Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
Hi! My name is Chantele Pereira and I am on this sometimes confusing but phenomenal journey to discovering myself, defining my purpose, developing my brand and achieving my full potential. I started on this journey during the pandemic and looking back, if I did not take that leap of faith to invest in myself, I would still be stuck. I am not there yet but I embrace so many possibilities about next steps in my career and I am grateful for all the amazing people who I have met on that journey and who have supported me and continue to do so.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
My favorite experience, after being with the Ellevate Network for more than two years now, is my first Squad experience. I had not experienced a Squad previously and I decided to be bold and chose a goal that I had not even done my homework on. I was paired with a fantastic Squad led by an awesome Squad Mod (Tami Chapek)! I still have the notes from all the great advice and support I received from that squad and I won't forget the energy, enthusiasm and support from every person on that Squad.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
Empathy; Vulnerability; Courage; Collaborative mindset; Open to Learning; Resilience. I am passionate about leading people and understanding what motivates people, what challenges them and supporting them 100% requires empathy and vulnerability. As I look back, all my roles have been ones where I have needed to be brave enough to challenge, question and sometimes convey not such great news and still remain objective; it takes some grit and courage. I don't have all the answers and I know I cannot deliver on my team's or function's objectives without collaborating with other teams, people in the business and being a trusted and reliable business partner. I learn every day; from opportunities on the job, from my team, from people around me and through formal learning (currently doing a Masters in Cybercrime). An open mind and willingness to learn is essential to my development as a person and a leader. Life deals you hard blows sometimes and building up resilience to weather the storms has brought me a long way.
What are some career challenges on your radar?
'What's next?' is a question that comes to my mind after spending a few years in a role; I am always looking to challenge myself and not be complacent even if I am not ready to make that move yet. Until you take the next step for e.g. get the next role, it feels like you are at a crossroad and it can be unsettling. I am also learning that its not all bad to explore different opportunities to recognize the varied skills and experience you bring to the table so you are not seen only for the role you performed in your last job.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
If you asked me if I knew I would be where I am today, the answer would be a big NO. I trained to be a Chartered Accountant with a Big Four firm in India and after a year of qualification, I relocated to Dubai, UAE to work with another Big Four firm in the audit function. After a few years, I grew bored and transferred to the forensic function in the firm. I absolutely loved the work and the scale and variety of each engagement ranging from fraud investigations to dispute arbitrations to contract compliance work. There was never a dull moment. Some of us in the team had an opportunity to join the forensic function in another Big Four firm and we jumped at it; it gave us a broader region (Middle East and Africa) in which to play and I traveled extensively for work related engagements to Kenya, Yemen, South Africa, Tunisia, Lebanon etc. After about five years of travel, I was looking for a role outside consulting which would involve less travel and my current employer (one of my clients at the time) were looking for someone with my experience and background in their Assurance function and I joined the bank. I worked in Dubai for two years (continuing to travel quite extensively this time to Hong Kong, the UK, Singapore and the US) and I relocated to NY to head the team in the Americas region.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The first is leading my team and inspiring them to achieve their full potential. I have regular 1:1 catch-ups and the best part of the conversation is when they tell me all the different things they are doing to meet the stretch goals they set themselves. I can see their eyes light up. The second is leading two mentorship programs at my organization; one within the bank for junior grades and the other for students at John Jay College in NY. Both programs are managed outside of the formal HR work stream although we have regular touch points with HR during the year. Both of our program teams are passionate about what we do, spend time outside of our day jobs and learn immensely from our participation in the program.
What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?
As someone who was passionate about her work and showed up fully and also someone who supported her team and the people around her to achieve their full potential.
What is your morning ritual?
Even before the pandemic, my mornings start with 7 am calls (if not earlier) on at least 3 if not 4 days of the week. I found it is important for me to get time to myself before I start my work day so I try and wake up at least an hour before my earliest call. I start with drinking hot water with a slice of lemon followed by some push ups and some breathing exercises I learned from doing yoga. I try and do this even when I am traveling and on vacation. If I cannot wake up an hour before, I skip the breathing exercises but I cannot do without the push ups and the hot water and lemon.
What does success look like to you?
I consider myself successful today with how far I have come but as I continue to evolve as a person, I know what I consider success today will be different in a few months or years from now.
To me, ultimately it means fulfilling my purpose and achieving my potential and I am not there yet.
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
I have the privilege of being able to manage at least 50% of my own calendar. When I do have control of my own calendar, I schedule breaks and work that energizes me. I understand myself better and I know when I am most productive to plan for and complete those herculean tasks. I have accepted that some days will be the crazy non-stop back to back days they are and I have also learned to say 'thank you for thinking of me for this opportunity but the timing does not work for me'.
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