UWeconomics - Page 10

Women in Capital Markets

She began by stating “It’s what I learned as an economist that gave me all of the analytical experiences to provide me the best jobs in my career”. Kathleen has worked 25 years in capital markets and she expresses it as an adventure that was not at all “smooth sailing.” In the first seven years of her career, Kathleen and her husband faced five severances and a company going bankrupt. Attending the University of Waterloo, her first co-op job was at the Ontario Ministry of Treasury and Economics. Only after starting her work did she realized it was not what she wanted to do, so she decided to work for consumer gas in her second co-op placement. At this company she met an amazing mentor Bob who has helped her throughout her life, as well as pushing her to pursue a master’s degree. The Economics MA program at the University of Waterloo allowed Kathleen to explore the opportunities in economics, it was also the place where she met her husband Richard Wylie, who also has a successful career in the financial service industry.

Before she graduated, Kathleen received job offers and chose to work at the WEFA Group (Wharton Econometric Forecasting Associates, Inc.). This is where she began her journey of job changes, promotions and opportunities, along with a handful of severances and bad experiences. She talked about one instance where Bob had to defend her from an associate who had made inappropriate remarks towards her during a social event. This was unfortunately not the only gender discrimination she encountered in her career. One of her supervisors asked her to hire a nanny while threatening her job. Another company treated her differently when she was pregnant and, while she was on maternity leave, they hired another person who began to replace her position. She had personally experienced people calling strong men “leaders” but referring to strong women in much less respectful terms. Through all of these adversities, Kathleen remained strong, refusing to back down to people who tried to take advantage of her and resourced legal council to settle big decisions.


Alex Lin

Co-President, UW Economics Society

This month the University of Waterloo’s Economics Department invited alumnus Kathleen Wylie to present a talk on “Life after Waterloo Economics – The Ups and Downs of a Woman’s Career in Capital.” With a BA and MA in Economics from Waterloo, Kathleen is the Head of Canadian Equity Research, Investment Division at Russell Investments. Listening to her speak, you realize the impressive career she has lead, working in a variety of roles in the financial service industry. Searching her name on the web will list many of her achievements, however, only through listening and watching her lead the audience through her life do you realize the degree of her passion for her career. She allows you to see and understand the adversities she has overcome to become who she is today.