We often think that it’s the choices we make and strategies we employ that pave the way for more success. But I believe the personal, inner work we do is more powerful and potent. Early in my career, I was focused on how to develop my own skill set and distinguish myself. I excelled and climbed the ladders at multiple Wall Street firms.
Around the time I came to New York Life, I read a book that changed my mindset. Why Should Anyone be Led by You? by Robert Goffe and Gareth Jones, caused me to reflect on how I was seen as a leader, and how I could be more authentic and truly inspire the people around me.
You can’t get much done if you don’t inspire others to bring their best to the table. Being a leader is about setting strategic direction and having a vision, but it also requires you to show others how to lead and how to achieve results. Understanding this served as the catalyst for me to develop my own leadership philosophy and style, grounded in the notions of helping and serving others. Through listening—true, active listening—and taking a genuine interest in people and their lives, I discovered the greatness of those around me. Taking the spotlight off of me and putting it on others helped me to see clearly what was needed—from achieving business results to developing talent. In turn, this philosophy has served as the catalyst for our organization to do amazing things, and for people to feel valued, engaged, and committed to our company and our mission.
On Finding Success and Staying Competitive
Technology is changing at an unprecedented pace, and its impact on both consumers and business is remarkable. Fortunately, I’ve always embraced change and looked forward to learning new things, which has served me well in the technology field, and in life.
I started my career in the mid-80s when “state-of-the-art” meant mid-range computers, clunky PCs, and software like WordPerfect. Now my days are filled with discussions about cloud computing, agile software development, and cybersecurity.
Surprisingly, I am just as comfortable today as I was starting out. I believe it’s because I’m a lifelong learner. I read voraciously and consult industry peers and colleagues at all levels to mentor me on subjects I need to understand to be effective in my role. I’m never afraid to say I don’t know or tell me more about how that works.
I’ve built my career and reputation on taking jobs outside of my comfort zone. I know that no matter how challenging the assignment may be, I can not only figure it out, but also execute with excellence. Personally, I live this same philosophy—I learned to ski at the age of 40!
5 Comments on "Susan Paternoster"
Congratulations, Sue P! Very valuable advice. Well deserved recognition – you’re an outstanding role model.
Congratulations Auntie Sue, you truly are someone I look up to and only hope I can be as determined and accomplished as you one day! Love Soy
Great article Sue. You are a great leader and I have enjoyed working with and getting to know you.
I am so struck by your inspiring message and philosophy, thank you. I printed your words to read again and to share with my daughter.
Sue, Congratulations on the article! I am proud and excited to be on your Team!
P.S. My parents were bakers! We lived upstairs from our bakery…