Advice from Ida Hoghooghi, Executive Office Division

16 AUG 2019

Ida Hoghooghi, who oversees the internal and external communications of Goldman Sachs’ chairman and chief executive officer, shares five pieces of advice that she would give her younger self:

  1. The proof is in the pudding. You need to do well at your job to be tapped for your next one. And when you take a new role, you'll have to work even harder to catch up and make an impact. Study until you understand the "language" of your new colleagues, and ask them early on for opportunities to practice and get feedback in a safe zone.
  2. Be global, multi-faceted  and humble. Working abroad can be transformative and grounding. I spent a few years in Paris after law school before returning to New York, and also worked in Hong Kong for a brief stint after joining Goldman Sachs, and for me those experiences crystallized the value of learning from colleagues – about their backgrounds and cultures, the dynamics of their teams, the depth and breadth of their responsibilities, etc. Spending time abroad is also a powerful – and healthy – reminder of how important it is to avoid a US-centric perspective in how we go about our jobs.   
  3. Put yourself in other people’s shoes. Everybody works differently. Be flexible in meetings, and adjust your agenda based on participants’ mood or receptivity by reading the room. Go in knowing the two or three things that will make the meeting successful in your view and in the attendees’ view – if you touch on those items over the course of the discussion, how the meeting unfolds (e.g., the sequence of topics or whether or not people follow the materials) doesn’t matter as much. 
  5. Something’s gotta give. No one can do everything, so when it comes to work/life balance, know what your breaking points are and how you can manage them, and learn that you have to take charge and ownership of your priorities. Think about what matters to you at work and in your personal life, find your balance by being self-aware and calibrate your approach through trial and error. 
  6. A positive attitude is a real differentiator. Bring your energy and enthusiasm to a project or meeting, as your attitude can really set the tone for you and your colleagues to be efficient, effective and even have fun. Yes, we all have bad days, bad weeks and sometimes even bad months, and that’s OK. But try to live for the day, not for the weekend, by taking a step back and enjoying the work you’re doing with your colleagues. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to try and do that every day.