By Melanie Galea, Bid Manager (APAC), Bravura

My career journey has been a fascinating evolution. In the early stages, I didn’t have a clearly defined vision for my career: rather, it felt like I stumbled upon the financial services sector, or perhaps, it chose me.

Over the span of 15 years, I’ve immersed myself in various roles within financial services, each one leading to the next or preparing me for what lay ahead. Opportunities to grow, learn and progress have been intentional, aligning each stage of my career with my values and career goals with that stage of my life. Over this time, the industry has taught me resilience, adaptability, and commitment to personal and professional advancement.

Joining Bravura

I started at Bravura a little over a year and a half ago, and it was an unexpected and refreshing chapter in my professional life. As the Bid Manager, I’ve found myself deep in a role that not only provides ample opportunities for learning but also challenges me in ways I hadn’t anticipated. Bid management has offered a diverse range of responsibilities that capitalise on my existing project management skills while allowing me to delve into new areas. The role involves overseeing the intricate process of bid submissions, as well as people management and fostering a collaborate environment within a team.

What sets Bravura Solutions apart is not just the level of talent across various departments, but also the positive culture that permeates the workplace – driven from the top down. It’s a place where innovation is encouraged, and where each team member is empowered to contribute their unique strengths, creating a synergistic environment that continually motivates and inspires.

What does it mean to be a Bid Manager at Bravura?

The bid manager role generally means you are the ultimate multi-tasker, juggling the intricacies of bidding for contracts.

I am responsible for overseeing the process of preparing, managing, and submitting bids / proposals in response to either RFIs, RFPs or other procurement opportunities. The role requires me to lead and coordinate all aspects of the bid process to ensure that the bid meets the requirements and objectives of the client and provides us with the best chances of winning the contract. I find myself at the intersection of strategy, coordination, and execution.

To be the Bid Manager at Bravura in APAC means no two days are ever alike, which is something I truly enjoy. It allows me to embrace new challenges and experiences. This role not only involves managing bids but also provides me with the chance to collaborate with various teams and contribute to different facets of the business. From engaging in commercial discussions and coordinating contract activities to supporting the sales operations, I find myself in a multifaceted role that demands versatility and adaptability.

Why should the financial services industry celebrate International Women’s Day?

My journey, while rich with opportunities, has also presented unique challenges, particularly as a young female entering an industry traditionally dominated by men. One of the notable hurdles has been the gender disparity that prevails within the sector. Initially, I found myself contending with the lack of opportunities for mentorship, which aid career progression.

Attending seminars and conferences early in my career often highlighted the stark reality of a predominate male audience, creating an environment where women were notably underrepresented. This experience brought a sense of isolation, emphasising the importance of fostering inclusivity within the professional space.

Amidst these challenges, I’ve witnessed a transformative shift over the years. While there was initially a lack of opportunities for mentorship, especially from female leaders, I have seen a positive evolution in the industry. I discovered a supportive community of remarkable women who became mentors, helping me shape and advance my career.

On this International Women’s Day, it is heartening to reflect not only on the challenges overcome but also on the positive transformations within the industry that allow women to thrive, support one another, and collectively shape a more inclusive future.

Encouraging more women into the world of financial services

Many women before us have paved the way, and there is a growing community of support within the industry. To young females embarking on a career in the financial services industry, I offer a few pieces of advice gathered from my own journey:

  1. Embrace your uniqueness.
  2. Continuously learn.
  3. Build a network.
  4. Develop resilience.
  5. Advocate yourself.
  6. Support other women.
  7. Seek mentorship.
  8. Stay authentic.
  9. Pursue leadership opportunities.
  10. Collaborate achievements.

Ultimately, by staying resilient, continuously learning, and supporting one another, we can collectively contribute to a more inclusive and diverse future for the industry.

How can financial services become more open and inclusive for all?

The financial services industry, much like other sectors, is navigating the evolving landscape of diversity and inclusion. It has made noteworthy strides in recent years to inspire inclusion, recognising the importance of diversity for fostering innovation, improving decision-making, and enhancing overall business performance. This has been demonstrated with positive efforts in diversity and inclusion programs, gender diversity initiatives, and mentorship programs – showcasing a commitment to fostering an inclusive workplace.

Equal pay assessments and transparent reporting on gender pay data underscore efforts to rectify pay gaps and ensure fairness. Recruitment practices have seen improvements, incorporating blind processes to reduce biases.

Despite these positive strides, there remains a need for concerted efforts to inspire and fully embrace inclusion within the industry. Particularly to enhance diversity at leadership levels, address persistent challenges relating to gender disparities, refine recruitment practices further, and ensure fair treatment for everyone – regardless of gender.

Inspiring inclusion and addressing gender disparities in the APAC market requires a multifaceted approach. By championing diversity, implementing inclusive policies, and fostering a culture of respect and equality, the industry can bridge existing gaps and position itself as a beacon for inclusive practices within the global financial landscape. The commitment to inclusivity is not just a strategic imperative, but it is a moral obligation to ensure that every individual has equal access to opportunities and is treated with dignity and respect.

International Women’s Day serves as a reminder of the progress we’ve made and the work that remains. It’s an opportunity to acknowledge the strength derived from overcoming these challenges, as well as to champion the ongoing efforts toward gender equality within the financial services industry and beyond.

As we celebrate the day, it is my hope that sharing these experiences contributes to the collective conversation, fostering awareness, understanding, and support for women navigating similar paths.

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