Jodi Love, Pod Leader of the Week

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Jodi is a Managing Director and an Equity Research Analyst at Jennison Associates.

Jodi was previously at Balyasny Asset Management, where she was a senior equity analyst for consumer retail. She began her career as an investment banking analyst at J.P. Morgan Securities.

Jodi received a BA with first class honors from McGill University and an AAS in applied science and fashion merchandising management with highest honors from the Fashion Institute of Technology.

What about your career has surprised you the most?

Being in New York City really did open my eyes to so many different career opportunities that I didn’t know existed when I grew up in Canada.  I didn’t know what “a job in finance” meant when I was growing up, and now this is the career I have been in for almost my entire working life!   I love that all my different experiences have been incremental to what I do now – which combines my love for retailing and investing!  Every day, I try to understand where my weaknesses are and figure out how to build skills and gain knowledge which will help me invest better and adapt quickly to the ever changing world of retailing and investing.    

What about the future excites you?
 The new ideas/businesses/services/time savers that entrepreneurs will come up with to help my life in ways that I haven’t even dreamed up yet or know I need!!

What about the future scares you?
Goodness, this list could be endless!  My children getting hurt or getting lost, global warming, the unintended consequences of technology at the expense of human interaction, a global health epidemic, being fearful of the times we live in  … I think I’ll stop now.

 Which book has had the most significant impact on your life and why?
There are so many books that have impacted me!  One of the more recent in the past few years is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.  There were so many reasons I loved this book – from my personal past as the grandchild of a Holocaust survivor and as someone who deeply loves to read this book is filled with amazing (and sometimes confusing topics – radio technology and carbon bonds??) prose and complex passages.  

I could not do as good a job explaining why its impact on me was so deep as the author – so I will let him explain in his own words: “The title is also a metaphorical suggestion that there are countless invisible stories still buried within World War II — that stories of ordinary children, for example, are a kind of light we do not typically see. Ultimately, the title is intended as a suggestion that we spend too much time focused on only a small slice of the spectrum of possibility."  The book helps remind me both personally and professionally to continually dig beneath the top layer of a person, conversation, business problem, stock idea, or question as there are so many little things that you can learn that aren't visible right away.  It also is a reminder to me to remember how far we have come in what is actually not that long a period of time in history.  It makes me reflect on my past and reminds me that even though the world we live in today is far from perfect, of all the progress we have made as a society and as human beings.

 

What tool do you use everyday that is invaluable

My Iphones (yes, plural)!  Lifesaver in terms of being able to be in constant communication work wise and personally.  I feel that mainly for the better (although yes, sometimes it’s stressful) being able to be in constant communication with my office or home means I don’t have to be physically sitting at my desk all the time (or vice versa) and I have the flexibility to stay in touch from anywhere.

 What does the word power mean to you?
 Power to me means influence and impact.  Power comes from having the ability to make changes and influence others to make change.  Having the positive ability to impact whatever is in your sphere and create meaningful value is powerful.

 If you woke up and had X emails and could only answer X (ever) , how would you choose which ones to answer?
I'll focus on my work email as I have a separate personal email for family and friends.  I first focus on any email from any of my portfolio managers since they are the most important and typically require action.  I answer those first.  I then scroll through to see what news and research is out on my specific portfolio investments and put those in a second tier.  Thirdly, I read emails that have comprehensive recaps of all the news overnight in the consumer discretionary space globally.  Then, if I had any remaining emails left, I would respond to any emails about upcoming meetings or scheduling related. Keeping my personal and work emails separate is not only good for compliance purposes (!) but also because if a family member or one of my children's teachers need to reach me - those go to a different account so they don't get lost among work related emails.

