Meredith Executive Director/Vice President, Brand Marketing Executive Office division, New York
The more you can be open and say "yes" to things, no matter how big or how small, the more opportunities will continue to surface. It’s all about paths to yes, instead of reasons to say no.
I received my B.A. from Northwestern University, with a double major in Communications and Sociology.
Working in the Executive Office
I work in the Brand Marketing Group, focusing on social and digital media across the firm. Social media is something the financial industry has only recently embraced, but it’s quickly becoming a key component of our firm’s communication strategy. We’re using various social platforms for communicating with many important audiences. For example, we now have Twitter handles for recruits and for people interested in following our 10,000 Women program.
Day to day, I work with people in different parts of the firm to grow our presence across social platforms, evolve the way we communicate in these channels, and spread social media awareness and education to our colleagues.
Getting Started at Goldman Sachs
A couple of things stand out to me about my first months here. One is the respect for the validity and value of ideas, no matter where they come from. I was asked for my input and opinion from the day I started, even though I didn’t have that much background at the firm or in traditional marketing. I was also allowed to gradually take on more responsibility—something that made me feel both nervous and capable.
I was also impressed by the way our firm prizes quality and thoroughness over speed, despite the second-to-second pace of our broader industry and environment. I came from the very fast-moving, deadline-driven media world. At Goldman, there is a more comprehensive approach to execution; we share and get buy-in for ideas, ask others for input and consider all angles before diving in. That helps us produce better work and ensure that what we’re working on really adds value—in my team's case, we want to substantively add to the dialogue going on in a media landscape that can at times seem filled with white noise.
Without the collaborative DNA of this firm, my job would be impossible. By design, the discussion and implementation of Goldman’s social media efforts requires input from many different divisions, from Technology to Compliance to Legal. I have the chance to collaborate and solve problems with many different colleagues and teams every day, which makes for a very thorough and rigorous work process. We’re always learning from each other, improving our approach and working towards best practices.
I think mentors are especially important in your first few years in the working world. They can play a critically important role as sounding boards for our professional life—similar to the teachers, parents and coaches that helped us through our formative years.
Finding the right mentor is sometimes challenging in a place where everyone is perpetually busy and has their own work, team and goals to focus on. What stands out to me at Goldman is that anyone is willing to give you some of their time. By seeking out opportunities to meet colleagues whom you wouldn’t otherwise interact with in your role or division, you give yourself the chance to find as many mentors as you can handle. Anyone will have a coffee with you, share their thoughts and try to give you the counsel and context to help you navigate decisions both big and small.
Raise your hand. Goldman Sachs is all about momentum—how you can help build it, harness it, and direct it. Sometimes junior people in large organizations feel like they don’t have much sway, but the opposite is true here, if you’re willing to lean into it. Whether that means suggesting a new idea or process, offering to help out a team with a project or simply driving projects and tasks forward effectively, your initiative will be rewarded.
Be open to whatever is thrown your way. Often we have preconceived notions of what we should be doing, working on, contributing to—but everything can serve you in different ways. The more you can be open and say "yes" to things, no matter how big or how small, the more opportunities will continue to surface. It’s all about paths to yes, instead of reasons to say no.
Prepare to be wholly present at work. Physically, psychologically, intellectually—you will be collaborating with others for almost the entire day, in meetings and other forums. Your days will be full, interactive and fast-paced. If you put your whole self into whatever you’re working on, you’ll get much more out of it. You’ll learn more, develop stronger relationships and you'll feel a greater sense of achievement and fulfillment.
Outside the Office
I spend a lot of my time outside of the office with my friends and family – after living and working abroad by myself for a couple of years after college, I realized how important the people in my life are to me, so I try to see them as much as I can. Whether I’m trying a new workout, having dinner at favorite restaurant, or testing a new cookie recipe, I’m probably with one of my friends or family.