Claiming Her Seat at the Table
By Lola Arellano-Fryer
Earlier this year, Jeannette Torres was named one of the 50 Most Powerful Latinas in Business. She currently serves as the Global Head of Investor Services for BNY Mellon, a position she assumed in 2015 after moving through the company in several different leadership roles. For Torres, this role comes with an important responsibility: to be a role model and champion for Latinos and women building their careers in the financial sector.
The Best Advice Jeanette Torres Ever Received
Torres’s advice for Latinas in corporate america is the same advice she was given early in her career: don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone. “Personal and professional growth only happens when we take on new challenges,” she says. Whether taking on a new role or developing a new skill, these challenges will help open pathways to career advancement.
The financial world is developing apace with the speed of technology, Torres says, making it a dynamic and exciting place to work. The services and products BNY Mellon, and other financial companies, can offer to clients is constantly evolving, and this trend is showing no sign of slowing. The rapid pace of change presents a wealth of exciting challenges.
Being a Latina working in the financial sector also comes with a unique set of challenges. Often, she will find herself being the only woman, and the only Latina, in the room. For Torres, this lack of diversity requires change at both an individual and systemic level: both taking and making places at the table.
Torres attained her current role thanks to a mentor who helped open the opportunity to her, as well as gave her the confidence to seize it. Given this personal experience, she is quick to recognize the potential impact she can have as a mentor to others. Leading by example is also essential, she believes. “It’s important to… have integrity and be transparent and honest,” she says. “A leader who has these qualities will inspire and motivate people.”
Even though opportunities for women in corporate America have grown steadily for the past 30 years, Torres says, there still aren’t enough women occupying corporate leadership roles. Growing that number is essential, since it empowers more women to impact and shift the corporate landscape. Diversity is an asset for companies, enabling progress and innovation. “We see time and time again that the best ideas come from a team that has a diverse footprint,” Torres says. She appreciates that BNY Mellon is committed to diversity. The company’s large size creates opportunities for networking and growth, creating advancement potential for a diverse group of people.
So what’s it like to be one of the 50 Most Powerful Latinas in America? For Torres, it’s enabled her to forge new connections and given her additional resources for seeking advice and sourcing new talent. In other words, it’s provided her even more chances to foster a new generation of Latinas in finance.