Advice: Lisa Donnelly, Operations Division, London

27 JUN 2018

Lisa Donnelly, a managing director in our Operations Division, is head of EMEA Operations and based in our London office.  Lisa is co-sponsor of the Warsaw Women's Network, an employee affinity group.  Here she shares five pieces of advice that she would give her younger self:

1. You never know where it might lead. Be open-minded and take a few calculated risks with opportunities that come your way. The best thing I did by far for my career was moving to India for six years (with my two very young children). Living and working in a different part of the world taught me so much, introduced me to a whole new network, and helped me grow as a leader.

2. Breathe and enjoy the view.  Earlier in my career, I used to be in such a rush to do everything - to pack it all in. I was proud of having a schedule that ran "back to back". But my role in Operations is varied and fast-paced, and issues can and do come up at a moment's notice. I had to train myself to slow down in order to make better decisions, be more considerate of the people around me, and frankly enjoy my work a lot more. I now block time out to deal with the "expected unexpected" - which allows me to run towards problems and work with my team to find solutions for our business and make things better.

3. Aptitude multiplied by attitude equals success.  Enthusiasm really is infectious. Of course, working at Goldman Sachs requires high levels of energy and focus, and there will be times you’re feeling a bit flat or unmotivated. A manager once told me to take time out when that happens; it is very hard to perform well if you’re not feeling or operating on top form.

4. “Bouncebackability” is a must.  We all get disappointed from time to time when it comes to career objectives, honestly it happens to everyone. When it happened to me, I got some great advice: people would take note of my reaction — and whether it showed maturity and perspective (or not...). Dealing with temporary setbacks rationally is so important to achieving your long-term goals.

5. Phone a friend. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether it’s on a challenging project where you need more minds on it to get to the right answer, or something personally that may be affecting you at work. In my experience, people love to be asked for advice, and they tend to be generous with their time and assistance. Beyond that, the firm has so many great resources available for its people.