On Wednesday morning, over 120 guests gathered at Coral Gables Museum to listen to select female executives discuss their careers in finance. The panel, moderated by Nina Gordon of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, featured:


Kim Griffin-Hunter, Managing Partner, Miami/South Florida, Deloitte

Ana Menendez, Chief Financial Officer, Watsco

Mary Usategui, Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer, Professional Bank and,

Monica Vicente, Vice President of Corporate Finance, Del Monte Fresh Produce Company


women in finance

Pictured from left to right: Monica Vicente, Kim Griffin-Hunter, Ana Mendez, Mary Usategui


The panel kicked off with a discussion of the gender pay gap. In finance, there is a 32 percent gap in earnings between women and men. What are the solutions? “Part of it is on the companies to create systems to ensure parity,” said Griffin-Hunter, “and part of it is women needing to speak up.”  Deliotte no longer asks for prior salary in order to address potential gender gap. Usategui also spoke in favor of women advocating for themselves: “Come to your bosses with facts, show them what your wages should be and show them why you deserve your desired salary.”

Women make up 60 percent of the finance industry, yet only 14 percent of executive and board positions are held by women. “The board room issue is about the network, members are brought on by their friends, “ said Griffin-Hunter, “We’ve got to break through and break the glass ceilings in the boardroom.” The percentage will change as women continue to rise in the ranks in the industry, suggested Usategui. “I think women bring a very unique perspective to boards and all board of directors should consider that because it’s beneficial to the companies,” she said. For the women with goals of becoming a CEO with a finance background, the panelists emphasized that it was possible – with hard work and the right strategy. “You have to make your destiny happen,” said Vicente, “You can’t be everything to everybody, just keep focused on your long-term goals.” Griffin-Hunter echoed her sentiments: “Be intentional. If you’re goal is to be CEO, you need to build a portfolio.”

The women also shared their approach to work-life balance.  “You have to remember, your employer didn’t hire you to accommodate your personal life,” said Menendez, who has had to cancel vacation plans on multiple occasions. For the mothers trying to find balance between their careers and their children, Vicente’s advice was to be practical: “Kids are resilient, allow them to be independent.”  

“It’s an integrated life, not a work life balance,” said Griffin-Hunter. Her advice? “Outsource everything you can, but the kids.”

This panel, sponsored by Auxis, is part of the Chamber’s mission to provide valuable programming to the local business community. To learn more about the Banking and Financial Services committee, visit http://www.miamichamber.com/committees/industry-growth/banking-financial-services

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