Yvonne Garcia on doing it all

One of Fortune’s 50 most powerful Latinas shares leadership advice.

The Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA) announced its list of the 50 Most Powerful Latina’s of 2017 and Questrom alumna, Yvonne Garcia (Questrom’03), is on the list. Working mother. ALPFA Chairwoman. State Street Senior VP Global Head of Client Solutions and PMO. Garcia is adding Fortune’s #26 Most Powerful Latina of 2017 to her repertoire as she leads the charge for women in business.
How does one woman do it all, you ask? Well, she’s sharing some of her insight, so that we may better answer that question. Though she says, “Life in the real world seldom reduces to a single thing, and leadership is no exception,” she offered helpful advice for aspiring female leaders.

We asked. She answered.

What’s your advice for students looking to take on a position like yours at State Street Corporation?

“My advice is to make sure that you are committed to all that leadership entails and craft your own identity. Many people have honored me by saying they would like to emulate me and my accomplishments, and while I am flattered and feel great that I have served as an inspiration for people, I don’t want them to be me. I want them to find their own expression of leadership, their own voice and perspective. We need diverse leaders with diverse ideas to tackle the many issues we face as a nation, community and as a global economic leader.…I would advise students looking to achieve a certain level of leadership to start by asking themselves: Are you leading now? I would point out that leadership is less about position and more about expression of vision, influence and drive towards a better alternative. As a leader, you make the position, it doesn’t make you.”

What distinguishes a leadership position in the financial sector from leadership roles in other sectors?

“Leadership is very transferable to any industry…..But that doesn’t mean that each sector doesn’t have its unique leadership challenges. The financial sector is a mature industry which is heavily male led…. Male leadership is different from women leadership, …The approach of women and Latinas is more collaborative and team focused, as we have higher emotional intelligence than men. This emotional intelligence allows women to view the issues differently and come up with more inclusive solutions to client and corporate problems. The financial sector, because of its lack of diversity, presents a great opportunity to distinguish yourself as a leader and differentiate yourself in a way that will be recognized by top leaders in the organization….”

As the Chairwoman for the largest Latino Professional Organization in the country, ALPFA, what would you say is the most important skill to have in a leadership position?

“…Leadership requires that you develop a broad set of skills and techniques and combine them with natural abilities. The key is ensuring that you draw upon your cultural context and be able to tap into and harness the power of like-minded individuals as well as defend against the disbelievers that create noise to deter you from achieving your vision….”

“Questrom stressed the importance of being authentic, a philosophy which I embrace and apply almost daily.”

Which skills from your Questrom toolkit help you most in your current role(s)?

“Questrom instilled in me a perspective for success, from the start they prepared me to be confident enough so that I could lead boldly. It showed me the vital importance of collaboration as well as how essential it is to have a diverse team, so as to drive better results. Questrom stressed the importance of being authentic, a philosophy which I embrace and apply almost daily.”

In your opinion, what has been your greatest achievement during your career?

“My greatest achievement during my career came when I gave birth to Max & Izzy. To be able to demonstrate that career and motherhood are not incompatible is one of my proudest achievements and one I continually reinforce. In my career, I believe that my greatest achievements are yet to come. I am looking forward to serving on corporate boards, obtaining the next level of Executive VP and eventually securing a CEO position….”

As a woman, what is your personal definition of “power?” What makes someone powerful?

“Power is a privilege, to be treated with a certain degree of reverence. It is a serious responsibility that we have been bestowed…. Having personal power is the ability to make things happen, to be a driver of decisions, directions, and to successfully influence people, processes and outcomes for the betterment of others.”

Learn more about Garcia’s many accomplishments.


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