What drew you to the investment industry?
I love the puzzle that investing presents – the world is constantly evolving and you never have complete information, and yet with hard work and thoughtful analysis you can gain insights that are unique and valuable. As an active, fundamental investor who is focused on sustainability, the way that investing has the potential to help shape our world for the better is my top motivation.
How has Putnam supported women?
Putnam’s investment team has more women in leadership roles than most of our peers; though we are still a long way from gender parity, it is finally unusual for me to be the only woman in the room. As a newer member of the Putnam team, I’ve found that the culture demands excellence, and at the same time is also very collaborative – this is a powerful combination. The premise is that you have something important to contribute, not that you need to continuously prove your merit over and over again. This frees up a tremendous amount of time and energy to do great work on behalf of our clients and shareholders.
How did you typically achieve a promotion you were working towards?
I’m a researcher at heart, and it’s been helpful to systematically analyze my own progress and performance over the years, and to keep track of it so that it’s easier to discuss with others. Investing lends itself to both quantitative and qualitative evaluations, which is a plus.
Can you speak to a memorable challenge and how you overcame it?
Early on in my career, I was passed over for an opportunity that I knew I deserved, and some reference was made to the other person “wanting it more.” I had to clarify that my lack of complaining was not a lack of ambition, which is a disappointing reflection on how we assess worthiness in many professional settings. We often reward loudness instead of merit. This experience had a big impact on how I managed large teams later in my career.
Advice to women in the industry?
One important area where I did not focus my time and attention early in my career was in fostering relationships outside of my own team and my own company. As I’ve built out more relationships with different types of people and organizations over the years, each professional challenge has gotten easier and more importantly, my life has been enriched.
What's your biggest professional regret?
When I started in this profession, there was a prevalent culture that was competitive in all the wrong ways – a culture that still exists in some pockets of finance. I wish I had been more confident earlier in personally demonstrating how the root words of “compete” mean “to strive together” – totally different from the zero-sum thinking that pervades much of finance.
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