Meet Nicole, A Branch Manager at Morgan Stanley
Below is an article originally written by PowerToFly Partner Morgan Stanley. Go to Morgan Stanley's Page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
As a young, black woman Nicole Dickerson knows she doesn't fit the typical image of a branch manager. Through her leadership at Morgan Stanley, Nicole shares how she's breaking stereotypes with her success.
Nicole Dickerson, selected by Morgan Stanley as a MAKERs in 2018, knows that she doesn't fit the typical image of a branch manager, and she's good with that. As a young, black woman heading up a fast-growing branch in one of Morgan Stanley's major markets, she sees herself as the reflection of a shifting corporate culture, both within the firm and throughout the financial services industry.
She is one of 17 outstanding professional women nominated by her peers and selected by Morgan Stanley executives to participate in MAKERS, a national program that identifies and celebrates accomplished professionals from a variety of fields and companies.
"Morgan Stanley is trying to broaden the face of leadership," says Nicole, Branch Manager of the Beverly Hills office. "There's so much predisposition in what we think a leader should look like that it's important to show the world that success can come in a multitude of shades and genders."
Nicole is a case in point. In 2007, she decided to change careers and was considering getting her MBA in finance. She went to a few university open houses to get a feel for their programs and heard a presentation on wealth management that sparked her interest.
At the time, Nicole had two friends working in the industry. One ran a hedge fund, and the other was an advisor with a large wealth management firm. The hedge fund manager told her he made big money by taking big risks. The wealth manager told her that he built his business by working with amazing clients who are now friends. "What I got was 'slow and steady wins the race,'" she says. "And that resonated with me."
So instead of going back to school to pursue her MBA, she took a massive cut in pay and responsibility to become an assistant at a financial services firm. That was in March of 2008, at the depths of the financial crisis. "I took one step backward so that I could take a thousand steps forward," she says.
When she became Branch Manager of the Beverly Hills office in 2016, Nicole faced two key challenges. The first was suddenly finding herself responsible for managing her former coworkers. The second was breaking down the silos that many of the branch's top Financial Advisors had built around their businesses.
The key to both was creating a culture of inclusivity and teamwork. "A consistent message of mine is that we are all in this together," she says. "Whatever decision we make, we are all going to have to stand behind it and believe in it."
Under that philosophy, no person or position is more important than any other, and everyone in the office shares responsibility for the branch's success. "With 54 Financial Advisors in this branch, I have realized that true success happens when Financial Advisors view all of their decisions through the lens of a shareholder," she notes.
Nicole has the added complexity of managing Financial Advisors who have been in the business longer than she's been alive. They also had been successfully running their practices on their own and weren't particularly interested in changing how they did things. "People who have been in this business for so long can develop a fixed mindset that their system is the best for themselves and their teams," she says.
With those blinders on, though, even well-entrenched Financial Advisors can miss the opportunities being created in a fast-changing world. So Nicole started chipping away at those silos by rolling up her sleeves to work as hard as they did to meet client needs. "This is one team, one dream," she says. "I'm only going to be as successful as my Financial Advisors are, and because I'm their intermediary within the firm, they are only going to be as successful as I am."
So when a Financial Advisor comes to her with something that requires an assist from corporate, they work together to make it happen. "We approach it with the understanding that we need to own this together," she says. "We craft the message together and then figure out how to get other people in the boat with us."
"It's an easier way to do business, and that's part of the cultural change that I'm trying to create here," she adds.
The results speak for themselves. The Beverly Hills branch is on track to post strong organic growth this year. "We changed the focus on how to help Financial Advisors be successful," she says. "Our Financial Advisors know that I'm advocating for them and will be shoulder to shoulder with them in terms of closing business and getting things done."
Looking ahead, she wants the rest of the Los Angeles marketplace place to know that the Beverly Hills office of Morgan Stanley is the best place for any Financial Advisor who wants to grow his or her business. She points to the strong support that she and her team have received from management and the deep resources available to help make Financial Advisors successful.
"I want to make sure my Financial Advisors know that when they bring in a prospect they can say, without a doubt, that this is the best firm in Beverly Hills," she says.
