Women in Finance seminar

Date & timeWednesday, 4 November 9:00am - 10:00am
CostFree of charge
Booking closing date Monday, 2 November 5:00pm
Event type Panel discussion

This November we welcome five Trinity Hall alumnae from within the financial sector who will join us for a Women in Finance breakfast panel discussion: ‘Coronavirus: The end of the glass ceiling?’.

With the appointment of the first female CEO of a Wall Street Bank, is the future looking brighter for women in finance or is the pandemic going to set back progress? Our expert panellists will examine progression of women in finance against the backdrop of the current challenges represented by Coronavirus. They will contribute their own experiences working in the field whilst also sharing their thoughts as to what steps can be taken to ensure the progress made over the last 30 years is not erased.

The discussion will take place via Zoom at 9am (GMT) on Wednesday 4 November and will last approximately one hour. We are keen to hear your views and there will be an opportunity for Q&A at the end.

There is no charge to attend however booking is required.


Coronavirus: The end of the glass ceiling?

Themes for discussion include:

  • How is the pandemic going to affect progress? Are women going to be the beneficiaries or the losers and is this an inflection point for women in finance?
  • The Fawcett Society believes changes in working practice may result in men returning to the office and women continuing to work from home. Is this an advantage or the opposite, resulting in women becoming less visible?
  • Many have stated that female-led countries have been steered through this crisis more effectively than male-led countries. What does this tell us about female leadership?
  • How can we use the COVID crisis to build back better and improve the number of women working in finance and getting to top positions of decision making?
  • How can younger female employees make their voices heard and what realistic expectations should they have in the ‘new normal’?
  • The IMF has stated that 30 years of gain could be erased as the recession deepens and the gender gap widens. The Government has suspended enforcement of the deadlines for gender pay gap reporting this year. What practical recommendations within financial institutions would be useful to ensure future greater gender balance?


Katherine Ashdown (2011), Managing Director Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Katherine is a Managing Director in the Wholesale Credit Product Strategy Group for Bank of America. She first joined the Bank as a teller while a student at UCLA. After graduating she went on to law school and began her legal career with Morrison & Foerster. After moving to USL Capital, a member of the Ford Financial Services Group, Katherine rejoined Bank of America when it purchased a portfolio of assets from USL Capital. In 2003 Katherine relocated to London to join the Bank’s Legal Department with responsibility for European Mergers and Acquisitions. In 2005 she left the Bank to set up a consulting firm to help large corporations and law firms retain and promote their senior women. Katherine was recruited back to the Bank in 2011 to lead the asset finance business expansion across EMEA and APAC and in 2019 she took on her current role. She is a mother of two and grandmother of three.

Sarah Bates (1977), Chair, John Lewis Partnership Trust for Pensions, Polar Capital Technology Trust and The Diversity Project Charity
Sarah is a Mancunian and arrived at Trinity Hall in 1977 (the first year of female undergraduates). Part 1 Philosophy, Part 2 Law. She started as a research analyst (food retailing, of course) at a firm of stockbrokers in 1980 and moved to investment management in 1982. She did an MBA (part time, 3 years, at the LBS) from 1982-4, specialising in investment and finance. She became a fund manager, head of UK equities and joint Chief Investment Officer at Invesco in the UK. After returning from maternity leave in 1994, she switched to business management and became head of specialist funds, then CEO of Invesco’s institutional business in the UK, leaving in 2003. Since then she’s followed a more diversified path, as an advisor, non-executive director, investment committee and Chair of organisations ranging from a small youth charity to a FTSE 100 company. She is currently Chair of the John Lewis Partnership Pension Scheme, Polar Capital Technology Trust, a mentor for Chairmen Mentors International, a non-executive director of the Worldwide Healthcare Trust and a member of the investment committees of the USS and the BBC pension scheme. She is a co-Founder of the Diversity Project and Chair of The Diversity Project Charity. She is a fellow of CFA UK and an Honorary Fellow of Trinity Hall (!).

