LAS VEGAS — In banking and consumer finance, the percentage of women representing the workforce in C-suite positions is 24%, compared with 54% of women employees in entry-level positions, Renee Horne, vice president of consumer lending experiences at USAA Federal Savings Bank, said during the Women in Auto Finance Luncheon at the Auto Finance Summit 2019.
“These numbers beg the question,” Horne said, “why is it that the number from entry level to C-suite drops by over half?”
As the industry continues to grow, so does the need to support the cultivation of female leaders in auto lending and leasing. “While there are many successful women in auto finance, the numbers show that overall as an industry — ladies and gentlemen — we have work to do,” Horne said.
In a room full of executives from banks, captives and exhibitors, Horne presented a call to action to change the narrative for women in the auto finance industry. Her call to action was broken up into four parts:
- Be your authentic self. “We are different, and that’s OK,” Horne said. “Everyday, walk into the C-suite or the boardroom and remind yourself to bring your authentic being every day.”
- Be willing to grow. “Strive for excellence,” she said. “Being willing to grow means being able to give feedback and receive it. You have to have thick skin,” she continued. “A lot of the benefits that distinguish highly successful business executives is their ability to take feedback.”
- Be a voice. “We have a role as women,” Horne explained. “We have a seat at the table, so bring the facts, bring the data, and speak up like any man in the room with you.” As for male colleagues, Horne had a call to action. “For the gentlemen in the room, my advice to you is to allow her to finish her thoughts and support her thoughts,” she said.
- Be a mentor and be a sponsor. “When you know the capabilities of an individual have not been properly represented you have to say: ‘Someone shouldn’t be penalized for not having enough ‘at bats’” she said. “We have to give her an opportunity to demonstrate her skills.”