Ceres Lisboa is the definition of a go-getter. Originally from Brazil, she spent a part of her childhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While Portuguese is her mother tongue, Ceres quickly picked up native fluency in Spanish and English. Besides exploring the different cultures that come with these languages, Ceres was an avid dancer and pursued a bachelor’s in Business Administration and an MBA in Banking, all the while working, getting married, and raising two sons.
Today, one of her favorite activities is her family’s weekend walk in the city. As a ritual to break away from her work routine, Ceres’ family plans long walks throughout São Paulo that take them through the most beautiful areas, always ending at a new and exotic restaurant or cafe.
This favorite family activity is a perfect example of how, at 50 years old, Ceres pursues her life with intentionality and joy, which is easily reflected in her career as Associate Managing Director at Moody’s Corporation.
With a plethora of experiences and knowledge under her belt, we sat down with Ceres to hear her story of being a woman in finance. She also offers us a practical list of tips for women considering the hard but rewarding career of finance.
The Rewards and Challenges of a Working Mother in Finance
Ceres started working as an intern in a Brazilian bank during her second year at university. She quickly grew in that field and started working in financing for a bank that would later merge into Bank of America. “From there, my career flew,” she remembers. “I was invited to go from one bank to the next. That all consumed me a lot because, at the same time, I had kids.”
When Ceres first started, she was working from 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM. She says, “I didn’t see my sons as much as I liked to. There were hard times, but there were better times, too. I don’t see anything with sadness because I also liked what I was doing.”
From the beginning, Ceres enjoyed the competition that comes with working in finance. Throughout the 20 years of her career, she has established a strong work ethic that encouraged those around her.
"You have a lot of sexism when working and having babies. People ask, ‘Oh, you’re going to have another baby now?’ But I moved past that and did it anyway. In the end, everything went well. I think it requires a lot of dedication to show that you have the guts and that you like what you do. Today, we can have kids, work hard, have the title, and the position.”
The Courage to Face Challenges
As one of her sons now follows in her footsteps, she gives him a lot of practical advice on how to manage the competitiveness of finance.
“‘You have to be tough,’ I tell him. You’re going to have to dedicate a lot of your time to analysis. You have to be curious, be brave enough to face the challenges, without taking things personally.”
As Associate Managing Director for Moody’s, Ceres is responsible for a portfolio of five to six associate analysts and seven junior analysts. Many of these portfolios include over 115 names in Latin America. “In my job, I tell the story of Latin America,” she explains, “which is not easy. Most of the time, volatility is found in our part of the world.”
As a global, integrated risk assessment firm, Moody’s helps reconstruct that paradigm. With their data, analytical solutions, and insights, the company helps decision-makers identify opportunities and manage the risks of doing business with others. Ceres’ job is to manage the teams that lead these initiatives.
Growing Professionally Takes Time and Effort
When Ceres was first invited to apply to become Associate Managing Director, she did not think she was prepared. However, she had been at Moody’s for about 15 years, working as a Senior Analyst. The managing director at the time was about to retire and invited Ceres to apply for the position. Ceres credits her for helping her have the necessary skills to step up to the challenge.
“I remember that she would put me in situations that I didn’t like,” she says. “And that was tough for me. But I realized that she was offering this as an opportunity.”
Ceres reiterates the importance of seeking learning opportunities, whether formally or informally. She also credits professional coaching as a way to better hone one’s skills.
“As a young woman in finance, I was very insecure. Coaching helped me realize that you’re not always going to be liked and that it takes time to build professional relationships and have the confidence to have tough conversations. It taught me how to be empathetic as a leader and gave me skills to better understand my team members.”
A Culture of Transparency
Ceres reflects on the impact of the company culture on her work ethic and the way she pursues professional growth.
“Our company values are teamwork, strategic thinking, and excellence in our service. To hold those values, you must be open. You must listen a lot. You have to explain and be transparent.”
They also offered Ceres a leadership program, as one of their many employee benefits, which she took advantage of and has leveraged in her day-to-day work.
Along with leadership programs, Moody’s offers commuter benefit plans, flexible work arrangements, and parental leave, among others.
“I really enjoy the company and how they value their employees. As long as they’ll have me, I’ll stay with Moody’s,” Ceres says.
Insider Tips for Women Seeking a Career in Finance
Reflecting on her life experience working in finance, she gives women six practical tips:
- Seek learning opportunities. “It’s hard to find people that are invested in finance. It’s necessary to have more than an MBA. You have to love analysis, you have to be curious, you have to be willing to raise your hand to volunteer for something, no matter how experienced you are.”
