No formula could ever encompass all that it takes to become a leader, says Anne Finucane, global strategy and marketing officer, Bank of America, and member of the Massachusetts Conference for Women board. It’s a far greater strength to nurture who you are. Scroll down to listen to the interview in its entirety.
Q: Could you talk about the qualities that you admire in a leader?
A: First of all, I think original thinking is both underrated and incredibly important…authenticity, the ability and the willingness to hear different points of view. I take inspiration from political leaders, musicians, artists, those that lead social causes, my family members and business people.”
Q: As a leader, what is the best piece of advice you would offer a new employee to help them succeed?
“Learn the business and embrace the business. Understand what it means to be successful, in the most fundamental way, what business is this company in? What is going to be both an external and internal sign of success? What are things that are going to be considered successful for the company? And where do you fit in to help make that happen?”
Q: Financial services is still a relatively male-dominated industry. What would you say has been the driving force and staying power in your success in this industry?
A: “Financial services is male-dominated, and much of business is male-dominated, but that’s changing. Using my own company as an example, half the management in the company are women, and our own senior executive management team is 40 percent women. That alone would give you an idea of what I would say is a pretty big evolution, and maybe in our case revolution, in terms of the role of women in a company. And I do think it matters.
Sandra Day O’Connor was interviewed recently and talked about what it was like to be the first woman in the Supreme Court. Her answer wasn’t so much that it was a breakthrough, but that it was good to begin to represent half the population of the world.”
Q: What is the one thing you make time for in your daily life that helps keep you refreshed and positive and going?
A: “I make time for a lot of things. I read a lot. I think that’s critical, and I don’t mean just the business pages. I think it’s imperative, and imperative for all of us to take in a landscape that is greater than what we do day to day.
You have to figure out where you fit in the larger picture—for individuals, for companies, in a more global economy and a global world. That means making sure you’re up to speed on politics, on the arts, and then, of course, what I do for a living, business.”
Interview by Karen Breslau