Nell Hutton (1998), First female partner of Goldman Sachs in Australia, now at Westpac
Nell has over 22 years experience in financial markets and was the first female partner of Goldman Sachs in Australia. She was recently appointed as the General Manager of Financial Markets at Westpac Institutional Bank. Previously, Nell was head of the Global Markets franchise for Goldman Sachs, and a member of the Goldman Sachs Operating Committee for Australia and New Zealand. She joined Goldman Sachs in 1999 in the Securities Division in London. She relocated to Australia in 2006 as co-head of Derivative and Superannuation Strategies. In 2011, Nell became head of the Corporate Advisory Solutions team in Australia and New Zealand. In 2014, she became head of Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities Sales in Australia and New Zealand. Nell was named managing director in 2007 and partner in 2018.

Nell earned an MPhil in Finance and Economics at Cambridge University, a BCom (First Class Honours) in Econometrics at the University of Sydney and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Nell lives in Sydney with her husband and three children.

Elizabeth Stapleton (2008), CFA, Associate at PGIM Fixed Income*
Elizabeth studied MML at Trinity Hall from 2008 to 2012 and spent a year abroad in Hamburg as part of her course. She also holds an MSc in Management from Imperial Business School. She undertook a couple of internships in the Accounting / Finance sector earlier on in her career at KPMG & Black River Asset Management, respectively. In 2014 Elizabeth joined PGIM Fixed Income as a graduate in their High Yield & Bank Loan Credit Research team. She has now been at PGIM for just over 6 years. She began by covering a range of sectors alongside 2 senior analysts & has since taken over coverage of the Packaging / Food / Leisure sectors. In 2019, she took part in the 30% Club mentoring programme whose global mission is to reach at least 30% female representation on Boards / C-Suites.

*The Global Fixed Income Business of Prudential Financial, Inc.
Prudential Financial, Inc. of the United States is not affiliated in any manner with Prudential plc, incorporated in the United Kingdom, or with Prudential Assurance Company, a subsidiary of M&G plc, incorporated in the United Kingdom.

Chair and Facilitator: Gillian Karran-Cumberlege (1982), Head of Board Practice, Fidelio Partners
Gillian leads Fidelio Partners Board Practice, supporting Chairmen and CEOs in building effective Boards and Executive leadership teams which drive value for stakeholders and shareholders. In this context Gillian is actively engaged in promoting greater Board effectiveness through increased diversity. Fidelio is accredited by the Hampton-Alexander Review for its contribution to increasing gender diversity on Boards and leadership teams ‘Beyond FTSE350’. An internationally recognised thought leader on ESG, Gillian is a Board and Steering Committee Member of Chapter Zero, which supports Board Directors to address climate change on the Board Agenda. Gillian is also an advisory Board Member of the German British Forum. Previously Gillian served as an Independent Board Member of Jaguar Land Rover India and a Member of the Harvard Business School Alumni Board (2015-2018). Prior to founding Fidelio Gillian held senior executive roles within some of Europe’s leading corporates; this included Global Head of Investor Relations/Capital Market Communications for Volkswagen AG (2000 – 2007) sitting on the Group Governance and Marketing Committees – the most senior female executive globally. Previously Gillian had enjoyed a highly successful career in banking for example heading Group Investor Relations for UBS (1998- 2000). She started her career in Banking Supervision with the Bank of England.

Gillian has an MA in History from Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and attended the Harvard General Management Programme.

How to register

Online: Online registration is available – please click here.

By email: Contact alumnioffice@trinhall.cam.ac.uk with your name and how you are affiliated with the College. If you are an alumnus/alumna of the College, please include your matriculation year.

Please register no later than 5pm (GMT) on Monday 2 November.

You will receive the joining instructions by 5pm (GMT) on Tuesday 3 November which will include the link to Zoom. If you have not received the link by this date and time, please check your spam box before contacting alumnioffice@trinhall.cam.ac.uk.


If you have any queries, please contact Emma Grieveson on alumnioffice@trinhall.cam.ac.uk.