- Consider everyone equal. “Some of the hard parts of being a woman in the financial world is that there aren’t that many women. And there’s a stark difference between how men and women react or make decisions. While society wants to assign roles and responsibilities, we can modernize things, starting with what we choose to value in our life.”
- Be willing to work hard. “Some people want to go into finance because they think it’s the easy way to make money. But it’s not easy to make money or to have big titles or positions. You have to get real, be humble, and do the work.”
- Find ways to work as a team. “People are becoming more individualistic and thinking less as a team, especially in the financial world. It’s easy to set the goal of being the star of the group, but it’s better for everyone to have their equal part and work together.”
- Growth mindset. “Raise your hand and volunteer for learning opportunities, no matter what level you find yourself in on the work ladder. You will never have all of the answers, and that’s a good thing because that way you can always be learning.”
- Invest in yourself. “I would encourage women to pursue their hobbies and to make time for themselves. We can be women who both work hard, have a family, and have our own interests.”
Not Everything is Engineering: Logicworks’ Courtney Pearce on Taking on Tech from a Sales Perspective
Courtney Pearce’s background isn’t one you’d expect to find in a tech sales position. But as a motivated self-starter, it makes all the sense in the world that she’s been so successful in her role as Solutions Specialist at Logicworks.
If you ask her what she’s most proud of about her time so far at Logicworks, she’ll say her growth over the last four years.
“Even though I came from a technology company that was selling software, selling infrastructure and infrastructure managed services is very different. There was a learning curve. And when I started four years ago, I was the only woman. So I felt like there was this uphill battle of educating myself on the cloud platform. Now, I'm one of the top sales reps and have consistent top performance. So I'm most proud of my growth over the last four years.”
Courtney has a lot of wisdom to impart to those interested in taking on the sales side of tech. We sat down with her to learn more about how she broke into the tech world by utilizing her retail experience.
An Unexpected Path Into Sales
Courtney started college as an Orthodontics major but eventually realized that science wasn’t her calling.
“Although I'm a great student, science and math were difficult subjects for me,” she admits. "I ended up taking a random textile and clothing elective and it was my favorite class.”
She enjoyed the breadth of the program and decided to become a Textiles and Clothing major.
“You got the opportunity to learn the sociology behind why people wear clothes, the chemistry behind dying, how to make fabric, then creating a line from start to finish and marketing that to the class,” she shares.
Although fascinated by the program, her career journey didn’t lead her to the fashion industry but rather to an adjacent career in retail.
“I ended up accepting a leadership position for a big box department store,” she says. “At 23 years old, I ran a 35 million dollar store. It was a great experience and I learned a lot.”
After two years of working in retail for various name brands, she found her way into a tech company through a recruitment role.
Breaking Into the Tech World
While Courtney was working at a recruiting firm, she was approached by a security tech company with a position as a technical recruiter. She was interested in the role and applied, but didn’t get an immediate response.
“I didn't hear back, but continued to follow up,” she recounts. "One night, I got a phone call that said, ‘You're not a good fit for the technical recruiter role, but we have this new group that we're building out called business development and they're working directly with sales. Based on your experience and the fact that you're willing to follow up, we think you'd be a great fit’.”
At the time Courtney knew nothing about the tech space but that didn’t stop her from interviewing for the position.
"I spent an entire week browsing the website, watching all their product marketing videos, and tried to wrap my head around what this security company did," she explains.
During the interview, she blew them away with her knowledge of the company.
“I gave my five-minute spiel and I think that impressed them,” Courtney shares. “I had taken the time to research the company, and not having had a tech background, I tried to comprehend what they do.”
Hired as a business development rep, she had the opportunity to build the team from the ground up.
Reaching New Heights at Logicworks
Courtney continued to rise in the ranks, but she eventually felt that she had hit a plateau. With a desire to try out something new, she looked to Logicworks who offered her the career advancement she was looking for.
“I had reached my potential with my previous employer. There wasn’t anything new for me to learn. I wanted to figure out what was next in my career. There was an opening at Logicworks for a Solution Specialist to be based in Boston. That was enticing for me.”
When Courtney moved to Logicworks she was able to explore job autonomy.
“It gave me the opportunity to move into a territory that I'd been working in for many years, but also run that territory like my own business,” she explains. "There was nobody else working within that space, and I could create the process that I wanted to.”
Now at Logicworks, she experiences the constant changes of a cloud system.
“I'm constantly learning,” she shares. “We're constantly evolving our services, what products we're providing, and how our services are integrated as the cloud is maturing. It keeps me interested every single day.”
Now as a sales lead, Courtney focuses on building relationships with current and potential clients.
Coincidentally, the relationship-building skills that Courtney uses on a daily basis come from her experience in retail.
