Women Worth Watching 2015

Carla Rutigliano

New York Life’s SVP Is a Pro at Balancing Work and Family


web NYL_RutigilanoIn her role as senior vice president and chief of staff to Ted Mathas, chairman and CEO of New York Life, Carla Rutigliano ensures the oversight and coordination of key strategic initiatives in the Office of the Chairman and CEO, and provides a link between the chairman’s office and all other business areas within the company, as well as with external organizations. In addition to these responsibilities, she provides senior executive oversight to the New York Life Foundation.

Carla joined New York Life in 2001, as a member of the Office of Governmental Affairs, where she represented the company in state legislative and regulatory matters. After being promoted to roles of increasing responsibility during her first five years with the firm, she began reporting to Mr. Mathas—first, when he became chief operating officer and vice chairman of the board in 2006, and then, when he moved to the position of CEO in 2008.

“I don’t let what I do define who I am.”

Prior to joining New York Life, Carla was an assistant attorney general in the New York State Office of the Attorney General, an assistant corporation counsel for the City of Syracuse Office of the Corporation Counsel, and an intern and staffer for New York state assemblyman Paul Harenberg.

In 2014, Carla’s ability to maintain a healthy balance between her high-profile job and her family earned her a well-deserved place as one of Working Mother magazine’s Working Mothers of the Year.

“Remembering that New York Life has been successful for over 170 years, most of that time without me, helps me retain my balance,” said Carla. “I don’t let what I do define who I am. I am a wife, mother, daughter, and friend.”


Education: BA, State University at Albany; JD, Albany Law School of Union University

First Job: National Recruiter, Albany Law School

What I’m Reading: “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” (again—this time, to preview it for my daughter), “The Skimm” online, and “Real Simple” magazine

The most important quality a woman leader should have is…

… courage—the courage to be authentic; to question; to determine your own best path; to be nice, as well as strong.

The career advice I’d give my former self:

I would reassure myself that you can stay true to your values and still be successful wherever your career path takes you.

Words I live by:

“I love you enough to say no.” My Dad said this to my brother and me as we were growing up; now I use it with my own children. It’s applicable at work too: care enough to challenge, don’t just say “yes.”

The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…

…to take time off in between college and law school. Real life experience is invaluable in one’s career; there’s much you learn better by living it rather than studying it.

When I really need to focus on a project, I…

… set my alarm extra early, grab a cup of coffee, and before the rest of the family wakes up (or before anyone else gets to the office) I close the door and go into “airplane mode” – turning off all electronic devices.

My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…

… accepting a new role I didn’t truly understand, which took me off a path I was excited about. It made no sense on the surface – but I thought it was a great chance to work with, and learn from, someone I felt aligned with. My instincts were right.

Being a woman in my profession has been…

…the only experience I’ve ever had. Fortunately, I’ve never felt that my good days or bad days at the office had anything to do with being a woman.

I’ve learned that failure is…

… healthy and productive in small doses if you allow yourself to learn from your mistakes.

I maintain a healthy personal life by…

… remembering that New York Life has been successful for over 170 years, most of that time without me. I don’t let what I do define who I am. I am a wife, mother, daughter, and friend.

I knew my present career was what I wanted to do when…

… I realized that I was having a unique and meaningful impact on something I cared about, while working with people whose values I respected.