If we could arrange a dinner for you with one person in your industry, who would be on the invite list?
Maybe stereotypical but for sure the person at the top of my list is Jeff Bezos from Amazon.  People who know me, know that AMZN has made my life amazing (on a personal level!) and extremely depressing on a work level (the mall is dying!  No one will ever shop in stores again! No one can compete!!).   Amazon completely and utterly changed the way in which people around the world shop and consume goods.  Jeff has singlehandedly changed the face of retailing forever.  He is truly a visionary and an incredible and motivational leader.  He encourages his employees to try new things all the time.  He is 100% customer focused.  Amazon has almost always been the first mover in everything they do and Jeff’s leadership skills and vision is just extraordinary to me.  I recommend anyone who has 5 minutes to read this year’s AMZN letter to shareholders – it gives a quick, yet fascinating insight into what makes Amazon and Bezos tick by always focusing on “Day 1”.

 

Adebola Osakwe, Pod Leader of the Week

Adebola Osakwe

Adebola Osakwe joined KKR in 2015 and is a member of the Human Resources Team, where she leads the Firm’s Inclusion and Diversity efforts. Prior to joining KKR, Mrs. Osakwe was an executive director on Morgan Stanley’s diversity and inclusion team, where she spent almost 9 years. At Morgan Stanley, she served as head of diversity talent acquisition strategy partnering closely with the experienced and campus hiring teams. Prior to this role, she was a diversity coverage officer supporting the infrastructure and investment management businesses.

What about your career has surprised you the most?
I started my career in college admissions working for Barnard College followed by several years at New York University.  As a college admissions counselor, I provided awareness and access to students interested in receiving a higher degree.  At the time, I never imagined that I would find another role that provided me the same fulfillment and had similar impact. And I certainly never expected to find that in the world of finance! Over 15 years later in my career, I find myself pleasantly surprised in my current role as Head of Inclusion and Diversity at KKR. At KKR, I have the opportunity to focus on attracting, developing, promoting and retaining diverse talent because we recognize/understand the importance of having diverse teams.

What about the future excites you?
I am excited about the prospect of continuing to make a difference in the financial sector.

What about the future scares you?
As a mother of 3 young children (ages 10, 7 and 5) I wonder what the future holds for them.  I want to make sure that I, along with my husband, raise good, kind-hearted, successful, hard-working, contributing members of society.  It is important to me that they understand how important it is to give back.

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Which book has had the most significant impact on your life and why?
Mika Brzezinski’s Knowing your Value is one of the most impactful books I have ever read.  It was one of the first books that not only outlined the thematic challenges that women face with speaking up, asking for what they want and being direct but it provided relatable examples and specific language that could be used in various situations.

What tool do you use every day that is invaluable?
I could not live without my phone. Given my busy life, it helps me stay connected to my family, keeps me organized around their various schedules and allows me to stay informed of current events.

             Sheryl Sandberg

What does the word 'power' mean to you?
Power means coming from a place of strength and being able to influence change, make decisions and impact your environment in meaningful ways.

If we could arrange a dinner for you with one person, who would you want to invite?
If I could have dinner with one person it would be with Sheryl Sandberg.  She has such an interesting background, remarkable career, and inspiring story.

Parity Partners Prepares Emerging Leaders aiming for the C-Suite

On August 9 at NEA’s offices in San Francisco, more than 150 venture capitalists and entrepreneurs joined Parity Partners to listen to a panel discussion on Leadership. The session was the 4th Parity Talk as part of the P3 curriculum. P3 (Parity Professional Program) is an education initiative created by Parity Partners that aims to build new leaders and diverse work cultures in high impact sectors.

P3’s 4th Talk was designed to give attendees and program participants the tools they need to craft a path to the C-suite, a process that often lacks transparency. During the hour-long discussion, the expert panel shed light on what executive recruiters and senior managers look for when they evaluate the potential and achievements of promising candidates.

From left to right: Melissa Taunton (NEA), Andy Price (Index Ventures), Gia Scinto (Y Combinator), and Hilary Gosher (Insight Venture Partners).

From left to right: Melissa Taunton (NEA), Andy Price (Index Ventures), Gia Scinto (Y Combinator), and Hilary Gosher (Insight Venture Partners).

