Press Release

October 16, 2019


Sub-Committee of Governor’s Council on Women and Girls will be Co-Led by Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa and DFS Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell

Will Provide Expertise on Ways to Improve the Representation and Advancement of Women, Including Women of Color, in Financial Services Leadership Roles

During National Business Women's Week, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the formation of the state’s first-ever women’s committee to address the representation and advancement of women in the financial services industry and to identify the hurdles and obstacles to increasing the number of women in leadership roles, including promoting diverse women. The committee will serve as a sub-committee of Governor Cuomo’s Council on Women and Girls, and will be co-chaired by Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa and Financial Services Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell.

“This committee will help increase the representation and advancement of women in the financial services industry by finding new and innovative ways to break down barriers to success for women,” Governor Cuomo said. “New York is proud to be the first state to establish a committee solely dedicated to boosting representation of women in financial leadership positions, and we will continue to create an environment that champions and supports women now and in the future.”

“Women represent a paltry 20 percent of C-suite positions in the financial services industry and New York has an obligation as the financial capital of the world to ensure the executive level managers of these companies reflect the Empire State’s greatest value – diversity,” said Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, who chairs the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls. “This first-of-its-kind committee is comprised of some of the most successful female leaders in business and I’m confident that with their help we will come up with innovative solutions that help change this unacceptable status quo and boost representation to the benefit of the financial services industry and to all New Yorkers.”  

Department of Financial Services Superintendent Linda A. Lacewell said, “Companies that have more women leaders are more profitable, have better understanding of their customers, and create more value. Simply put, when women advance, we all advance. This demonstrates the importance of helping women, including women of color, achieve parity with their male counterparts in the financial services industry.”

While women are nearly equally represented among banking regulators, just 12 U.S. state insurance regulators in the United States are women. In the financial services industry, women hold just 19% of C-suite positions, despite representing roughly half of entry-level positions, according to a 2018 McKinsey study. With each level higher, there are disproportionately fewer women in leadership roles. The gap among women of color is even larger.

Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the Department of Financial Services and Governor’s Council on Women and Girls has already worked to develop initiatives and policies that support the advancement of women and ensure their access to critical services.

DFS and the Governor’s Council on Women and Girls worked to pass and enact New York’s Paid Family Leave program, the strongest in the nation.  Employees may take up to 10 weeks of paid leave to bond with a new child, care for a loved one with a serious health condition or help relieve family pressures when a loved one is called to active military service abroad. When the policy is fully phased-in in 2021, the number will go up from 10 to 12 weeks of paid time off.

Other advancements include:

  • Providing a clear reminder to health insurers that they must provide comprehensive lactation support services to new mothers (2019).

  • Reviewing ways to incorporate insurance coverage for IVF into the existing infertility coverage mandate (2018).

  • Requiring that all health insurance policies issued in the State include coverage for maternal depression screening and other related services.

Named to the committee are the following women executives hailing from the banking, insurance, regulatory and financial innovation industries, as well as consumer groups:

  • Linda A. Lacewell (Co-chair), Superintendent of the New York State Department of Financial Services

  • Melissa DeRosa (Co-chair), Secretary to the Governor, Chair of Governor’s Council on Women and Girls

  • Sheila Bair, Director, The Volcker Alliance

  • Wendy Cai- Lee, CEO & President, Piermont Bank 

  • Stephanie Cohen, Chief Strategy Officer, Goldman Sachs

  • Shirin Emami, Executive Deputy Superintendent of Banking, New York State Department of Financial Services

  • Wendy Erdly, Chief of Staff, New York Department of Financial Services

  • Laura Evangelista, Executive Deputy Superintendent of Insurance, New York State Department of Financial Services

  • Maria Filipakis, Partner, The Topside Group

  • Beth Finkel, New York State Director, AARP

  • Rachel Haot, Executive Director, Transit Innovation Partnership

  • Karen Ignagni, CEO, EmblemHealth

  • Andrea Jung, President & CEO, Grameen America

  • Katherine Lemire, Executive Deputy Superintendent of the Consumer Protection and Financial Enforcement Division, New York State Department of Financial Services

  • Deanna Mulligan, CEO, Guardian Life Insurance

  • Racquel Oden, Managing Director, Northeast Division, JPMorgan Chase

  • Donna Redel, Professor, Fordham Law School

  • Marta L. Tellado, President & CEO, Consumer Reports

  • Patricia Wang, CEO, HealthFirst

  • Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO, Partnership for New York City 

The New York State Council on Women and Girls, established by Governor Cuomo in 2017, provides a coordinated State response to issues that particularly impact the lives of women and girls, focusing on nine areas of impact: Education, Economic Opportunity, Workforce Equity, Leadership, Health Care, Child Care, Safety, STEM and Intersectionality.