A Look Back On Those Who Paved The Way For Women At Wells Fargo
From the 1870s to the 1910s, Wells Fargo hired more than 350 women to manage its express offices in towns across the U.S., from California to New York. As the company began opening its bank branches in the early 20th century, though, only men were appointed managers. That all changed in 1967, when Shirley Nelson made history by becoming the bank's first female branch manager. Nelson earned her promotion through years of hard work. By 1967, she had worked in the banking industry for 17 years. She started out in entry-level positions, including as a customer attendant in the Safe Deposit department. Over time, she pursued new opportunities, gaining experience as a loan officer, operations supervisor, and assistant cashier. She lobbied her manager to give her more responsibilities and eventually worked her way up to assistant manager of a busy branch in Stonestown, a suburb of San Francisco, in 1964.
Wells Fargo rapidly expanded its branch network in the 1960s, growing from just one California branch in 1919 to more than 230 branches in the state by 1967. When the bank had plans to open a new branch in Pacifica, California, Nelson's manager thought of Nelson's energy and ambition and recommended her for the post.
Shirley Nelson being interviewed after becoming the first female bank manager in Wells Fargo's history in 1967.Wells Fargo Corporate ArchivesBeing a pioneer wasn't easy. In addition to managing a $3 million operation at the branch, she also overcame stereotypes and changed perceptions of working women. In an article celebrating her promotion to bank manager, there was a reference to her ability "to divorce herself nicely from feminine whims and tantrums." In the same article, she was also praised for her ability to convey "instantly that you can rely on her judgment and business integrity."
'Now I don't see any stops'
Nelson's appointment was the first of a large shift at Wells Fargo. Women continued to gain new positions that had previously been off-limits to them.
In 1975, the Wells Fargo Banker publication featured Nelson and other women working at Wells Fargo, highlighting how the bank had rapidly changed over a few years, and how qualified women were filling more and more jobs previously dominated by men. At the time, women held 36 percent of the management positions in the company.
Janet Wright, vice president for personnel and data processing, was one of the women featured in the article. "I joined the Bank in 1937 as a bookkeeper in the Trust Division," Wright said. "At that time, women only held bookkeeping and secretarial positions. During the war (World War II) I became a dividend clerk, a senior clerical post which previously had been held only by men. … It was very exciting when that first woman was named trust officer. We just accepted the notion that women were not officers and had only certain jobs. We never really felt discriminated against. Looking back, it seems it took a long time to reach that level. Now, qualified women can go into any line of work. … It's a different world."
The article also featured Nancy King, a training officer who talked about an interview she had in the past for a different position. "I was turned down because the manager ― a man ― didn't think I could lift coin," King said in the article. "Now it's hard to find managers who don't want women as their co-workers. Women have shown they can handle the work and perform well. They have proved themselves valuable in the branches."
Shirley Nelson, with Chloe Flowers of Wells Fargo Escrow Services, inside the vault at the downtown San Francisco branch. The two found a solution for a customer looking to keep Cabbage Patch dolls safe for a radio giveaway in 1984. Wells Fargo Corporate Archives
By this time, Nelson had left Pacifica to lead the Stonestown branch — a branch that did over five times the business — as its new manager. "Opportunities for women definitely changed in recent years," Nelson said in the publication. "More women are officers, and there are more openings for women. Now I don't see any stops."
In later years, Nelson managed one of the bank's busiest branches in downtown San Francisco. When she retired, it was with the knowledge that women at Wells Fargo would continue to grow and gain more opportunity than ever before.
Women Tech Leaders From Audible Featured at Propelify Tech Talk
Below is an article originally written by Jane Li, Garima Agarwal, Nancy Huang, Alex Usova, and Neha Koul of PowerToFly Partner Audible, and published on June 11, 2018. Go to Audible's page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.
Despite a dreary morning sky, the boxed coffee and bustling energy kept all the volunteers in warm spirits. The outdoor Propelify conference on Hoboken's waterfront had been set up like a farmer's market—booth after booth showcasing cool tech ideas and enthusiastic young startups.
