Cristina M. Morgan on Her Relationship with Her Phone

The Vice Chairman of Investment Banking at JPMorgan shares the first thing she does when she gets out of bed.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Cristina M. Morgan: Check email and texts and deal with whatever is easy. I then re-send the ones that are important but need thought back to myself so it gets on top of the pile.

TG: What gives you energy?
CM: My clients. I finance entrepreneurs — the coolest people in the world.

TG: What’s your secret life hack?
CM: Don’t feel like you have to do everything as suggested — push back and tell them what works for you, rather than what doesn’t. You’ll be surprised how often they will move things to accommodate you.

TG: Name a book that changed your life.
CM: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
CM: Nope, don’t sleep with the phone.

TG: How do you deal with email? 
CM: I deal with email by answering it as fast as possible.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
CM: Check all inputs — email, texts, Facebook, news services…..I love input.

TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
CM: Don’t relate to the concept.

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it? 
CM: I couldn’t do anything to change the lousy outcome of my husband’s cancer. I will never overcome that one.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
CM: I have a bunch of them:
“It’s not about how much you work. It’s about when you work and who decides when.” — Jessica Herrin
“Never regret anything that made you smile”. — Mark Twain
“Until you make the unconscious, conscious, it will direct your life, and you will call it fate.” — Carl Jung
“If one door closes, quit trying to open it. If it’s locked, quit banging on it. Some doors close for a reason. Look forward to the next door opening for you.” — unknown.
“The half-life of love is forever. — Junot Diaz

Cristina began her investment banking career with Hambrecht & Quist 34 years ago, as an Enterprise Software Research Analyst after five years of computer industry experience that included Memorex and Qume Corporation. She transferred to Investment Banking in 1985 and was named a Managing Director of the firm in 1990. Cristina served as Co- Director of Global Technology Investment Banking from 1992 until April 2001, when she was named a Vice Chairman. H&Q went public in 1996, was acquired by Chase Manhattan Bank in 2000 and then merged with JPMorgan in 2001. She serves on the California Operating Committee of JPMorgan.

Cristina has served on the Board of Directors of Frame Technology, Visigenic Software and Evoke Software. She has been recognized by Working Woman magazine as one of the “Top Ten Women in Technology,” Town & Country magazine as one of “The Wonder Women of Silicon Valley,” Worth magazine as one of “The Bay Area’s Most Powerful Investment Bankers,” Fortune Magazine as one of “America’s 50 Most Powerful Women,” and “Financial Woman of the Year” by the Financial Women’s Association. Cristina is a frequent panelist and speaker at technology and IPO forums.

Cristina was born in Florence, Italy to a U.S. military family, attended university in Beirut, Lebanon and received a B.S. and a M.B.A. from Arizona State University. She lives in Atherton, California.

Originally published at

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