“I think coming from retail, you have to be able to talk to anyone,” she says. “You're getting a lot of different customer personalities, so it allows me to be comfortable talking to strangers, which I think is key in sales.”
Along with sales experience, Courtney's internal drive has been key in propelling her forward.
“Being a self-starter and watching YouTube videos on what the cloud is, what AWS is, and taking that time on my own to learn and absorb as much as I can are, at the end of the day, the kinds of things that you can prepare you to enter the tech space,” she explains.
Ultimately, it was the skills she learned in retail and her self-taught understanding of tech that have led to her success.
Advice for Entering the Tech World Through Sales
If you're looking to enter the tech world from a sales angle, Courtney offers this advice:
- Find companies that resonate with your values. “Whether you like their product and think that product is solving a pain point in the marketplace, or you align with the company's values, work for a company whose mission you support,” Courtney advises.
- Be pleasantly persistent. “The biggest thing that helped me was when I reached out and nobody responded, and then I followed up and nobody responded, and then I followed up again and they called me. Being pleasantly persistent shows that you’re interested and invested in the organization,” she explains.
- Do your research. “Take the time to figure out what the company does and what they are all about. Educate yourself above and beyond the basic training material to ensure that you have the right knowledge base to be successful in the role.”
If you are looking to grow within the tech space, check out these open positions at Logicworks.
💎Nestlé’s manufacturing excellence team is growing. The team supports Nestlé USA factories that produce bakery sweets brands including Toll House, Libby's and Carnation, and Nestlé Professional Brands which supply food service operations. Watch the video to the end to apply and begin your career there!
📼The manufacturing excellence team seeks someone passionate about driving world-class manufacturing through continuous improvement methodologies. Jennifer Watson and Taylar Marshall, Senior Managers, give you all the information you need to join their team.
📼Join the manufacturing excellence team if you are a go-getter, someone who takes the initiative to establish cross-functional teams to eliminate losses. This also means you should be highly collaborative with a variety of people and have a curious mindset about how things are manufactured. If you fill these requirements, don’t hesitate to apply!
📼The manufacturing excellence team unlocks career path opportunities throughout different functions, locations, and brands across Nestlé USA. Jenny Watson shares her own experience: her career has included roles in three different functions: manufacturing excellence, manufacturing, and operations strategy. She was based out of three different locations: Springville, Utah, Solon, Ohio, and Medford, Wisconsin across four different categories. The opportunities at Nestlé are truly endless!
Inside The Manufacturing Excellence Team
This team is driving continuous improvement and project management routines in the Toll House factory to contribute to the overall expected business results in the bakery and sweets category. It is a boots-on-the-ground team that tries to solve complex problems with a focus on people development and operator capability building. No day is the same in their team!
🧑💼 Are you interested in joining Nestlé USA? They have open positions! To learn more, click here.
Get to Know Jennifer Watson and Taylar Marshall
More About Nestlé USA
Nestlé USA has been nourishing a growing world for generations. No matter where you work within the Nestlé organization, you’ll discover new opportunities to grow while you help them inspire healthier lives, support local communities, do what’s right for the planet, and make an impact.
From September 12-15, 2022, PowerToFly hosted a four-day virtual event, featuring a three day summit and single day virtual job fair.
To kick off the event, attendees had the opportunity to partake in a one-hour guided networking session followed by three full days of fireside chats and panels where they were able to listen and ask questions to experts and thought leaders across multiple industries.
Featured Summit Topics Included:
- The Art & Science of How to Clarify Your Best Fit Career Path
- Going Back to the Drawing Board: How to Navigate Major Career Shifts
- Pulling Back the Curtain: Understanding What’s Happening Behind the Scenes In the Hiring Process
- 4 Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door to a New Career
- Nailing the Basics: How to Grow with Intention and Purpose
- How to Break Into a New Industry Without Starting Over
Companies We Hosted At The Job Fair:
- Bank of America | Hiring for: Senior Financial Analysts, Business Bankers, Senior Technology Managers, and more!
- ScienceLogic | Hiring for: Technical Support Engineers, Chief Marketing Officers, Product Managers, Executive Assistants, and more!
- PowerToFly | Hiring for: Global DEIB Strategist & Trainers, Account Executives, Support Specialists, Events Specialists, and more!
Thank you for joining 4 Ways to Get Your Foot in the Door to a New Career with Flatiron School Career Coach Betsy Kent! In case we weren’t able to get to your question in the Q&A, or if you thought of additional questions after we wrapped, here are two ways you can contact the Flatiron School Admissions team directly:
- Schedule a casual 10-minute chat with a Flatiron School Admissions rep
- Email us at email@example.com
Attending information sessions, panels, and workshops is the best way to get a sneak peek into what studying at Flatiron School is like — so don't miss what else is coming up! You can find a list of our events HERE.