Panelists included Gia Scinto, Head of Talent at Y Combinator,  Melissa Taunton, Partner at NEA, and Andy Price, Mentor-in-Residence at Index Ventures. The discussion was moderated by Hilary Gosher, Managing Director at Insight Venture Partners and founding member of Parity Partners.

In the tech industry, companies develop a product through consciously building features that customers value and want to purchase.  In the talent environment, the individual is akin to the product, and one of the features that the market values is leadership.

Leadership is multi-faceted.  First, leaders require a goal and vision for what the organization or team should achieve.  Second, leaders are able to translate that vision into action. Lastly, leaders empower and excite people on the team, and work with them to create an environment of personal learning and accomplishment.  

Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM has noted, that leadership is difficult.  A leader should “always take on things you’ve never done before.  Growth and comfort do not coexist”.

Andy Price, an executive recruiter for 22 years who has completed more than 500 searches and recruited dozens of CEOs for high-growth startups and multi-billion dollar public companies, says that when he evaluates talent, he looks beyond “relevant experience” to understand what drives people.  He looks for people who “have a thesis or a point of view” worth defending, especially emerging venture capitalists.  Leaders put a stake in the ground and have specific ideas about what the team vision or investment strategy should be.  They are prepared to explain and defend their point of view.

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Melissa Taunton, who focuses on executive talent acquisition across NEA’s portfolio, highlights “integrity and authenticity” as key factors she looks for in leaders. She explains that the best leaders “really understand what they are good at...and they play to their strengths.”  Leaders that are aware of their own capabilities, can then surround themselves with team members who have complementary skills. For Ms. Taunton, it’s clear that leaders have strengths and they have honed their capabilities in specific areas.

When asked “what advice would you give to women in this audience about being a leader?”, Gia Scinto, who has recruited talent for Andreessen Horowitz, Google and now Y Combinator, recommends that people be “opinionated, definitely authentic, be human, be kind, and don’t try to be perfect.”

Ms. Scinto adds that you should remember to “weave in the personal into the professional” so your personal narrative is not lost in an effort to be perfect.

Among other questions, the panel also touched on mentorship, common mistakes emerging leaders make, and how leaders can create a climate of trust in the teams they lead.  The full Parity Talk can be listened to and watched below.

 

Follow Parity Partners on Twitter and LinkedIn for future updates.

P3 is made possible by the following generous sponsors:

 

Sophie Jones, Pod Leader of the Week

Sophie Jones (center), Principal at Centerview

Sophie Jones (center), Principal at Centerview

Sophie Jones is a Principal at Centerview Partners.

Dr. Jones is trained in surgery, specializing in heart and lung transplant at Columbia University, where she was Chief Fellow and served on the Boards Quality Council. She has been awarded an NIH fellowship, and has authored numerous papers and book chapters. 

Dr. Jones received her M.D. from Boston University School of Medicine, and a B.A. in History from Yale University. 


1. What about your career has surprised you the most?

I cannot imagine my surprise as a 22-year old university graduate, if someone had told me that I would be working in biopharma M&A advisory 15 years later. However, as my career has progressed from the United Nations, to the surgical amphitheater, to investment banking, I have viewed every step as an opportunity to challenge myself to impact the health of humans across the world in a more meaningful way.

2. What about the future excites you?

I do not believe I will ever truly discover what I want to “be” when I grow up. I love the challenge and excitement of a journey, and I find motivation and inspiration from working with brilliant teams of outstanding individuals.

As a world, we are at such an exciting moment in history for the healthcare industry. Advancements in technology have planted the seeds for major advances in the treatment of diseases. Going forward, our challenge is not only to recognize those opportunities, but also to develop an entirely new treatment paradigm, as we learn what it means to be human and compassionate when for the first time in history, it is possible for health to become a human right, rather than a privilege. I cannot wait to see what the future holds.

