Anjali Menon, VP Technology with Morgan Stanley, sits down with Rebecca Knight at Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing 2017 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida.
Growing up in India, Anjali didn't need to look very far for female role models in technology. She and her two sisters all had a knack for math and science and ultimately pursued careers related to science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fields.
A native of Bengaluru, a hub of technology and home to many startups, Anjali remembers learning in first grade to code in Basic, an elementary programming language, and using it to maneuver a digital turtle around a screen. In primary school, she learned other programming languages, such as Pascal and C, and then—as she put it—was on her way.
Anjali earned a BE in Computer Science and Engineering from C.M.R. Institute of Technology in Bengaluru, India, and an MS in Computer Science from the Courant Institute of Mathematics, New York University.
I always had a real aptitude for mathematics and sciences—it's definitely a family trait. I was placed in a mathematics and sciences track in high school. In India, children—girls and boys alike—are often encouraged to enter STEM-related fields, such as engineering, medicine, and computer science, as there's always a need for those types of positions.
I came to New York City for graduate school, and it was there that I heard about Morgan Stanley and its three-month Technology Analyst Program. The program, known as TAP, involved intense, classroom-based training in application development, as well as in our various proprietary technologies. I liked the on-the-job training aspect of it, as well as the rotational structure, so I applied and was accepted to the program in 2011.
I was first placed with Field and Client Technologies in the Wealth Management division and worked primarily as a client-side developer on various reporting dashboards for Branch Managers and Financial Advisors. I later moved on to the capacity-metrics team, where we analyzed server metrics and reported on the health of the sector's infrastructure.
Now, after seven years, I'm an IT systems owner in Capital Markets, and I oversee development of the equities and options order-entry applications, as well as the syndicates validation engine. They're systems that our Financial Advisors use to validate and process stock-order placements, and they are essential to Morgan Stanley's trading operations.
Over the course of your career, have you noticed a sea change for female technologists? Do you see more women entering the field and rising to leadership positions?
Over the past few years at Morgan Stanley, I've seen the gender gap in technology narrow. We're very fortunate to see more and more women applying, and being hired, to TAP.
Representation is so important to young women in school and university. It's our responsibility as women technologists to be the change we wish to see in the world, so we need to actively reach out to these women and present ourselves as role models to develop a consistent pipeline through events like the firm's Women in Technology panels, internship opportunities, and our Girls Who Code summer immersion program, to name a few.
You're an active participant in the firm's annual delegation to the Grace Hopper Celebration, an international gathering of female technologists. What do you enjoy most about the event?
Without question, I enjoy being around so many other talented female technologists and seeing what they're working on in terms of research, either as academics or professionals in private companies. When I was in graduate school, men always outnumbered women, generally 60/40. So when you're at a conference surrounded by other women with similar backgrounds, interests, struggles and achievements, it's simultaneously comforting and inspiring.
As an experienced member of the firm's delegation, I'll be doing a lot of formal and informal interviews with students who approach our booth at the conference. With 20,000 people scheduled to attend, we anticipate a lot of foot traffic. When I chat with students, I talk to them about their specific interests in technology. Seeing what candidates are interested in and what they can bring to the firm is always exciting.
It's so important to know yourself as a person, in terms of your preferences and the environment where you'll be happiest. Develop a strong background in computer science, and remember that first impressions are often based on how you present on paper, so make sure all of your key accomplishments are reflected on your resume. Also, keep an eye out for important opportunities, from information sessions to internships—anything that can lead to someone or something that can open a door.
Asking questions is also a big part of any job, so don't be afraid to speak up, especially if you're a woman. In addition, advocating for yourself is a big part of advancing and, ultimately, getting to where you want to go. It's always wonderful to have colleagues who will speak up for you, but a fundamental skill is learning to speak up for yourself, highlighting your own accomplishments and showing what you've personally brought to a team effort.
Technology evolves constantly—it's a vast engine that powers our business. Morgan Stanley computer scientists, in essence, build and curate that engine. Personally, I love the diversity of frameworks, languages, and platforms available to do so. As a result, there's never just one cookie-cutter method of solving a problem, and it's the process of deciding among the myriad of possible solutions that I find the most challenging and, subsequently, most fulfilling.
