The case for female role models needs no explanation. But put simply if you can see it, you can be it. In celebration of Women’s History Month females from around the Private Bank shared some of their proudest achievements and the women who inspire them in their career and life more generally.
Which notable women have most inspired you in your career and life more generally?
Faye Ong, Head of Family Office Advisory, Asia Pacific
My mentor, adviser and close friend Tracey Woon, who previously served as Vice Chairman of Citigroup Global Markets Asia. Tracey inspires me because she had a very successful banking career, she sits on many organizations’ boards and still finds the time to devote herself to philanthropic causes and mentoring young women.
Also Tan Sushan who was my first female manager when I joined CPB as a Management Associate at 27 years old. She gave me exposure and empowered me. I learnt so much from her and she was a true example of what it takes to be a successful female leader and banker.
Inma Ballester Garcia, Head Global Balanced Portfolio Management Team at CIM, EMEA
My mother worked very hard for me and my sister to have access to good education while always reminding us to stand on our own feet and be independent women. She also taught us the values of generosity, humility, how to learn from painful experiences and be illuminated by them!
Rachel Malik, Investment Counsellor, UK and Israel
My grandmother helped me to understand that anything is possible if you work hard and are a good person.
I also owe a lot to a lady who I met through a charity that focuses on social mobility. She has become like a mother to me. I’m also especially grateful to one of my senior female bankers who has always made time to discuss both my personal and professional goals.
Florence Yagoda, Head of Product Supervision, Americas
My grandmother, Frieda Yagoda, who in 1920 at the age of 20 years old emigrated from Poland, leaving behind family who ultimately perished under Hitler’s regime. Even though reading and writing was always a struggle, she taught herself to speak English and worked as a seamstress in a factory while caring for two sons and ill husband. She was left a widow and single mother in her mid-30s.
She put her sons through college despite her small income and she was able to see them achieve college, masters and doctorate degrees. She never complained no matter what obstacles she faced and was there for me as the strongest female role model I knew until her death in 1984.
Marcela Tannus, Private Banker, Brazil
My daughter inspires me every single day with her passion, gratitude, humility and fearlessness. Her happiness and kindness are contagious; this is a lesson that I try to apply in my professional life. I believe that becoming a mother has made me a better person.
Sara Doutt, Head of High Net Worth Central Team, North America
All the women who have laid the way and set an example before me, starting with my mother, a nurse for over 30 years and still the first line of defense. She’s taught me caring, empathy and hard work are the bedrock for happiness and success. As a Division I collegiate athlete I saw the US Women’s National Team fight for equal pay and that really stood out to me because it takes courage to speak out.
At Citi, our CEO Jane Fraser has shattered the glass ceiling, as have Ida Liu, Global Head of Citi Private Bank, and Halé Behzadi, our Head of North America of Citi Private Bank. These women show me every day that the sky’s the limit!
Nancy Bertrand, Private Banker, Eastern Canada
My mom has played a pivotal role in my life. We immigrated to Canada from Hong Kong because a prestigious Canadian university wanted her to run its very first pain clinic. She came to Canada with few words of English during a time of economic uncertainty in the mid-1970s. Over the last 45 years, she’s had many careers including running a successful nutritional supplements business which she recently sold a majority stake of to a Chinese entrepreneur. She started this business at the age of 81!
Lorena Pliego, Head of Marketing, Latin America
Every day, my daughter inspires me with her strong beliefs and character, independence and drive to be a better person. My mother has always led by example, showing kindness, integrity and unconditional love and support.
Citi’s female leaders inspire me, showing us all that we can take our careers as far as we want. Likewise, my mentor, teammates and colleagues set an incredible example, with their encouragements, knowledge and resilience.
What are you most proud of achieving yourself, professionally, personally, or both?
Janet Shum, Sustainable Investing Specialist, Asia Pacific
I'm proud of making a career pivot, with a simultaneous change of industry, function and geography, into the sustainability space a decade ago and committing to it even when it was a novel and niche field.
I found it fulfilling when I successfully helped business leaders to grow and transform their businesses as a force for good. Now I look forward to helping investors meet their financial and sustainability objectives and channeling private capital towards sustainable investments.
Sana Bazian, Private Banker, Egypt & Levant
I’m proud to have overcome the mental and physical challenges that came with climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Having just recovered from a terrible sickness that left me bedridden for 2 weeks, I wasn’t sure I had it in me. As I stood at the peak, I felt for a moment like there was nothing I couldn’t do.
Madeline Seddon, Private Banker, United Kingdom
I am most proud of founding and leading Citi Private Bank Women EMEA, a grass-roots network within the Private Bank.
When I returned from my first maternity leave, one of my female colleagues who had children herself, helped me navigate my return. It got me thinking how useful it would be to create a community amongst our female employees.
Since inception, the network has grown rapidly to over 150 members, male and female.
Jennifer Jones, Private Banker, Americas
In May 2019, I was named Mentor of the Year by Chicago Scholars Foundation. I was nominated by the mentees who I’d been working with for over a year. Being a mentor allows me the opportunity to be there for high school students when they need it the most, during the college admissions process and beyond. All of my mentees were the first in their family to attend college and I truly enjoy hearing about their continued success.
Maggie Iriarte, Chief Administration Officer, Latin America
I am proud to have become a Managing Director at the Private Bank, to lead a wonderful team and to see so many women growing all around me.
Personally, my 4-year-old grand-daughter brightens my life each day. I am deeply thankful for all the good things in my life.