Don’t be afraid to take risks in your career and say yes to new opportunities. BlackRock’s Country Head for Canada, Marcia Moffat, has enjoyed a long and successful career (and it’s far from over!) spanning a multitude of sectors.
Today, Marcia talks to us about her career journey, advice for embracing a ‘risk’ mindset, and the importance of a diverse and inclusive work culture.
Embrace opportunity by taking a risk on something new
“Without risk, there is no possibility of growth,” advises Marcia. “There is no possibility of advancement, and no possibility of finding out that you’re capable of more than you think. Being open to opportunity and then actually taking the opportunity is not comfortable. The outcome is not guaranteed, but it will make for a lifetime of learning.
Believe me, I have fallen on my face many times - figuratively, not literally - and have gotten good at picking myself up, dusting myself off, learning something from the experience and then continuing forward,” Marcia reflects.
Marcia has made some significant career transitions and each one has been “uncomfortable” she says. Marcia has gone from being a biologist, to a lawyer, to an investment banker, to running businesses in financial services, to running her own business, to her current role as a Country Head for a global asset manager. She has lived and worked in Hong Kong, the U.S., Europe and, of course, Canada.
If you think that sounds random or disparate - it’s not. She’s not saying that she always had a carefully laid out 5, 10 or 15-year career plan. What drove this trajectory was Marcia’s openness to continuously challenge herself and be open to learning and growth.
“You really need to know yourself, what you enjoy doing and where your skills lie to guide your career towards the right opportunities. Make a list of the work attributes and environments you like, so you can make good decisions when an opportunity comes up,” Marcia advises.
And, in terms of preparing for unfamiliar challenges, Marcia suggests: “You have to get comfortable with the fact that you won’t be the subject matter expert in your new role. That means you must prepare for a steep learning curve, and also remind yourself that they hired you knowing you come from a different place and they value the skillset you bring.”
A diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace is mission critical
Marcia points out that the long-term sustainability of BlackRock is heavily dependent on their people. And as such, they make a deliberate effort to foster a unifying culture, to encourage innovation, to ensure that they are developing, retaining and recruiting the best talent, to align employee incentives and risk taking with those of the firm, and to incorporate diversity, equity and inclusion into all levels of their business. Specifically, on gender, Marcia talked about BlackRock’s commitment to increasing senior female representation to 32.5% by 2024 globally.
“We’re encouraged by the progress being made but recognize that there is still more work to be done. We know that a diverse workforce is indispensable to our creativity and success, notes Marcia. “It’s how we answer the biggest questions and solve the toughest problems. An inclusive, equitable environment makes us thrive. It enables us to draw on expertise and unique experiences from across the firm and bring out the best in each other.”