Women In Finance: “Although we must hire the best person for the role, we must overreach to talk to people that we may not normally consider”, With Mastercard’s Ginger Siegel

An Interview With Jason Hartman

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As someone who has hired many people in their career, I know how important it is to hire the best person for the role. But we must always over index on ensuring that there is a very diverse slate of candidates, that we overreach to talk to people that we may not normally consider and focus on traits that are both hard and soft skills.

I had the pleasure to interview Ginger Siegel. Ginger is the North America Small Business Lead for Mastercard. Most recently she was a Senior Manager in the Financial Services group in Deloitte where she was a member of the highly ranked Payments Practice and also focused on Fintech and Bank Partnerships, Small Business and Commercial Banking opportunities in the areas of strategy development, process design and operation model transformation. She brings 30 years of industry leadership experience as an executive at large multinational and regional banks in the areas of Small Business, Business Banking and retail with a focus on Strategy, leading execution, Payments, Treasury Management, Sales Force Optimization, Branch Optimization and Revenue Growth. In addition to roles such as Small Business/Business Banking Director at Citigroup, she built out the Small Business branch strategy for SunTrust’s 1500 branch network and led Treasury Management in the Small/Business Banking space at PNC. Her focus on people development, training and optimizing results through positive change management has helped the institutions she has worked in to obtain needed results in a people-oriented environment. Her passion is to create overall revenue growth, drive customer acquisition and create strategy and bridge to execution.

Thank you so much for joining us Ginger. It’s delight to have you with us. Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Banking/Finance field?

It’s actually a very interesting and strange backstory. I was working as a pharmaceutical representative calling on doctors to teach them about different medications to help their clients. I received a call from an executive recruiter who said that a large financial institution was looking for someone with healthcare background to start a healthcare division calling on doctors and dentists. It turned out to be Citigroup, and I got the job!

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

In one of my roles leading small business for a large financial institution, I was hired to start a small business organization from scratch — and had less than a year to hire 500 small business bankers! In case you were already doing the math in your head — yes, that is about 45 a month. Talk about a daunting task. We brought in 30 recruiters and hit that number in the allotted time frame. What it taught me is that maniacal focus is critical to achieve anything worth achieving. And focus breeds success!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We are currently working on one of the most exciting endeavors of my career. At Mastercard, we have embarked on a needs-based, customer-centric approach to building out solutions to help our partners like banks enable small business owners to operate their businesses efficiently and safely. We have announced partnerships with Intuit, Itemize and Salesforce Essentials to provide discounts to small business owners who have a Mastercard. These tools and solutions truly help small businesses run their business and focus on thriving. It is an honor to help small businesses who, by the way, employ the majority of people in the U.S. at over 58 million, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy!

Wall Street and Finance used to be an “all white boys club”. This has changed a lot recently. In your opinion, what caused this change?

I truly believe that when Wall Street and the world of finance opened their eyes to the amazing knowledge, empathy, creativity and desire of women to help change the world, they realized they had to utilize the tremendous resources that are women.

Of course, despite the progress, we still have a lot more work to do to achieve parity. According to this report in CNBC, less than 17 percent of senior positions in investment banks are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support this movement going forward?

As someone who has hired many people in their career, I know how important it is to hire the best person for the role. But we must always over index on ensuring that there is a very diverse slate of candidates, that we overreach to talk to people that we may not normally consider and focus on traits that are both hard and soft skills.

Let’s now turn to a slightly new topic. According to this report in Fortune, nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t pass a basic test of financial literacy. In your opinion or experience what is the cause of these unfortunate numbers? If you had the power to make a change, what 3 things would you recommend to improve these numbers?

These numbers are definitely unfortunate. Sadly enough, I believe that the skills of managing money and finances overall are not taught in school, and most parents do not spend the time to impart the bad things that can happen if money is incorrectly managed. What’s more, allowance is given and spent with not enough discussion around the power of budgeting and spending what you have or less vs. all of it or more.

So, I would say education, real life learning through actually working with someone on budgeting, and most importantly — reading. Read, read, read about money, investing and the power of self-sufficiency.

You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non intuitive things one should do to become more financially literate, what would you say?

  1. Read incessantly
  2. Study the lives of successful people
  3. Focus on the future more than the present in terms of money
  4. It’s okay for people to call you cheap if you’re saving
  5. You need a lot less than you think you do

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

When I was in college, I had the honor of being the founding member of a key student business leadership group. At that time, we brought in an amazing speaker whose company put products in movies. I remember so well that when I asked him how to achieve success in business, he said that there were two routes — via sales or marketing — and that those two were critical skills that would open so many doors. He was right — and they did!

Can you please give us your favorite ”Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop!” I wake up every day with a profound sense of urgency that pushes me every minute — I can’t stop and won’t stop driving to success, helping pull up others, learning from those that came before me and helping those who do not have the advantages that others do. Though I have to admit…sometimes I do get tired!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be?

Drive the learning of skills to enable ability and success. I truly believe in the adage, “to give a fish they eat for a day, but teach them to fish they eat for a lifetime.”

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