On March 13, 2012, NABA hosted it’s First Annual Women of NABA Forum: Navigating through Turbulent Times seminar. The event was hosted by Morgan Stanley at their mid-town Manhattan office.
NABA was established by nine African American accountants in New York City in 1969. It has since grown to more than 100,000 members. Its mission is to represent and advocate for the interests of its members in furthering their educational, professional and career aspirations in business, with a specific focus on the areas of accounting, consulting, finance and information technology.
The panel included an amazing group of women with varying academic and professional backgrounds and experience. The welcome remarks was delivered by Ruth Porat, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Morgan Stanley. She emphasized the continued value of pursuing a career in financial services even during an economic downturn. Her advice was to focus on developing new career objectives and seizing new opportunities instead of trying to recreate past successes. To successfully make this transition, it’s invaluable to have a sponsor in your organization (if employed); a strong network of mentors and supporters, as well as the ability to communicate your strengths both directly and indirectly (i.e. making a contribution at meetings) to your peers and superiors. Combined with a healthy personal life, Ruth believes this is a fail safe recipe for long-term success in your career.
Kimberley Hatchett, the moderator for the seminar and the Executive Director of Private Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley, reiterated Ruth’s charge to find work-life balance. She encouraged women in the audience to maintain some level a connection to the work force (i.e. consulting) after having children to make it easier to transition back into a career once the children have grown and become more independent.
Rosalind P. Danner, one of the esteemed panelists and current Vice President of Finance and Business Management at the McGraw-Hill Companies, weighed in on the topic of work-life balance by reminding those in attendance of the importance of having an excellent support system, at home and at the office, that will allow you achieve the balance that will bring success in both areas.
One panelist, Kathy-Ann Edwards, Assurance Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, had a personal testimony about how she was recently challenged with learning achieving work-life balance with a new born infant, now sixteen months old. Returning to work three months after giving birth to her daughter, little had changed in the way that she spent her time at the office prior to giving birth. After feeling burnt out and having a discussion with a sponsor at the firm, she realized that she had to do things differently. And she did. She learned how to be more effective in less time leaving ample opportunity to enjoy her bigger family as well as get some well needed rest. She is a lot happier and more productive.
Aliah Greene, Executive Director of the Financial Control Group at Morgan Stanley, summed up her theory on work-life balance in one phrase: Think Impact, not output. Simply, this means focusing on getting the important, urgent matters done first. This, according to Aliah’s undisputed wisdom, will open up the opportunity to get the smaller things done without feeling overwhelmed.
At the NFL, Natara Holloway finds a lot of enjoyment at work but has recently made a commitment to focus on developing more extra-curricular activities outside the office. As the Vice President of Retail Development Consumer Products for the league, it easy to see why she has so much fun. However, given that she can not take the NFL home to bed at night, she urges that it’s essential to nurture your interest outside of work as well so it will one day reciprocate.
Amen to that!