3. What about the future scares you?

I worry on a broad scale about the development of extreme divisions in society as globalization has created enormous disparities in wealth and opportunity, and individual achievement is increasingly valued over communal well-being. There is no simple answer as to how to decrease the divide and lift up the poorest and most disenfranchised among us. However, I am heartened by how many wonderful foundations are working to make an impact, and I hope to continue to lend my two hands however I can.

4. Which book has had the most significant impact on your life and why?

I think of books in the same way I think of paintings—words take on brilliant shapes and colors in my mind. I read Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude” when I was quite young. It was the first book I read that danced in vivid color in my mind. Before that book, I remember only faint black and white images. I believe Marquez’s writing unlocked the beauty hidden within the written word for me.

5. What tool do you use every day that is invaluable?

My most invaluable tool is my mind. I am so incredibly lucky to have been given the opportunity to pursue higher education and now, I am trying to put that to good use. It is a great privilege to have a career where my thoughts and creativity are valued, and my voice matters. Only a very few decades ago, women were not afforded such opportunities; and before that, it was only a very small upper class of men who had such an opportunity to pursue thought as a vocation.

6. What does the word 'power' mean to you?

Did I pay the electricity bill this month? Assuming I did, I think of “power” as a word steeped in duality. Within one small word, is an ability within individuals and groups to influence and mold progress when used in a positive manner. However, there is a darker component to power that holds the potential for great harm, and a loss of empathy towards those without it. While an individual or group might yearn for “power”, attaining it without the recognition of its deleterious potential, may be one of the most negative of human abilities. I find “power” a word to be used sparingly and only in specific circumstances, where it’s meaning can be fully comprehended by both the speaker and the listener. 

7. If you woke up and had 1,000 emails in your inbox and could only answer 100, how would you choose which ones to answer?

That sounds about like my morning! My approach is to cover the most ground possible first thing in the morning, so I am set up for the day. As a scientist and mathematician, I use a soft algorithm that includes first, checking for emails from my family – those get priority always. If my mother sent 100 emails, I wouldn’t answer anyone else. Next, I exclude all “update” emails and sort the rest by sender and topic. I answer one email per unique topic. If there were to be >100 topics, I would sort by relevance to immediate tasks I already know about, and then work towards the more obscure until I hit 100. There is nothing better than a nice clean inbox in the morning. It keeps me on top of the rest of the day.   

8. If we could arrange a dinner for you with one person in your industry, who would you want to invite?

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

I will remain contemporary, but take a bit of liberty in defining my industry to include former scientists so that I might have dinner with Angela Merkel, who holds a doctorate in physical chemistry. She is both brilliant and politically savvy. She has also shown herself to be level-headed and clear in her purpose to serve her nation and Europe. I would be on the edge of my seat to hear her thoughts on anything from the political world stage, to how she managed her career progression.

P3 Welcomes David Einhorn & Karen Finerman

Last week the Parity Professional Program (P3) welcomed David Einhorn, CEO of Greenlight Capital, and Karen Finerman, Co-Founder of Metropolitan Capital, for a Parity Talk on Managing Risk & Return.

More than 150 members joined the event in person and online to discuss how to embrace risk with confidence and how to practice resilience in the face of uncertainty.

In a candid conversation, David and Karen spoke about dealing with professional rejection, developing critical thinking, investing with confidence and managing a portfolio that endures. 

Thank you to all who joined the live stream and the in-person event!

Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for future updates.

The P3 Program is an education initiative by Parity Partners, an executive search company committed to diverse work cultures & to supporting minorities succeed in their careers.

The Parity Professional Program is made possible by our generous sponsors:

Parity Partners Launches New Program to Strengthen Leadership Diversity in Financial Services and Technology

Parity Partners Launches New Program to Strengthen Leadership Diversity in Financial Services and Technology

Parity Partners, a firm focused on advocacy, awareness and recruitment to close the gender and minority leadership gap in financial services, investing and technology companies, today announced the launch of its Parity Professional Program (P3). P3 is a 12-month curriculum-based program designed to provide participants with career-enhancing skills and access to a professional network that will help them succeed as the next generation of leaders.