Meet The Female Leaders Of Finance: “There’s real power in diversity of thoughts, opinions and experience” with Carrie Delgott and Tyler Gallagher

Tyler Gallagher
Nov 6, 2019 · 9 min read

There’s real power in diversity of thoughts, opinions and experience. If you don’t have the thoughts, opinions and experiences of women during key decisions, you’re missing a key viewpoint. Female voices are part of a diverse perspective and they’re critical to better outcomes. There was a McKinsey report from a couple of years ago that quantified this point. Companies that led their industries in gender diversity were 15 percent more likely to have better financial returns.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Carrie Delgott. Carrie is Wescott’s Chief Operating Officer and Chief Compliance Officer. As a member of the firm’s Management Committee, Carrie plays a critical role in guiding Wescott’s operations, finances, innovations, client service and growth. Carrie’s role helps define, implement and monitor firm policies and regulatory compliance, and ensure that clients and staff are served in a manner consistent with firm values. Carrie also serves as a member of Wescott’s Investment Committee, a governance committee responsible for the firm’s dynamic investment strategies, ongoing due diligence of Wescott’s investment managers, asset allocation design and regulatory compliance. Carrie began her career as a financial analyst for Wawa before spending 20-plus years at Vanguard. At Vanguard, she held a variety of positions across finance, operations, technology and customer service. She received her bachelor’s degree in Finance from Penn State University and received her master’s degree in Business Administration from Widener UniversitY. Carrie resides in West Chester, Pennsylvania with her husband Robert and their son, Jason.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Banking/Finance field?

My father’s very practical advice was to leverage my strengths. I had a knack for numbers so I gravitated towards that when I started thinking about a career. I was also drawn to business management, but the idea of a business major felt a little too broad. I considered both finance and accounting and found finance offered more options and opportunity for a diverse career within a specific area of focus. I could take on many different types of roles while still having a unique value proposition centered on finance.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

I’m lucky enough to have a good Jack Bogle story. When I ran the UHNW business at Vanguard, we’d often host high-profile clients — CEOs, executives and people with a lot of power and influence — to meet with members of the executive leadership team. These meetings were almost always more of a sit-down among peers, like two company leaders having a conversation.

But on occasion, the clients had the opportunity to meet Vanguard’s founder, Jack Bogle. All of these smart, powerful successful men from various industries and backgrounds were so excited to meet him, particularly those in financial services. Many told me it was a highlight of their week just to have met Jack in-person and shake his hand. It was really eye-opening and interesting to see these executives so eager and even nervous to meet a man they considered a legend. There is a powerful and humbling lesson there — no matter how influential and successful you are, we all look up to someone.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I find it really exciting be working on enhancing Wescott’s impact investing and environmental, social and corporate governance focus. We’re continuing to build out our offerings and expertise in this area, and it’s something near and dear to me, as my whole family is passionate about environmental issues. My son is working toward becoming an Eagle Scout and is doing really impressive work around nature preservation, with a focus on clean water.

At the same time, as a woman in this business, I’m eager to move the needle on pay equity and support women in leadership. I’m proud to be a part of a team building a strategy around investment offerings that addresses environmental and corporate diversity issues.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Wescott’s commitment to our community and giving back is quite impressive given the commitment plays out on two levels. I’ve traditionally participated in a lot of team-based charitable work like donation campaigns, volunteer days and sponsoring corporate activities to raise money. But many members of the Wescott team not only particulate in volunteer activities and philanthropic giving, but serve on committees and chair boards of non-profits and charitable organizations. We’re encouraged to share our business expertise and financial knowledge to help a non-profit to better execute on their mission. It’s a powerful mix. I haven’t experienced this same level of top-down and bottom-up commitment before that is so deeply engrained in the Wescott culture.

Wall Street and Finance used to be an “all white boys club”. This has changed a lot recently. In your opinion, what caused this change?

It’s interesting; coming from a much larger and broader investment firm to the RIA space, I feel like I have seen my corner of the finance world get less diverse. The RIA sector is overwhelmingly male — and white. Not many women or minorities are choosing a career as an advisor. It’s a major issue the industry is grappling with, and it impacts how we serve clients.

While RIA firms in general struggle with hiring women, I’m proud to say Wescott has a 50/50 mix of women and men. And that diversity exists at all levels of the organization, including executive leadership, which I’m finding to be rare. At Wescott, a talented group of women and men have a voice in shaping the direction of our firm and deciding how to best serve our clients.

