Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
My name is Conny and I studied Banking and Finance and spend the last 15+ years in financial institutions, working my way up the ranks. In 2020, I was given the opportunity to ask myself what I want to do and I decided to challenge myself and leave my position and switch to the biotech industry. Being in San Francisco, I always felt I wanted to be a part of a really fast paced and fast growing company - something traditional finance definitely is not - and I am extremely fortunate that the CEO of my current company thought we would be a good fit. I get to use my skills supporting top management and being part of a very inspiring team with great ambitions. There were definitely times in between jobs where I was asking myself if I made the right decision and quite honestly, it was a gamble, considering the upheaval each and everyone is going through this year and felt safe to make this decision because I had a financial cushion. Every day at my new job is a challenge - getting to know new people (via zoom only), a new structure, a new business model. There is a point where you ask yourself: am I at the point where I have worked hard enough and now is the time to take it easy and coast - or is now the time where I give it one more full force effort to try something completely different and push out of the comfort zone. There are no right or wrong answers - you need to do you. I chose what felt right and true for me.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
I originally became a member because I knew that I needed to be exposed to a broader and more diverse group of people. I was hungry to get new insights but from a point of view that is relatable. My first Squad (Spring 2020) was fantastic. Everyone was at a cross road and really giving their honest opinion during our very thoughtful hot seat sessions. Quite honestly, the Squad believing in me made it easier to take the plunge and go for it with my new career. And looking at each of their LinkedIn profiles, I can see they made big changes as well....we were meant to cross paths and uplift each other. Anna, Sierra, Ying, Brigitte, Catherine, Keisha: thank you!
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
My line of work is all about people skills, attention to details and a desire to help. I am not a decision maker per se, but I am the enabler to the decision maker. With my help, they can focus on their task at hand and their vision. No task is ever to small and my position allows me to see the innermost workings and interactions of a company.
What is one of your most memorable career accomplishments?
I would say the trust I earned from each of my bosses which turned into opportunities along the way and being considered a thought partner by a CEO is pretty memorable in my book.
What are some career challenges on your radar?
There are quite a few hang-ups on our profession - it is constantly evolving but unfortunately peoples' perceptions are not (or not as fast). I think that is the hardest part, knowing the value you can bring to a team but it not being recognized as such. But I believe that by consistently demonstrating what we have to offer - it will not get unnoticed.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
I am where I am at today because of seeing opportunities and taking them, working hard and taking on new challenges when presented and constantly challenging the status quo. Coming from Germany I started out as a sales assistant at a Wall Street firm but through tirelessly learning and asking questions and being curious about understanding the bigger picture I was able to join a team on their trading desk - trading bonds and equities. From there I took a deliberate step to join the "buy-side", supporting a CEO of an international quant investment manager. I never though about "staying in my lane", I offered to help and work on several projects and always looked for ways of streamlining processes and making things more efficient, staying one step ahead and anticipate needs - showcasing my skills that way through various CEO transitions I was able to take on more responsibilities and build a partnership with each of them.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part is knowing that I can support my boss and my team independently and self-sufficiently and that they feel comfortable leaving things in my care and trust me enough to make decisions for them and the company on their behalf. It takes time to earn that level of trust, but I am here for it.
What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?
I love mentoring others and stressing the importance of understanding the bigger picture and how things/departments/processes/teams are interconnected and benefit from each other. I hope to inspire others to be a generalist, breaking down silos and embracing new methods of learning and doing.
Who are your role models?
I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with very strong women in very traditional male industries throughout my professional life. Their way of approaching work despite the glass ceiling - being strong and determined but not loose what makes them unique has left a big impression on me and helped me understand that you create change not by conforming but by following your own path with determination and kindness.
What is your morning ritual?
My morning ritual is I have none, aside from making a cup of coffee and enjoying that while watching my neighborhood come alive in the morning.
What would you say your personal superpower is?
I would say my personal superpower is that I am very adaptable, understanding how people work and their personalities. Being a true partner means working with their energy and adapt my communication and interaction style accordingly to maximize effectiveness.
What is the best career advice you ever received?
Stay hungry - never become complacent with what you have. Enjoy and embrace being different from everyone else.
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