Women Worth Watching 2015
Laura A. Boydston
This Legg Mason Managing Director Sees Education as the Key to Success
Since joining Legg Mason in 2002 as a business analyst, Laura Boydston has held a variety of business roles, including director of strategy, product development, and risk management of Legg Mason Capital Management, and transition manager for the Office of the Chairman and CEO. She is currently the managing director of affiliate strategic initiatives, a role she assumed in 2011.
Before she became a member of the Legg Mason team, Laura served as Merrill Lynch Investment Management’s global manager of eLearning and as The Motley Fool’s executive officer of technology.
“My biggest career leap was accepting a position that was junior to the role I held at the time,” said Laura. There were no opportunities for career growth at my company and an opportunity presented itself elsewhere that was significantly more junior but offered me exposure to more executives and more lines of business. I took the role and it has propelled my career.”
Laura is a member of the board of directors of East Baltimore Development, Inc. and The LEADERship, an entity affiliated with the Greater Baltimore Committee. She is also a trustee of the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company.
“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”
Passionate about education, Laura recently played a key role in the development and success of an urban charter school as board chair. She is also a mentor and role model to women across the firm and the community.
Laura earned a bachelor’s degree in government, with a concentration in Sub-Saharan African studies, from Smith College. She also holds MBAs from ESADE Business School and Georgetown University.
Education: MBA, ESADE Business School; MBA, Georgetown University; BA, Smith College
My First Job: The Women’s Leadership Project
What I’m Reading: “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and “Abigail Adams” by Woody Holton
The most important quality a woman leader should have is…
The platonic ideal of what makes a good leader is the same for both men and women. The most important quality of a leader is courage, for “boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” (Goethe)
The career advice I’d give my former self:
I’d have Robert Fulghum tell me to learn to tell the difference between a problem and an inconvenience. “Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. A lump in the oatmeal, a lump in the throat and a lump in the breast are not the same kind of lump. Learn the difference.”
Words I live by:
- If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough. – Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
- Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen. – Winston Churchill
- Time is a created thing. To say “I don’t have time” is to say “I don’t want to.” – Lao Tzu
The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…
…worry less; concentrate on your work and your career will happen.
When I really need to focus on a project, I…
…shut my door.
My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…
…accepting a position that was junior to the role I held at the time. There were no opportunities for career growth at my company and an opportunity presented itself elsewhere that was significantly more junior but offered me exposure to more executives and more lines of business. I took the role and it has propelled my career.
Being a woman in my profession has been…
…noteworthy. In the span of my career I’ve seen the industry evolve from the “boom boom room” lawsuit to companies providing unconscious bias education for employees. Gender should be inconsequential in this profession.
I’ve learned that failure is…
… a good teacher.
I maintain a healthy personal life by…
…equally sharing household and child responsibilities with my husband.
I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when…
…I woke up today. I want to be of use and to respect my colleagues. My work is intellectually satisfying, morally fulfilling, and done with good people. When it no longer meets these criteria I will change jobs. It isn’t about my career, it’s about my life.