It's not juggling or communication, and it's completely gender neutral. 

As a child you might have been taught that “curiosity killed the cat" and it might have seemed impertinent to keep asking "why", but it turns out that being curious is a trait that top C-Suite executives look for and one banking executive believes it's the primary trait that successful women have. Anne Finucane, Vice Chair of Bank of America and Chairman of Bank of America Merrill lynch Europe believes curiosity, along with being able to see a woman that you can aspire to be like and great mentorship are the key ingredients for success.

Interviewed by Shauna O’Halloran at the occasion of the summit of Bank of America’s Global Ambassadors Program, in Dublin, Finucane brought global stars of the business world Martha Stewart, Melanne Verveer and Cherie Blair to Ireland to share their experiences. The international endeavour aims to help women entrepreneurs across the world to succeed through mentoring and skills-building and according to Finucane, the stories she has heard along the years are similar, it is

“a journey, that is not straight through but that continues on, and what it took to get there. In each case, there were peaks and valleys, but they had the stamina to stay with it. [Those women are] always curious, always looking to collaborate with others and I think very inspiring.”

The summit gathered TV celebrity and entrepreneur Martha Stewart, barrister and lecturer Cherie Blair and politician and chief commissioner for human rights in Northern Ireland Monica McWilliams. Other Irish speakers and mentors included fashion designer Louise Kennedy and broadcaster and investor Norah Casey.

Related read: Norah Casey on How Failure Helped Her Love Herself.

The journeys shared on stage in front of a crowd of 200 -  stories of successes, of failures too but of determination always – crowned a full week of events, where mentors and mentees at various stages of their careers and in all walks of business shared advice on how to raising capital, market businesses and present one’s skills.

And this is exactly what Bank of America had originally imagined when it launched the Global Ambassador scheme 6 years ago: mentors have the know-how, which is exactly what mentees are looking for. A match made in heaven then and not a one-way relationship either. Mentors indeed learn a great deal from their mentee’s determination and resourcefulness, especially from women who impact their economy in challenging geo-political contexts.


This year again, a diverse group of women leaders of small businesses and social enterprises were paired with 11 Global Ambassador mentors, paving a brighter way towards gender parity in the business and leadership spheres.

Anne Finucane deems herself luck to witness such exchanges. It is a privilege to see such energy and momentum on a global level. It is project like this, where women are given the chance to empower their peers that enable us to “sleep better, get up earlier and start again the next day.”

READ MORE: Why celebrating Irish Women Matters