Setting goals

Running Dry to change the world

04 December 2019

Money & Life team

Money & Life contributors draw on their diverse range of experience to present you with insights and guidance that will help you manage your financial wellbeing, achieve your lifestyle goals and plan for your financial future.

Mina Guli is turning the spotlight onto water conservation, one marathon at a time.

By her own admission, Mina Guli is not a runner. But driven by a cause she is truly passionate about – water – or rather, the rapid rate at which the planet is running out of fresh water – Mina decided to strap on the joggers and begin running marathons to raise awareness of this issue.

Mina was the inspirational speaker at the Women in Wealth Breakfast at the 2019 FPA Professionals Congress who, amongst her many accomplishments, has run seven deserts, across seven continents in seven weeks, as well as chalking up 40 marathons in 40 days, and falling short of completing 100 marathons in 100 days due to breaking her femur.

But all this has not been in vain, as Mina is succeeding in raising global awareness of the use of water and changing weather patterns.

“I started ‘Running Dry’ by undertaking 100 marathons in 100 days to ignite a global conversation about saving water and changing the way we use, consume and think about water,” Mina said.

“Ninety-five per cent of the water we use every day is invisible,” she said. “For example, the cotton suit you are wearing required 14,763 litres to make or your cotton shirt required 3,690 litres. There is a cost in water with almost everything we use or consume.”

Mina told attendees at the breakfast that she was the architect of her own destiny, and that destiny was water conservation.

“The next generation shouldn’t grow up in a world with no or limited access to fresh water. That’s why I’m raising awareness about this important issue,” Mina said. “Individually, we can make an impact but together, we can change the world.”

FEW Good Men

And part of changing that world is FEW Good Men. This is an initiative of Financial Executive Women, where prominent men in the financial services sector are working with women to mentor, inspire and champion the role of women in the workplace.

As part of the Women in Wealth Breakfast, Andrew Walsh (CEO, Iress), Sean West (Executive Director, Macquarie) and Tim Steele (General Manager, NAB Financial Planning) shared their insights on how they were supporting women in the workplace.

“Firstly, you need to be genuine with women and ensure they have a chance to voice their opinion,” Andrew said. “You also have to be sensitive to practical workplace flexibility, which includes working from home and parental leave.”

Tim accepted there was so much more that could be done for women, including pay parity for both women and men, and appointing women to roles when they might not feel confident to take them on.

The profession needs to encourage women and provide them with the support to take on challenges, particularly when they have self-doubt. By giving them this opportunity, their confidence invariably soars.”

Sean agreed, adding that it was important to encourage women to challenge themselves in a safe environment, where they felt supported.

“I think women make the best financial planners,” he said. “They have genuine empathy, are sensible but need to persevere at being a planner. The fact that one-third of delegates at the FPA Professionals Congress are women, is a great example of this perseverance. It’s wonderful to see more women entering the profession.”

Tim added that one area he is currently working on with his mentees is forming professional networks and connections.

“Men have historically been very good at forming connections and networks that help them, whether that’s professionally or personally,” he said. “I believe women need to be more pro-active in forming similar networks and connections. But to do this, they need to invest time.”