Women in Treasury

Women in Treasury: Dorothy Musho, HSBC

Published: Jan 2022
Dorothy Musho, HSBC

This much I know

Dorothy Musho has had a varied career in banking since she was first hired on the graduate programme at Chase Manhattan Bank. She discusses what she has learned along the way, how to create a speak-up culture in an organisation, and why it is important to enjoy what you do.

Dorothy Musho

Executive Vice President
HSBC logo

Dorothy Musho is Executive Vice President, Head of Commercial Banking Sales, Global Liquidity & Cash Management of HSBC Bank USA, N.A, a subsidiary of HSBC Holdings plc. She is responsible for leading the Liquidity and Cash Management sales force serving the needs of Commercial Banking clients in the US. Dorothy has more than 25 years of banking industry experience and has held treasury leadership positions with Capital One and JP Morgan Chase. She began her banking career in branch management and personal banking roles. She is credit trained and also worked for several years as a commercial banker. Dorothy holds a B.A. in economics from Saint Anselm College and is a past member of the college’s Board of Trustees. She is currently a member of the HSBC’s Senior Women’s Forum and is an active mentor for several of HSBC’s formal talent programmes.

Can you give an overview of your career so far and the lessons you have learned along the way?

I have always been in banking, and I was recruited by Chase Manhattan Bank onto their graduate programme – I had first been introduced to the bank by an alumni. When I started out, I made an effort to build a professional network and took the opportunity to leverage that alumni’s connections internally at the bank. I would say that’s a key lesson: leveraging a network. It’s not just about the connections, however, you need to be able to perform and execute. Sometimes that gets lost; sometimes people think ‘I have connections, that’s all I need’, but that’s not the case. You will be judged by your body of work and whether you have delivered against your goals.

You also need to be able to learn and develop. Before joining HSBC, I worked at J.P. Morgan Chase for a number of years in various roles – there were some lateral moves and some career progressions. Throughout this time, I continued to learn and I was interested in developing and evolving. If you ever feel that you can do a role in your sleep, then maybe it’s time to wake up and do something different!

Do you think making contacts and building a professional network has typically been done informally? Are people at a disadvantage, for example, if they don’t drink or don’t want to socialise in this way?

I don’t think that has to be the case, and you can help steer meetings to whatever suits you. When I had meetings with senior people they were often breakfasts, as 7.30am was the only time they were free. I have done a lot of client entertaining in the evenings. And, at other times, I have had to make sure I could play golf, but I don’t think that happens so much now. It is much easier to suggest a coffee meeting these days as an alternative. And you can always give people options – it doesn’t have to be a drink after work.

Did you set out on a particular career path or were you more flexible in how you approached it?

I was offered a job! Really, that’s how it happened – it was back in the mid-1980s and jobs were not plentiful then. I had an economics major, so I was looking for a role in finance, and I decided to go into banking management. I did my research and knew that Chase Manhattan Bank was reputable – it was led by David Rockefeller – and I was honoured to be hired by them.

I started out in retail banking, working in the branches, and then later I became a relationship manager, which meant I had to be credit trained. And from there I went to cash management, which is where I found my niche. Career progression doesn’t have to be linear – it could be a zig zag, and I think it is important to look at the full body of work. For me having the credit training, and being a banker, has been helpful in understanding the financials when talking to clients – whether it is a chief financial officer (CFO) or a cash manager.

How important is it to do something you enjoy?

When I was a relationship manager, I wasn’t really enjoying it. I just felt that the best version of Dorothy was not showing up. I think a lot of people do roles where they’re not really actively engaged. For me it’s important to be challenged and to be interested in what you are doing. This doesn’t have to be professionally – I see this on a personal level as well. It applies to people at different phases of their lives, including those who have stopped working; they still need to know what to do to keep themselves challenged and stimulated. They could get a hobby, or volunteer – there are so many things people can do to keep themselves active and interested.

And why do you like cash management? Why is that your niche?

Everyone needs cash management! Whether it is a small business or a Fortune 100 company, cash management is the lifeblood, the payments, the flow and the working capital of an organisation – it is very much part of the CFO or treasurer’s objectives.

I feel like I am helping my clients thrive and develop, whether I meet them at a new facility, learn about the latest product, or visit a start-up in San Francisco. What is happening with these clients is a reflection of what is happening in the real world – outside of working hours I might hear about a new trend, and I’ll smile as I think ‘I was just talking to their owner’ or ‘I saw that when it was in the development lab’.

Also, working for an organisation like HSBC means that I am a global citizen. On any given day I could be speaking to someone in Hong Kong, Paris, then New York or London. It is really exciting, and the work and challenges are constantly evolving and changing.

I also love helping people develop in their careers and seeing how my mentoring has had an impact on the next generation of talent in this industry.

With that next generation, how can you create a speak-up culture where they feel comfortable calling out bad behaviour, for example?

You have to create the right environment where there is a clear understanding of what behaviour is unacceptable. Often, this starts with the tone from the top, where the senior leaders are setting the standard of desired behaviour with their words and their actions.

At HSBC, diversity and inclusion, and the people agenda, are integral to our success, so this is so important. There are things you can do about making sure issues are raised. At HSBC, for example, there is a dedicated confidential line that people can call. People can speak to their line manager, or another colleague. If I hear of anything that might have happened, I have an obligation to make sure that it gets reported, either to human resources (HR) or the confidential line.

One positive change I’ve noticed in recent years is that people are more likely to speak up when things aren’t right. Also, public opinion is changing – with the #MeToo movement, for example – so people feel more comfortable talking about it. To the next generation coming into this industry – and to everyone else – I tell them, ‘If you see something, say something’.

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