Written By: Ly Phan
The first keynote speaker at our conference this past weekend was Yvonne Garcia. She is the SVP, Global Head of Client Solutions Group and Program Management Office (PMO), State Street Corporation and National Chairwoman, Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA). She is a Global Corporate Leader, a National Civic Leader and an impactful change agent. As the Global Head of Client Solutions and PMO at State Street Corporation. In that role, Yvonne develops solutions for Fortune 100 companies in the financial sector by delivering superior service to clients and deploying cutting-edge technology and operational processes, and delivering complex consulting engagements for existing and potential State Street clients. Yvonne leads a high performing global team that provides end to end services to clients from deal structures that yield optimal solutions to conversions onto State Street industry leading platforms.
Not only is Yvonne a successful business woman, she is also an athlete. So far, she has ran 7 marathons. Through her marathon running experience, she took away a lesson that she shared with the audience: “appreciate the journey, life is not a race”. With such takeaway, she goes on to talk about her education and work background. She took her MBA at BU where she was introduced to “a notion of team effort” which is exactly how corporate America works. At BU, Yvonne also learned how to work with a diverse group of people. According to her, learning to work in a diverse environment, maintaining a common set of values and compromising make a better leader.
Realizing that she was missing abroad experience in her resume, Yvonne took an offer to move to China for her company project. She wasn’t the first choice for that position but that experience taught her some lessons that she shared with us:
- It’s ok to be plan B sometimes
- It’s crucial to have a partner who wants to see you succeed as much as you do
- You need to act quickly when an opportunity presents
- Early on in your career, take bigger risks to make the most of all opportunities
About being a woman in corporate America, she shared that she always prepare a lot and try to add value with her opinion. In such business context, she acknowledges that women need to fight a little harder to gain respect. But she also told our audience to “never feel the need to be a dude” to survive. Her lessons are:
- Conduct yourself with class
- Be yourself, don’t let anyone define who you are and how you behave
- Be genuine
- Network by nurturing relationships
- Be a good person, care about people.
It all comes back to being a genuine authentic leader.
To conclude her speech, she reminds the conference participants to keep life in perspective. “There’s nothing that will stop you. You may not succeed the first time but come back and try harder.”