Following 20+ years in International Finance, Christine Brown-Quinn, together with her business partner Jacqueline Frost, launched ‘Women in Business Superseries‘ in order to create a platform to share their strategies for getting ahead in demanding corporate environments. As a former Managing Director in Fixed Income, Christine is well versed in what it takes to forge a thriving career in highly pressurised, alpha environments. Through the Series, aspiring professional women discover the practical, hands-on strategies to fast track their careers – these are business strategies, albeit through a “female lens”.
In addition to her role as Managing Director at WiB Superseries, Christine is an accomplished international speaker and commentator on a range of issues relevant to the success of female professionals through blogs, articles, radio & tv shows such as BBC Sunday Live, Financial Times, London Evening Standard, Women in Banking & Finance Magazine and many others.
Christine is also a published author on work-life balance for professional women. Step Aside Super Woman is resonating with professional women across a wide range of age groups, sectors as well as continents.
Christine has an undergraduate degree in Foreign Languages from Georgetown University (Cum Laude) and an MBA in International Business from George Washington University (Beta Gamma Sigma scholar). She has also tutored for Georgetown University’s Graduate Program in International Management at Oxford University on managing diversity in the workplace.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and what you do currently
Like so many women in the City I wear – and have worn – many hats simultaneously – mother of 3, wife, carer of elderly parent, financial services professional and more recently entrepreneur. In the early 90’s I was recruited out of an MBA programme in the States by one of the Swiss banks to set up a sales/marketing business for one of their money market products in London. From there I jumped into business management roles, rising to COO, Managing Director of the fixed income group at one of the Japanese banks. (I’m now on year 20 of my 5 year plan to live in England!).
A few years ago, when I was turning 50, I had one of those light bulb moments where I realised my calling was to give back to the younger generation of women – what do I know now that I wish I had known many years earlier. So the first thing I did was write a book about my experience combining a high powered professional career with a full-on family life (“Step Aside Super Woman”). Then I networked like crazy to see how I could leverage my real-life experience to create a business with the goal to empower professional women to ‘go for it’ (whatever that ‘it’ ambition may be).
‘Women in Business Superseries’ came together after meeting my business partner, Jacqueline Frost, who shared the same vision to create a series of professional training events, especially online so we could make professional development accessible, quick and effective. And thanks to the webinar technology we are literally reaching women across the globe from China, Korea, India, Phillipines to UK/Europe and the Americas!
What has been your biggest challenge?
Realising that if I wanted to succeed in business, I would have to not only accept but EMBRACE that I can’t be perfect and do everything there is to do in both my personal and professional life. The trick is to choose the bits that are most important to me and which I enjoy and then ‘let go’ – either let others do things (even if they were different than my approach or maybe not as good if I had done it myself) or just ‘take it off the list’.
This realisation was like a ‘boulder being lifted from my shoulder’.
What’s been your greatest achievement personally?
Becoming Managing Director in banking has been one of my greatest professional achievements. I was the only female MD in the business (front office) and the only female member of the fixed income management team in the organisation I was working for.
If you weren’t doing what you do, what would you be doing?
Spending more time with my husband (playing tennis , hiking, or cycling), spending time with my sister-in-law in Charleston, and working for a charity which supports girls in the developing world.
Educating girls in the developing world is ‘the ticket’ out of poverty.
Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My mother and father. My dad was a tool & dye entrepreneur and set up his own business in his twenties from our garage, making it into a million dollar business. He was always going around the house saying “there is no such thing as security, only opportunity“. My mother was always my biggest fan and she herself was an incredible inspiration. Although she had suffered with Multiple Sclerosis for many years, she maintained a level of positivity and joie de vivre that has shaped me into the person I am today.
Obstacles are part of life, but they are there to make life interesting rather than to be “stop signs”.
What does the future hold for you?
Together with my business partner, I am looking to continue to grow the Women in Business Superseries internationally to make the phrase “gender diversity in business” obsolete! To solve this issue, there needs to be a three pronged approach – the individuals, the organisations, as well as public policy. My hope is that empowering women with the advice on how to work through the ‘sticking point’s in their career will give them the self belief and motivation to push their ambition to new heights.