The Multi-Career Life
I come from a long line of people who have had significant pivots in their professional lives. My grandfather was Chief of his local fire department, and after over 20 years on the force retired. He had cousins in Canada in the lumber business and decided to import lumber to the US to start his own lumber company. After overcoming a few hurdles — such as learning there were rules governing imports that he had inadvertently violated, putting him on the FBI wanted list, and not understanding fractions (which matters in a business where the length of the lumber is often expressed in fractional terms)- he built a wildly successful business that was expanded by his son and continues to thrive under the entrepreneurial talents of my cousins (Pepin Lumber in Rhode Island- check it out!). My father started off as a college history professor and switched to pizza shop owner and then real estate entrepreneur. My mother was a junior high school math teacher for decades and then switched into insurance and then real estate (with some entrepreneurial ventures thrown in for good measure).
So it is not surprising when I reflect on my own career path, that there have been some extreme pivots along the way. Starting off with a short stint in Washington, DC as an analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, then to being a stay at home mother, then teaching Finance and Economics at a University, to consulting, to a radio show, to issuing municipal bonds- and then landing in the Commodities trading business which took me from Oklahoma to New York City where the next 20 years was dedicated to a career on Wall Street. Although within that time there were much learning and growth — moving to London, a few years as Chief Marketing Officer at JPMorgan, and then taking on Foreign Exchange and Emerging markets- it was always banking and always somehow focused on building client-centric businesses.
In the last few years, at BNP Paribas, my world expanded outside of my “day job” to include a major focus on Innovation, Fintech, and the evolving regulatory landscape. Being on the BNP Innovation board was an opportunity to delve deeply into how banks can work with Fintech startups, and reinvent themselves in the rapidly evolving landscape. I have often said that we will look back on this era in banking and say “this is when it all changed”. Being a part of helping a bank transform — and understanding the different technological changes, from blockchain, to AI, to big data and more- is exciting and still very much a work in progress at most financial institutions. My passion for technological evolution led me to the board of Digital Asset Holdings- one of the premier blockchain companies in the world. It also led me to being an advisor to Pefin, Inc, the world’s first AI Financial Advisor. I was also fortunate to be named a board member at SIFMA, which allowed me to get a very indepth look at how regulators and law makers are viewing the transformation of the financial services industry- and how technology can aid in accomplishing many of the goals that are shared today among financial institutions, the public and regulators- such as transparency, security, appropriateness, and availability of services.
So it is not a surprise that the pull towards technology, the evolution of banking, and my own personal interests have lead me to the place where I am today. A fresh pivot into Fintech, planning the next phase of my career dedicated to the leveraging of new technologies, AI to bring a much better quality of financial services at far lower costs to the entire world- stay tuned and watch this space for more details on what this looks like!!. This next step leverages all that I have learned over the previous decades as well as makes me “uncomfortably excited”- as Larry Page suggests we should be with the things we are working on- to come to work every day. Here is to new beginnings, and hopefully the legacy of a multi-career life is something I can pass on to my own children and grandchildren!