A global and diverse experience
Making the move to Hong Kong two years ago, Paula is a long way from where she started her career in Wisconsin. Having taken deliberate steps throughout her career, Paula has spent time across a number of different roles before moving to Asia. Early on in her career, after finding her passion in the investment side of business, she initially specialised in short-term fixed income markets where she was responsible for relationships that produced over USD 1.2million in new revenue.
Displaying a diverse skillset, Paula has also spent time in various sales and client servicing roles in the U.S., as well as running a product team and working with portfolio management. She gained experience at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Harris Investment Management and Bank of America Global Capital Management before joining J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Paula has certainly kept to her guiding principle – to take charge of your own career.
So why the change of continent? Paula’s move to Asia was partly encouraged by a mentor’s advice to gain global experience. “My experience had largely been across different cities within the U.S. and his recommendation was to expand my horizons. It’s been invaluable. It gives you an opportunity to experience another area of the world, what their culture is, how they make decisions, and to be able to bring those best practices back to your home country.”
Moreover, by entering a different region, Paula has been able to provide both clients and co-workers in Asia with her alternative perspective. In fact, it is something she wished she had done sooner.
The importance of mentoring
Paula believes finding a mentor to help navigate a new company is key – especially in larger corporations where culture is likely to be multifaceted. “It is advice I would give to everybody, to find one or two people in an organisation that you have some commonality with. I would also highly recommend mentors of both genders as we frequently have different views.”
Paula continues to be inspired by senior colleagues. Hearing Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO of J.P. Morgan Asset Management, talk about achieving a work/life balance and seeing the results she has driven, was one of the reasons Paula originally wanted to join the company nearly four years ago. “Strong female leadership of a company can help financial performance,” says Paula.
Indeed, many studies have shown that companies with more senior women on their boards and leadership teams generally have strong financial performance. “When you look at the results, they speak for themselves. Boosting diversity not only across genders but also cultures, makes for more rounded decisions which, in the end, result in better performance for a business.” In short, encouraging a diverse perspective within an organisation, could bolster growth potential, which would be a huge win for clients and the industry as a whole.