Rising Star Q&A: Akiko Imai, Virtu


Akiko Imai, Head of POSIT Alert Asia Pacific at Virtu Financial, was recognized as a Rising Star at Markets Media’s 2018 Women in Finance Awards. Markets Media recently caught up with Akiko to hear about what she’s been up to since, as well as her thoughts on the advancement of women in finance generally.

Talk a little about your unique career path. What factors were important for your success? Have you had any notable mentors / role models?
I have always been thorough with my tasks. Even for a tough, time-consuming or tedious job, I never did any task halfway. I always learned something from it, and by doing so I also gained trust from my colleagues, clients, and counterparts.

I also always keep an open communication with my managers. It’s very important to be honest with your managers regarding what you want to achieve, in order for them to help you. I have been lucky enough to have both female and male role models, whom I learned from throughout my career. In my experience, reaching out for help and advice is often welcomed, as your mentors have been there once upon a time, and they like to give back by sharing their experience and knowledge. My role models all were, and still are, key to my success.

What would be your advice to young women considering a career in finance?
Don’t ever think that you are not good enough or weak because you are female, and don’t ever give up. Surround yourself with people who support you and with whom you can speak openly; have both male and female mentors; and actively reach out to them, as they will generally welcome you. Have a healthy and open line of communication with your direct managers. Part of their job is to help your career progression, so help them help you by communicating your goals clearly. Most importantly, don’t ever burn bridges, as you never know where and when that person will end up.

What accomplishment(s) would you highlight since winning Rising Star award?
I have been promoted to a regional head of my division and I am currently managing one of the four business lines in Asia. I also currently have three staff, and three more to be hired by year-end.

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