Starting out as a viral trend on TikTok, the phrase “quiet quitting” has since taken over headlines everywhere from NPR to the Harvard Business Review. But what, exactly, is quiet quitting — and why are so many business leaders getting this so-called “crisis” wrong??
What is quiet quitting?
Per Psychology Today, “quiet quitting” isn’t actually quitting in the two-week notice sense of the word. It’s when employees keep doing their job, but only do the work that’s in their job description or covered by their explicit responsibilities. No going above and beyond. No late hours. No taking on extra projects that don’t come with extra remuneration.
Gallup similarly defines the trend as employees who are “not engaged” at work — people who “do the minimum required and are psychologically detached from their job.” Per their research, that’s a full 50% of the American workforce.
Why quiet quitting isn’t actually a crisis
As a burgeoning attitude toward work, quiet quitting makes perfect sense. With the challenges and stresses of the last few years impacting all workers — but especially working parents, people of color, women, and other marginalized groups — employees are looking for ways to set boundaries, disengage from work, and find working rhythms that work for them and their lives.
And that’s something companies should be supporting. Employers’ responsibility, after all, isn’t to slap a Band-Aid on the problems that are driving quiet quitting in order to get productivity metrics up. It’s to create the conditions for employees to succeed, with work that can be accomplished within reasonable working hours, and to incentivize and tangibly reward any engagement that goes beyond quiet-quitting levels.
It’s time we got this clear. Quiet quitting was never the crisis. Expecting employees to go above and beyond at work in order to maybe stand a shot at a pay raise and promotion next year was.
If you want to ensure your company culture is creating opportunities for folks to feel truly engaged, we’ve rounded up the steps to take below.
8 things your company needs to do to stop facilitating quiet quitting
Quiet quitting doesn’t mean that employees don’t want to work. It means that everyone — employees and employers alike — are recognizing, more than ever, that the workplace can and should be evolving to meet the needs of everyone involved in making work happen. Here are some ways that companies can ensure they are doing that, sourced from McKinsey research on burnout and engagement:
1. Hold your leadership accountable.
Culture is set by the people on the ground, and you need to know that your managers and leaders are creating a culture that’s supportive of mental health. This looks like incorporating mental health questions into regular employee satisfaction surveys, so you have data to track, and including the management of employee well-being as part of how leaders are evaluated and compensated. It also means getting rid of toxic leaders.
2. Destigmatize mental health and boundaries.
Most employers know that stigma exists at work, despite best intentions to fight it. But when employees are afraid to ask for help with mental health needs or to request accommodations so they can do their best work, everyone suffers. Companies can work to destigmatize the issue by highlighting senior leaders’ own experiences with mental health. Vulnerability can help promote psychological safety, as can rewarding employees for setting boundaries and using mental health and wellness benefits.
3. Evolve the kind of benefits you offer.
45% of people who have recently left their jobs said that their care responsibilities were a big part of their decision. Do the benefits your company offers reflect that reality? For instance — if employees must be on-site, can you offer on-site childcare? If not, do you offer a childcare stipend? Do you know what issues they are most struggling with, and are you responding?
4. Promote sustainable working hours.
Do your employees need to be at work — whether online or at the office — from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.? Or can they set those hours to fit their own schedules? Do you have flexible work policies that are available to everyone, no matter their level of seniority? Hybrid work can facilitate unfair treatment when policies aren’t clear and universally applicable.
5. Provide opportunities for employees to build social ties.
Another reason employees are disengaged at the office? Lack of social support. It can be hard to make connections over video calls and chat, especially for new employees or those who haven’t worked remotely before. Investing in team building can help give employees access to social connections that make their work more meaningful over time.
6. Enable right-size workloads.
As employment has ebbed and flowed over the pandemic, and especially now during the Great Resignation, many companies are finding themselves short-staffed. But piling more work on the people who have stayed isn’t a sustainable solution — it just speeds up their own burnout. Creating
7. Facilitate upskilling and reskilling at work.
Per the McKinsey study linked above, employers who offer reskilling and upskilling opportunities end up with more engaged employees. It pays off for everyone involved: giving employees the chance to laterally move into a different job in order to learn a new set of skills can predict employee retention 250% more than compensation can, for instance.
8. Strengthen your commitment to DEIB.
Employees don’t want to work somewhere they don’t feel like they belong. McKinsey calls out five key action areas when it comes to making a DEIB commitment real: ensuring representation, holding leadership accountable, increasing transparency (like with analytics on promotions and pay), tackling issues with a zero-tolerance policy, and embracing intersectionality.