Executive Vice President; Director, Citibank Client Services

Who in your family had the most impact on your success? My mother has been the most influential person in my life. I grew up in inner-city Philadelphia, in a primarily single parent household—my mother raised my sister and me. As I entered my teenage years, I clearly remember my mother telling me that I would soon face a critical choice in my life. Give in to the temptations of “the street” and increase the risk of a life, and potential, unfulfilled, or stay focused on the path of education, enlightenment, and a spiritual center that could absolutely lead to a full and enriched life. And the magic of Mom wasn’t lectures, punishment, or a rule book. She quite simply established a compelling vision for our futures, made it clear that failing to pursue one’s full potential is a tragedy, and modeled a level of class, dignity, humility, and spiritual connection that has been foundational to my journey ever since. I’m often asked where I learned to connect with people… where I picked up my intellectual curiosity… why I appear to have an endless capacity to work and engage… etc. All of these learnings and life skills came from Mom. I may have lost her in 1993, but the blessings of having her in my life still flow each and every day.

What advice can you provide for young leaders? My experience has convinced me that being an effective leader is highly dependent upon a few key dimensions:

Connect, Engage, & Be Real: It’s absolutely critical to know your people beyond a superficial level.
Be interested in who they are, where they’re going, and their unique needs. And close the distance between
you and your team. Invite them in and be real.

Be Professionally Credible: Whatever your business, know your craft inside-out. Be strategic in your thinking,
intimate with your details, and crystal clear in your business plan.

Be “Present” In Every Interaction: There is amazing power in truly focusing on your team when engaging. Practice being 100% in the moment—listening, connecting, acknowledging. And try this goal: have your people feel like they are the only person on earth in the moment, and that their issue/concern is the only thing on your mind that day. Have an Inspiring and Actionable Vision: Help your people understand that they’re engaged in meaningful work, and you’re on a journey to an important place.

Master the Art of Communicating: Be prepared, be intelligent, be relevant—while simultaneously being real and human. And understand that each moment represents an opportunity to reinforce a message and drive behaviors.

Headquarters: New York City
Web site: www.citigroup.com
Primary Business: Financial services
Employees: 280,000