Of course, despite the progress, we still have a lot more work to do to achieve parity. According to this report in CNBC, less than 17 percent of senior positions in investment banks are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a) individuals b) companies and/or c) society to support this movement going forward?

There’s real power in diversity of thoughts, opinions and experience. If you don’t have the thoughts, opinions and experiences of women during key decisions, you’re missing a key viewpoint. Female voices are part of a diverse perspective and they’re critical to better outcomes. There was a McKinsey report from a couple of years ago that quantified this point. Companies that led their industries in gender diversity were 15 percent more likely to have better financial returns.

To embrace this idea of diversity in leadership, individuals in leadership positions should work to coach and mentor women, minorities and anyone with a unique perspective and passion for their work. Companies should make it a policy to include diverse voices in key decisions. Society should recognize and acknowledge this gap exists at the highest levels and look for ways to expand the diversity of leadership voices in every industry.

You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non intuitive things one should do to become more financially literate, what would you say? Can you please give a story or example for each.

For me, financial literacy comes down to having educated conversations with educated people, and I’m not describing education as the number of years a person went to school or the degree they hold. It can be people who have spent a lot of time working in a particular field, are really passionate about what they do and/or have had a lot of success in their career. Surround yourself with people with a wide range of financial experiences, from portfolio managers and investment analysts to CFOs, budget analysts, advisors and business owners. Talk to them and take every opportunity to learn from them.

And here’s one piece of practical financial advice: If you haven’t already, start saving for retirement now. I started saving when I was 18. The tax benefit and power of compound interest over the course of a career really adds up.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I was lucky enough to have a boss early on who had a major impact on my career and leadership style. She was in a very senior leadership position and had a lot of responsibility. Needless to say, she was extremely busy and always under a lot pressure. But whenever we would have one-on-one meetings, she would be completely present and focused on me. She was not worried about the people waiting outsider her office to sign a contract or taking a phone call or checking her hundreds of emails. She gave her undivided attention to our conversation.

I think about that a lot. Every time my phone buzzes during a meeting, particularly a one-on-one or a meeting in which a team is presenting and I’m a key part of the audience, I strive to be present and give each interaction the attention it deserves.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

That quote speaks to the story about my boss’ undivided attention. She made me feel important, smart, empowered and strong. It wasn’t about a title or a raise. It was how she treated me.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)

You have to be willing to provide candid, honest and direct feedback, even when it’s tough. I was in too many leadership meetings early in my career where we were talking about an individual’s limited potential given a competency gap, and I’d stop to wonder if anyone ever shared this feedback. I don’t mean the cryptic message hidden in a generic performance write-up; but more of an honest conversation that addresses a sensitive topic. Are we avoiding that feedback because it means having an uncomfortable conversation?

A perfect example is the use of filler words. I’m sure you’ve seen a person present who uses ‘like’, ‘um’, or ‘you know’ throughout the delivery. It’s a complete distraction, discounts the person’s intelligence and causes loss of credibility. But is there self-awareness? Sharing this feedback may feel hard and personal in the moment, but they will thank you later.

I’m a big fan of Kim Scott’s book “Radical Candor.” As a leader, it’s selfish to take the easy way out and avoid a conversation that could really benefit someone’s career. I would be devastated to learn my colleagues all felt a certain way about me and I didn’t know it. Everybody deserves the chance to learn, grow and evolve.

Thank you for all of these great insights!

About the Author:

Tyler Gallagher is the CEO and Founder of Regal Assets, a “Bitcoin IRA” company. Regal Assets is an international alternative assets firm with offices in the United States, Canada, London and United Arab Emirates focused on helping private and institutional wealth procure alternative assets for their investment portfolios. Regal Assets is an Inc. 500 company and has been featured in many publications such as Forbes, Bloomberg, Market Watch and Reuters. With offices in multiple countries, Regal Assets is uniquely positioned as an international leader in the alternative assets industry and was awarded the first ever crypto-commodities license by the DMCC in late 2017. Regal Assets is currently the only firm in the world that holds a license to legally buy and sell cryptos within the Middle East and works closely with the DMCC to help evolve and grow the understanding and application of blockchain technology. Prior to founding Regal Assets, Tyler worked for a Microsoft startup led by legendary tech giant Karl Jacob who was an executive at Microsoft, and an original Facebook board member. Feel free to reach out to Tyler on Linkedin HERE .

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