Search Icon
Not yet a member?   Find out more ->
Member Icon Already a member?

Q&A with Aaiza Ali and Senan Kiran

Q&A with Aaiza Ali and Senan Kiran:
ELFA D&I Committee Co-Chairs

Q. Why was the D&I Committee set up?

Aaiza Ali: This is a real passion of mine and from the early days of ELFA I wanted to do something to address what was, back then, a real lack of diversity in the leveraged finance industry. Sabrina was on the same page and together we set out to create best practice and collaborate with other trade bodies to identify how best to promote D&I in our industry. Hence the ELFA D&I Committee was formed in 2020. I was so fortunate to be joined by Senan as Co-Chair a year later - we are both proud of the committee’s achievements so far and the many individuals it has helped.

Q. Tell us about the ELFA Career Day and the other initiatives designed to help undergrads

Senan Kiran: Our focus is supporting undergraduates from non-target universities, to look beyond the typical universities from which financial services recruit and attract different types of people with the right skills and talent who maybe haven’t even considered a career in finance. The Career Day, now in its third year, has been very successful at attracting individuals like Michael and Stephanie (read their stories below) by introducing them to finance as a career option and providing senior mentorship on interview techniques and CV presentation to access employment. We all know that good interview technique makes a huge difference in landing a first job.

Q. How can ELFA members get involved in D&I?

Senan Kiran: Individuals who care about D&I can help mentor undergrads on ELFA’s panels, working alongside HR professionals to share their advice to young people. We would hugely appreciate more involvement from individual members and frankly, we need you.

And for member firms, we ask you to share or create internships to widen access for successful candidates coming through the ELFA Career Day.

A Conversation about Race in Finance was our best attended event for members and serves as a great introduction to our work as does this ELFA report on D&I post pandemic.

Q. What’s next for the D&I Committee?

Aaiza Ali We are handing over the reins to new Co-Chairs Anita Isichei and Irem Sukan to take things forward. It’s worth remembering that when we set up the committee, diversity was not a priority in the workplace, fortunately COVID was a catalyst for D&I and companies now understand the many benefits of nurturing a diversity of talent to survive and thrive in today’s business environment. I think D&I is becoming a critical driver of business success and this presents exciting opportunities for the new Co-Chairs.