Below is an article originally written by PowerToFly Partner Morgan Stanley, and published on December 11, 2018. Go to Morgan Stanley's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Keren Ehrenfeld began her career as a summer intern in Morgan Stanley's Toronto offices. 15 years later, she is a Managing Director and finding the room to be herself in a challenging workplace.
On the occasion of Morgan Stanley's Global Women Managing Directors Conference, some of the attendees took the opportunity to discuss challenges, support systems and career trajectories within the firm.
Keren Ehrenfeld is currently responsible for Morgan Stanley's investment grade health care and transportation practice within the Fixed Income Capital Markets group. For her, as in any career, there have been challenges along the way. Karen credits her longevity at the firm to the opportunities she's had to explore her different strengths.
Below is an article originally written by PowerToFly Partner Morgan Stanley, and published on October 4, 2018. Go to Morgan Stanley's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Drawing from her Latina heritage, Claudia Marmolejo has successfully navigated and excelled across both corporate and international cultures, while opening paths for others.
It was the quintessential New York story: In 1994, Claudia Marmolejo arrived from Argentina to study law at Columbia with only $700 and one credit card. With a week before classes started to find a place to live, she rented a shared room in a convent run by nuns on 54th Street and 10th Avenue. It was a bit of a commute to Columbia's upper-Manhattan campus, but "the convent was affordable and safe—complete with an 11 pm curfew," Marmolejo recalls with a laugh.
Yet years later, her career path would bring her back to the same neighborhood and to Morgan Stanley's headquarters, where Marmolejo is now an Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of the Wealth Management Client Development Group.
"I couldn't anticipate my journey, but in retrospect, I would say that where I am today and the experiences and opportunities I've had are precisely what I had in mind when I decided to come to the U.S. all those years ago."
A Glimpse of a Different Life
As with so many stories, Marmolejo's starts with her family: In 1988, she visited her older sister Andrea who had received a scholarship to study at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. She stayed for a month auditing classes, going to events and meeting students. "It was so different from Argentina, where women were expected to conform to more traditional female roles, like teachers and nurses and eventually housewives and mothers," Marmolejo said of her time in Cambridge, Mass.
"I loved that the female students were fully partaking in the intellectual life on campus, speaking out in classes and leading organizations. That was what I was looking for, the kind of life that I wanted to lead."
One of her favorite expressions is: "If you can see it, you can be it." During that month at Harvard, she saw the life she wanted. "I was determined to return to the U.S.," she says.
Over the next few years, Marmolejo moved with single-minded resolve. She studied law at the University of Buenos Aires, completing her degree in three and a half years, ahead of the typical five. She was then accepted at Columbia's master's program in law. "I loved Columbia. The advanced study, immersion in U.S. jurisprudence and collaboration with so many smart people sharpened my legal skills and prepared me for practicing law in the U.S."
Unfortunately, it didn't prepare her for the tight job market after graduation. Nonetheless, Marmolejo managed to negotiate a six-month contract with a corporate law firm, which led to a full-time associate position. She then grasped that business in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, was taking off. "I realized the value of being fluent in Portuguese and hired an after-hours tutor," she added.
Her multicultural background was attractive to other law firms and investment banks, including Morgan Stanley. Twelve years later, she still feels taking a position with the firm was the best decision she made. "I loved that Morgan Stanley recognized and rewarded talent with greater responsibility," Marmolejo explains, who spent nine years in Wealth Management Legal, before moving into her current role as COO of the Client Development Group.
"Throughout my career, I've moved through various firms and international cultures, and have been able to absorb them quickly," Marmolejo says. "I've learned the value of relationships, of making and deepening connections, and making clients and colleagues feel welcome. I know what it's like to come from the outside, from another industry, and certainly from another culture."
Marmolejo's drive is stronger than ever. She is the Co-Chair of Morgan Stanley's Latino Employee Networking Group (LENG), and was recently named a member of the MAKERS Class of 2018. "When I was asked to co-chair LENG, I felt honored. Being Hispanic is my heritage and a fundamental part of who I am. I jumped at the chance to help inspire fellow Latinos and Latinas with LENG's programming and resources. I am proud to be in a position to advocate for more Hispanic representation at Morgan Stanley," Marmolejo says. Meanwhile, on the MAKERS storytelling platform, "I can share my own journey as a professional and as a Latina."
