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Top Emerging Leaders in Finance


The world of finance is typically perceived as an environment where a ‘winner takes all’ attitude prevails, cultivating a specific image of investment banking- one that is fuelled by excess, only open to individuals from a select background.

It is important to steer the narrative away from this stereotype and showcase the emerging leaders who are making positive changes in the financial world.

It is useful to consider the disparities in socio-economic backgrounds of those entering the finance industry. As the Bridge Group reported in 2020, significant work needs to be done to improve socio-economic diversity at the senior levels of financial services.

For example, 51% of respondents at the senior level were from a higher socio-economic background. Moreover, 16% of those surveyed attended an independent school, more than double the national figure of 7.2%. Considering this, it is vital that we dismantle the perception that a career in finance is only open to a select group of individuals.

Below is a list of 5 emerging leaders in finance who are paving the way for change in industry.

Aline Santos – Unilever, EVP Global Marketing and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

Aline Santos is a champion of diversity and inclusion at Unilever EVP where her roles include global marketing and chief diversity officer for the organisation. One of her main aims is to remove stereotypes from Unilever’s communication.

During her time helming this diversity and inclusion initiative, representation of women at the managerial level has increased from 46% to 49%, demonstrating that nearly half of all managerial positions at Unilever are occupied by women.

More broadly, Santos is actively involved in the Women’s Network Forum, which focuses on driving a gender balance in UK corporations.

Moreover, she is also a mentor with The Mentoring Foundation on its FTSE Next Generation Women’s Leaders Programme, which helps companies, such as investment banks, develop their pool of applicants.

Steve Rosvold – CFO University, Founder

Steve Rosvold is passionate about championing the upcoming generation of financial leaders. He is so intent on helping CFO’s excel in their careers, he created CFO University. This is an online learning platform where users can learn through a variety of mediums.

By using a focused framework, the CFO University aims to accelerate its users’ careers as Chief Financial Officers and embolden them to be tomorrow’s leaders. Utilising the pillars of Accounting, Finance, Treasury and Leadership, students of CFO will be equipped with the resources to enhance their professional skills in the financial world.

To be a successful financial leader, Steve explains that ‘innovative and responsible financial leadership is critical to any successful business’.

Further to this point, he states that whether your goal is to ‘grow exponentially or achieve stable profitability’ this function needs to be approached with ‘intelligence, skill and unwavering commitment’.

Jasmine Head – ANZ, Corporate Advisory (M&A)

Turning to the younger generation, Jasmine Head offers a refreshing perspective on the financial industry.

A recent graduate of Edith Cowan University, where she studied International Business and Finance, Jasmine is aware of the rapidly changing nature of the world she has entered.

Perhaps what sets Jasmine apart from her more seasoned counterparts, is her consciousness that the future requires different skills. For example, skills traditionally not associated with the finance, such as emotional intelligence and relationship building, are at the forefront of Jasmine’s mind.

To put this vision into practice, Jasmine founded the academic society ECU Women in Business to focus on these developments on a wider level.

As a result of her efforts, Jasmine was named as one of the Top 100 Future Leaders of Australia.

Paresh Mistry – Rolabotic, Founder

Whilst Paresh’s background has been in finance where he has worked in organisations such as Grant Thornton and IBM, his current focus is his own business- Rolabotic.

Founded in 2016, they are a rapidly growing boutique who are disrupting the major consulting firms.

His aim is to change finance and accounting by using technology. Paresh seems to be making an impact where others have failed, demonstrating his aptitude for innovation. Whatever the future of finance may be, there is no doubt that technology will play an important part, which Paresh is at the forefront of.

Former clients have highly commended Paresh’s business skills. For example, he has been praised for his ‘innovative thinking and creativity’ and that he represents ‘a high value professional in a contemporary innovation driven business world’.

Dennis Owusu-Sem – Success Talks (Founder) & BMO Global Asset Management

Since graduating from the University of Bath with a degree in Economics in 2010, Dennis has been making waves in the financial world. He possesses strong financial credentials, including as an analyst for Goldman Sachs and his current position with BMO Global Asset Management.

What differentiates Dennis from his peers is his sustained activism within the financial industry. For example, in 2013 he established Success Talks, an organisation that creates interview content with successful individuals from around the world in addition to profiling some of the leading BAME individuals.

Success Talks have been featured in publications such as The Financial Times and have platformed speakers from financial organisations including Barclays, Goldman Sachs and Deloitte.

In 2020, Dennis was included in Forbes list of 25 Black British Business People to follow, solidifying his status as a trailblazer within the financial industry who is just getting started.

Marianne Lake – JP Morgan, Co-Head, Consumer and Community Banking

Whilst Marianne Lake is already an established figure within the investment banking world, the recent news that she has been elevated as a potential successor to Jamie Dimon, chief executive at JP Morgan, is a moment to celebrate.

Lake possesses a distinguished financial career, having served as JP Morgan’s CFO from 2013 to 2019, after which she was promoted to CEO of JP Morgan Consumer Lending in April 2019. In her role previous role as CFO, Lake was responsible for $2.5 trillion in assets, as well as being part of the organisation’s operating committee.

Most recently, Lake has been eyed as a potential successor to Dimon, leading the bank’s consumer operations alongside Jennifer Piepszak. This part of JP Morgan accounts for nearly 40% of the company’s profits.

Therefore, the decision to promote Lake as a co-leader to such an important arm of the business, indicates her stellar reputation.

Jennifer Piepszak – JP Morgan, Co-Head, Consumer and Community Banking

Along with her colleague Marianne Lake, Jennifer Piepszak is a prominent figure within the investment banking world. She has been with JP Morgan since 1994, possessing over 25 years of experience with one of the world’s major financing firms.

In 2019, Piepszak succeeded Lake in the role of Chief Financial Officer for the company, a move that has cemented her reputation within JP Morgan.

Prior to this, Piepszak spent seven years in the company’s Consumer & Community Banking division, which she now leads, and was also CEO of Chase Card Services. Before this, she was the CEO of Business Banking, which serves 2.5 million small businesses across the US.

Considering that very few women hold senior roles within banking and Wall Street, the emergence of Lake and Piepszak as future successors to current CEO Dimon, signals a major sea change for women in the finance industry.

Image Credits: Catherine Voges

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