Audible's tent was fashioned into a swanky living room, with couches and a huge fuzzy carpet, a perfect invitation for attendees to come listen to five software developers from Audible's Consumer Domains, the full-stack engineering teams behind Audible's website.
As Beyonce says, it's women (and girls) who run the world. So If you want to invest in companies with women in leadership roles, then the Women Who Lead ETF might be right up your alley.
Let's break it down: Women make up half the population of the planet, as well as half the workforce in the U.S. But when it comes to management positions at jobs, there's a big gender gap.
Women make up less than 15% of chief executives at all companies, and just 4.6% of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies, according to the Center for American Progress. Tech companies aren't disrupting the status quo either. In Silicon Valley, just 11% of executives were women, as of 2014.
"Women are still underrepresented at every corporate level and hold less than 30% of roles in senior management, "Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal. "And women hit the glass ceiling early: They are far less likely than men to be promoted from entry level to manager, and they continue to lose ground incrementally the more senior they become."
Women Who Lead, which has the ticker SHE, based on the SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF, wants to change that. It invests in the largest U.S. companies where women have important leadership roles.
What's inside the fund?
SHE first analyzes the 1000 largest U.S. companies, seeking ones with a high proportion of women in executive positions, which it defines as people in vice president roles or higher.
Each firm selected for the fund must have at least one woman on its board, or as a chief executive.
Women Who Lead invests in the stocks of 169 companies, as of December 8, 2017*, including many that you probably interact with on a daily basis. These include Coca-Cola, McDonald's, IBM, Mastercard, and PepsiCo. The fund also includes shares in the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, calculator and semiconductor producer Texas Instruments, as well as defense company Lockheed Martin.
Want to know more about the companies in this ETF? Click here.
Who is this investment for?
Increasing numbers of investors care about the social goals of the companies in which they invest, and they want to make sure those goals align with their own.
If gender equality and diversity are important to you, this fund may be for you.
Risks and performance
The fund launched in 2016, so it's relatively new, which means it doesn't have a long track record compared to some other funds. At the same time, the fund represents companies with a social goal of promoting gender diversity in executive leadership.
Generally speaking, companies with social goals can potentially build stronger brand recognition with consumers, may have an advantage attracting top talent, and can potentially be in the vanguard of companies conforming to new government regulations, which could all affect performance, according an analyst for Morningstar in 2015.
SHE doesn't over-allocate its stocks in any one industry and is similar to a broad market fund, according to analysts, which is important for anyone who wants to diversify. SHE had a year to date return of 18.43% as of December 8, 2017. By comparison, Workplace Equality ETF (EQLT), a fund that holds the stocks of companies that support workplace equality of LGBT employees, had a return of 19.23% over the same time period.**
SHE has an expense ratio of 0.2%. That's roughly half the expense ratio of the average ETF, which is 0.44%, according to the Wall Street Journal.
What are some other investments like this?
Stash offers other ETFs that have social goals. Some examples are Equality Works (EQLT), which invests in companies that promote workplace equality for LGBT employees;
Clean and Green (ICLN) highlights companies working to combat global warming by developing renewable energy; and Do the Right Thing (SUSA), focuses on companies with high environmental, social, and corporate governance scores.
- SHE invests in large companies with at least one woman in an executive position.
- The fund might be good for investors who care about social goals and the impact of the companies in which they invest.
- SHE doesn't invest in one sector or industry and might be good for investors seeking diversification.
*Source: State Street Global Advisors
**Source: Yahoo Finance
By Stash Team
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Martina Lauchengco, Operating Partner at Costanoa Ventures, has spent over twenty years as a marketing and product executive at top companies. And those top companies include Netscape, Microsoft, Loudcloud, and now Costanoa Ventures where she works with fast-growing startups to build their teams. Martina has interviewed thousands of candidates and knows just what it takes to nail an interview.
Martina sat down with a small group of PowerToFly VIP's and answered all of their questions regarding the interview process. Do you want access to exclusive chats with women like Martina? Click here to become a PowerToFly VIP and join our community of women here to empower one another.