What is your experience in a characteristically masculine profession?
I have never had a problem being a woman in banking. The only moment you feel the difference is when you become a mother. To keep the same momentum, you must reorganise and find a new equilibrium. It takes time, energy and strong commitment.
How do you keep that equilibrium?
The golden question! My husband, my mother, my network of fellow working mums and I juggle and share the school run and afterschool activities. My kids know that I have to travel. If I’m away a lot one week, I’ll try to be home the next week. And the 8pm conference calls have had to stop.
How do you build your professional network?
When I first meet someone, I prefer to ask what I can do for them rather than what they can do for me. It could be an introduction to someone in my network, an idea, a different view on a problem. I’ve made several introductions who have then gone on to do business together. People usually guard their connections, but it’s far more powerful to share them.
What inspired you to take this approach?
Two years ago I read Adam Grant’s book called Give and Take. It’s about giving to your network not just asking or taking. It completely changed the way I do business and now I know I can count on a strong network. It’s a mistake to take all the time. It is not the right way to develop a book of business.
Do people return the favour?
I receive a lot, not necessarily from the same people who I give to. But I know that after 6 months or a year, they will still remember me.
Do you consider yourself successful?
At Pictet we keep a low-profile. Personally, I don’t think success is linked to the money you earn, the number of lines written about you in the media or the size of your network. Albert Einstein said “Try not to become a person of success, but rather try to become someone of value”, this is the success I work towards.
Follow Alessandra on Twitter: @ale_losito