Although my career had a brisk start and a quick ascent, it was only until I met my first obstacle that I began to learn about myself and how I could find success by building on my strengths and seeking insight from others.
Exceed expectations. I immersed myself in investment banking where my strong work ethic, curiosity, and dependability were rewarded with a quick series of promotions. That early success taught me the importance of hard work, attention to detail, and establishing a strong reputation.
Actively seek feedback. After the merger of my firm, where I led some of its high-profile assignments, with Morgan Stanley, my role was reduced to account for the increase in senior personnel. My investment banking career hit a ceiling. After several unsuccessful attempts at making adjustments on my own, I realized I needed real and honest feedback. To ask others to criticize my approach was difficult, but it brought immense clarity to the changes I had to make.
Embrace change. After leaving investment banking, I made the first of a number of transitions to a different function or area, ranging from strategy to building a business. By necessity, I had to learn quickly and did so by learning from others. It was difficult at first, but with each change, it became easier and quicker than the last, and with that, my confidence grew.
Relationships matter. When I first led a group with my soon-to-be mentor, I valued achieving results over building relationships. However, my colleague took time to establish rapport with key sponsors. It wasn’t until years later when a project nearly fell apart in a single meeting that I realized building relationships with the people critical to my success was so important.
It’s the journey, not the destination. I eventually entered the investment management industry, a business I still find fascinating and challenging. I am fortunate to have seen many facets of the business as I moved from line to staff roles and back. Being able to connect the strategic to the tactical through my diverse experiences is deeply satisfying. Building and motivating teams of talented individuals to achieve our goals with the same sense of determination and passion as I have is equally fulfilling.
Is there a role model who has had a profound impact on your career and/or life? What did he/she motivate you to do?
I led a group with a colleague, and with his support and advice, I came to realize the positive impact that a strong network of relationships can have on achieving my career aspirations and goals.
What advice would you give young women building/preparing for a career?
Always embrace uncertainty. I took many chances in an effort to present myself confidently and self-assuredly in a male-dominated work environment. Those experiences made my career more fulfilling because they taught me that I am able to compete as an equal.