Insight & Analysis

Executive View: Jennifer Tomasino, Vice President – Liquidity Solutions, State Street Global Advisors

Published: Nov 2020

Jennifer Tomasino talks about navigating challenging times, learning self-reliance, and the importance of focusing on the positives.

Jennifer Rullon-Tomasino, State Street Global Advisors

Tell us how you came to your current role.

I graduated from Fordham University in New York. While I was in graduate school, I joined Morgan Stanley’s rotational analyst program. After completing the program, I joined the cash team at Morgan Stanley Investment Management. I gained experience through exposure to all aspects of the business, including working with the intermediary channel, interacting with banks and asset managers, at the same time working with the direct sales, cross selling and product teams.

I moved to a small alternatives investment firm in Boston where I worked with hedge fund managers and institutional investors. That was a great opportunity for me to gain further experience in sales.

Then, five years ago, I joined the institutional product development team at State Street Global Advisors working across asset classes, including equity, fixed income, alternatives and cash. For the last two and a half years, I’ve been leading distribution efforts for our institutional liquidity products in the South East and parts of the Midwest, working with institutional investors and companies ranging in size, foundations and endowments, hospitals, insurance companies and the like.

What would you say inspires and motivates you?

I grew up in the Dominican Republic, moving as a teenager to the United States with my mom and younger brother. When I came here, I didn’t speak a word of English. My mother was a single mom and she had to work hard to support us. I had to figure everything out for both myself and my brother, including things like college and internships. It forced me to grow up quickly. It seemed normal at the time but looking back I realise just how challenging it all was. Now I am married and have a daughter of my own. I have an amazing family, so making all of them proud! I would like to think that my experience can show my daughter and any young girl who dreams of success that they can succeed in whatever career they choose. If they work hard, they can do anything that they want to, no matter what their backgrounds are.

And last – but not least – I am inspired by my mentors. Most of them are people that I have worked for at some point in my career, and have helped me grow personally and professionally. I would like to say to them that they made the right decision in supporting me and giving me opportunities. I am only here because they have had faith in me.

How has the global pandemic affected your work and the work of your clients?

My main focus is on expanding and developing relationships with institutional investors in the territories I am responsible for. In many ways, the pandemic has allowed me to get to know my clients on a more personal level. Many of us are in similar situations: people are trying to create new routines, and they might have to balance working from home with looking after children who are unable to go to school, or not able to go full time. But since we are all working from home, we get to see more of each other’s families and homes. That makes it a completely different experience. We’re all in this together and we will get through it together.

The pandemic has taken its toll on people, and we miss the little things that we took for granted. I know that a lot of people miss the team-building aspects of being with their colleagues and the conversations they would have in the office. The in-person interactions have always been an enjoyable part of the job. At the end of the day we all recognise that a face-to-face meeting is hard to match, especially when it comes to developing new relationships. But for now we make do with what we have, and technology has been extremely helpful when it comes to staying connected with colleagues and clients.

Has it affected your clients’ priorities? What they are looking to achieve right now?

People are trying to not let the pandemic have a long-term impact on their companies. For the most part, the feedback that I have received from my clients is that everything that needs to be done at their companies is being done. April and May were hectic: everyone was trying to absorb everything and figure out how to operate in this new environment. They may have put some projects on pause, but now that they have had time to adjust, they can get back to tackling the priorities they had in the first quarter.

What have you learned over the last few months?

I am proud of the way my team and my clients have handled this challenging time. I particularly value the many conversations I have had with people about the positive aspects of this disruptive time. We are all human, so of course we have days where we are frustrated with the situation. But I personally feel very blessed that my loved ones are healthy, that I have a great job and that I work at a firm that has been so supportive during these difficult times. And I think my clients feel the same. This has been such a difficult year and we are still going through a lot right now – but it shall pass, and hopefully 2021 will be a better year.

What are you expecting to focus on next year?

For my clients, to serve them and help them navigate through the opportunities, risks and challenges in the new year. Meanwhile, I plan to continue my involvement with the Inclusion and Diversity council at State Street Global Advisors. We can all do our part to drive change, and that is my way of trying to contribute to that. Reading the Treasury Today 2020 Women in Treasury Global Study was really encouraging – I think we have leaders paying close attention to this initiative, and we want to keep that momentum going.

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