant. I was valued for my Swiss banking education and my languages. The fact that I was hired to complement the team and was recognised for my traits and characteristics made me feel unique, for me that’s embracing diversity within a team. It was an extremely valuable experience and incredible personal growth. On my part I did my best to adapt culturally, build friendships in the workplace and integrate with the highest degree of respect towards new ideas.

We had a meeting with our team head, I questioned something and we started a brainstorming discussion. Leaving the meeting room, my colleagues told me to next time don’t ask anything, just agree, nod, like this the meeting will not take so long and then you do what you think is right. Here I noticed the difference in our European direct way of questioning and the Asian mindset of face value. We all must learn to adapt culturally and respect each person’s way of doing things. The team learned from me that it is ok to ask, I learned that we don’t ask or question in certain situations. Diversity means learning from each other as well.

In Asia I never had the feeling of not being perfect. Hong Kong is very diverse, international and a melting pot of cultures. Everyone is unique. The experience of living abroad has opened new horizons for my personality, creativity, innovative approach to certain tasks. I would think this is complementary and fosters energy to accept that everyone can be different, but when there is not enough diversity in a team and people are all very similar, it is hard to be different. It is important to remind ourselves that diversity isn’t always something we can measure or see. Diversity also includes people with differing educational backgrounds, personality types, cultural references, experiences, or physical abilities.

Here I would also like to highlight the importance of inclusion. This is when every single person in the community is valued, heard, respected, empowered and feels a true sense of belonging. This is beyond tolerance to celebrate and elevate every person in the room.
As a mother of three, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for the next generation of entrepreneurs. Their focus on sustainability, ESG and impact investing is admirable.
My future will be working with successful teams that represent diversity and work with passion to make a positive impactful difference. I believe that being a positive influence in others’ lives is something we should be conscious about every single day.
“I‘m a pessimist about probabilities, I’m an optimist about possibilities”
“A day spent without the sight or sound of beauty, the contemplation of mystery, or the search of truth is a poverty-stricken day; and a succession of such days is fatal to human life”.
– Lewis Mumford

2020 Covid19 has forced us all to reset. I’m very sad about what it has brought to the world, to all of us. The anxiety and uncertainty is a nightmare. We will get through this one day at a time.
“Focus on what matters – Eliminate the rest!”


VANESSA MÜNZHUBER

Age: 42
Nationality: Mother Colombian, Father Swiss
Role & Company: International Wealth Manager
If my life were a book, what would be its title? Invincible courage

Text: Vanessa Münzhuber   Fotos: Tomek Gola

 

Businessfrauen Schweiz im Portrait – zuerst erschienen im Business Magazin für Frauen – Ladies Drive No 52 (3.9.2020)
Die Business Sisterhood der Schweiz, Deutschland und Österreich. #BusinessSisterhood

Wirtschaftsfrauen, Leadership, Frauen im Top-Management, Community First, Women in Banking, Women in Finance