Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
I manage Capital One's External Affairs team, which engages with our outside stakeholders.
Our company loves meetings, so interacting with my team and my colleagues across the enterprise is a big part of my day. We meet to discuss the most significant opportunities and challenges facing our company, and its relationships with the external constituencies that influence what we do. That includes government officials, the media, community leaders and, of course, our customers. Given the scope of our role, we tend to be involved in just about everything going on at the company.
It is critical that you like working in a team setting, and that you are willing and able to listen and respect other peoples' opinions. We often talk about the "wisdom of the crowds" here - every voice matters and every one should feel comfortable speaking up and offering their own viewpoints. The only conditions are that you do so politely, with an eye toward solving the problem at hand, and that you do your homework. The more you know about an issue, the better your input can be.
Here's the first step for professionals
You have to be open to new or different opportunities. I began my career in a very specialized area of the law, but soon learned that the substance of what I was working on had the potential to be much more impactful on the company. I did bank regulation, and banks are very highly regulated. That meant educating people across the company about the strategic importance of regulation, and how it impacts their work. I was able to build relationships and credibility that set me up for new roles.
"I was told it was crazy to quit a paying job for an internship. I was told English majors were unemployable. I was told government jobs were a dead end, and that regulatory work was boring. I was told that the secret to success is following the herd."
Do what you love, but do it well. Your major doesn't matter if you can prove that you are willing to work hard and get good grades. There are no small roles - everything and everyone can have an impact if you understand why what you do is important to your organization. Make it your mission to help others understand that. Speak your mind, but leave it open to new ideas and viewpoints. Always be grounded and respectful of the people you interact with.
My parents emigrated from Cuba after the revolution - they lost everything and had to start over in a new country. It gave me the perspective to know that nothing is permanent, but everything can be overcome. Their journey gave me hope, not fear.