I have found that the mentoring relationships that I have with others are colored by the approach that I’ve taken with my own career. It’s a bit of a cliché, but I really do thrive on challenge—I made many of my life’s choices based on maximizing the degree of difficulty. This included spending a year as an exchange student in South Africa in the late ’70s; taking engineering at the University of Waterloo (in Canada); doing my MBA part-time while working and starting my family; and taking individual career opportunities—including my current role which involved uprooting my husband and children from Toronto and moving to the Chicago area.
When mentoring others, I look for individuals who have the aptitude for career progression, but who also have a great attitude. I often talk to employees throughout the organization about their career aspirations, potential career paths, and areas of interest within the organization—whether in my
group or beyond.
Although everyone I spend time with is different, of course, my overall advice is consistent: Find a path that challenges you, but also look for opportunities to make a significant contribution to the organization. From that combination you can get dynamic results, including personal growth, recognition, and satisfaction.
I’m often asked about how I maintain a balance between my family and my work. For me, this involves the ability to focus 100% on my family when I’m at home, and 100% on my work when I’m at the office. I try not to bring the office home with me. I have also learned the importance of creating and using a support network—be it a spouse/significant other, a nanny, or a friend.
Above all, the most important element is that I have to love what I do. The good news is that—because of the bank’s culture, people, and strategy—I do.