Juin 25, 2024 in femmes en identité by DIACC

DIACC Women in Identity: Marli Lichtman

DIACC women in identity spotlights showcase outstanding DIACC member women in identity. If you are a DIACC member woman in identity and would like us to feature you in the spotlight, contact us!

Marli Lichtman is Managing Director and Head, Digital Strategy and Controls at BMO Financial Group, BMO.

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What has your career journey looked like?

Let me work backwards, starting with my current role as Head of Digital Strategy and Controls at BMO. In this role, I lead two teams accountable for: (1) Strategy: defining and executing BMO’s “Digital First” agenda and (2) Controls: working in partnership with the Financial Crimes Unit to build and enhance digital controls to protect our customers against fraud.

I initially joined BMO’s Corporate Strategy Team in 2013 and since then have worked in progressively senior roles across Finance, Risk, Transformation and Business Operations.

Before joining BMO, I was a consultant in Oliver Wyman’s Finance and Risk Practice and prior to that, I worked in wealth management and earned my CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) designation. My first job out of school was at a boutique investment advisory firm. I graduated from Ivey at Western University with an Honours Business Administration (HBA) degree.

When you were 20 years old, did you visualize a dream job and if so, why?

I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I was 20! I focused the early days of my career on finding opportunities where I could be challenged, learn as much as possible, maintain optionality to transition to other industries or career paths, and work with great people who would champion my career.

Have you encountered significant barriers in your career as a woman in leadership, and if so, what were they?

I have experienced many of the usual challenges you hear about concerning women in the workplace. However, my biggest barrier has been getting into my own head and thinking that I don’t deserve the positions I’ve been given (I mean, earned 😊). Through executive coaching, mentors, sponsors, and simply the experience of failing and rebounding, I’ve been able to overcome this (although I would be lying if I said I don’t experience imposter syndrome from time to time!).

How do you balance work and life responsibilities?

It’s a constant juggling act, but I try to focus on 5 things:

  1. Regular calendar reviews to “optimize” my time (e.g., which calls can I take from the car on my way to / from the office?)
  2. Learning to say “no” and setting clear boundaries (applies to both work and personal life).
  3. Finding time for self-care.
  4. Working as a team with my partner who is also balancing a demanding schedule.
  5. Living my values and knowing what’s important in life.

How can more women be encouraged to pursue digital trust and identity careers?

We need to start with education – What is Digital ID? What skillsets do you need to enter the space? Why is diversity so important? Who are female trailblazers in the space, and what has their career path looked like? Early exposure, encouragement, and mentorship are key to increasing female representation in this space.

What are some strategies you have learned to help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

Build meaningful relationships. Earn the trust of your colleagues. Network within and outside of your industry. Ensure you have a mentor and a sponsor at your organization. Most importantly, stay true to yourself.

What will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?

While women have made considerable progress over the past decade, there is still more work to do. The next generation will continue to face the same challenges (e.g., gender bias, pay inequality, balancing personal life) but will benefit from increased female representation and sponsorship at Senior levels.

What advice would you give to young women entering the field?

Be confident – you are in the field for a reason! Trust your instincts, and don’t be too hard on yourself.