Marmolejo's contributions to the Hispanic community extend beyond the firm. Since 2015, she has been a trustee of Museo del Barrio in New York City and is a board member of LatinoJustice PRLDEF (formerly the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund), a national civil rights organization that fights discrimination against Latinos through advocacy, litigation and education. She is also a trustee of Xavier University of Louisiana and a member of the board of the nonprofit Turn Around for Children.
"If people can learn from my story, struggles and triumphs, then I feel I've done my job in showing other Latinas, and people overall, that moving up the ladder through hard work and doing your personal best is possible, no matter where you start."
Cindy Lane believes diversity at Morgan Stanley is an advantage not just for her but for the success of the Firm.
Below is an article originally written by PowerToFly Partner Morgan Stanley, and published on June 19, 2018. Go to Morgan Stanley's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
ATLANTA -- Cindy Lane believes diversity at Morgan Stanley is an advantage not just for her but for the success of the firm in general and that she helps drive diversity through active example inside the firm and outreach to causes and charities.
"I have never kept my personal life a secret," she says. "I feel that just as I lead by example in my job, I must lead others to the understanding of the LGBTQ community by example.
"My entire 18 years with the firm, management has always accepted my desire to be open about who I am and in the one or two occasions a fellow employee was not so accepting, management jumped in immediately to correct the issues."
Cindy has held several roles during her tenure at Morgan Stanley, training in new areas of wealth management at every step of her professional development. She now is a Portfolio Associate and Financial Planning Associate in Atlanta and for the last four years, also has been giving back as a diversity member of the Buckhead Complex Council. Moreover, she is a Complex Service Coach for new associates in the Atlanta area.
Cindy is Co-Chair of the Buckhead Council's Sponsorship and Community division, coordinating volunteer and outreach efforts aimed at Atlanta's diverse population. These activities help improve diversity within the firm by increasing employee and client engagement with diverse groups while also providing networking and recruitment opportunities in different communities.
The interest in these programs has grown steadily, making it important to address all audiences equally. Projects can range from food drives and serving dinner at homeless shelters to programs that assist women and military veterans in their return to work.
Developing a close relationship with a multicultural organization can be a great experience for a branch or complex and their clients, Cindy explains. She recommends focusing on quality over quantity, choosing just one organization per diversity group and fully developing the relationship.
She is especially proud of her work with the predominantly LGBTQ charity, For the Kid in All of Us, which has provided over 1,600 backpacks of school supplies to underprivileged children in the last three years.
Cindy is a vocal advocate of Morgan Stanley's diversity efforts and believes raising awareness of the firm's leadership in this area can boost recruiting.
In addition to promoting a diverse workforce, Cindy says it's critical for Financial Advisors to understand the nuances of working with clients from diverse backgrounds. She has counseled Financial Advisors on how to communicate with LGBTQ clients throughout her career and says giving a positive representation of the firm by explaining Morgan Stanley's diversity efforts is a good ice breaker that can overcome stereotypes.
"Many clients do not feel that discussing their personal lives is something a Financial Advisor needs to know. And some are just not open to that discussion," Cindy says. "There can always be that fear that in the business relationship one could be treated differently if you do not have the same diverse viewpoints. This can cause issues if vital facts are left out of the financial planning discussion."
Making clients comfortable, by demonstrating an understanding of their needs, or by inviting them to participate in diversity events that are of interest, is a good way to establish trust, Cindy adds. Morgan Stanley also has a catalog of LGBTQ marketing and advertising materials in the FA Marketing Center that she recommends.
Being a good listener is also critical, as Cindy learned firsthand from an early mentor.
"Desiree Fuehrer, currently a Complex Risk Officer for the Buckhead Complex, is one of the best managers I have ever had. When she came to our office as an operations manager, I sat directly outside her office and would listen to how she handled employees and clients."
"How she handled people helped me to learn that listening not just to the words people say but the ones they don't are the key to being successful in helping them."
Having spent her entire career in the wealth management industry, Cindy has seen incredible progress in the acceptance of individuals from diverse backgrounds. She believes the inclusive environment promoted by Morgan Stanley and its employees makes the firm a great place to learn and grow as she has.
"The best thing I can tell you is find what things at work drive you and motivate you. Then pursue them at full throttle."
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