Women in Finance Awards Q&A: Caryn Freiberger, Citi
Caryn Freiberger, North America Head of FX Real Money Sales at Citi, won Rising Star at Markets Media’s 2019 Women in Finance Awards.
What is the ‘secret of your success?
I wish I had THE secret recipe, but I can share a few insights on how I have managed my career thus far.
I make professional decisions based on my personal core values. This has led me to work for really fantastic managers who are invested in my personal growth. I qualify a good manager as someone who creates an environment of inclusivity, provides feedback that can be difficult to hear, and delegates stretch assignments based on merit. As a personal core principle, instead of seeing obstacles as roadblocks, I see them as opportunities to differentiate myself to make a bigger impact on the business. When I have those moments of utter frustration, I try to channel that frustration into creative energy to re-think the problem and come at it from a different angle. I generally hate taking “no” as an answer.
How do you connect individual success and organizational success?
Citi’s mission is to enable progress, and I keep that in the heart and mind of everything I do at Citi. I work in the foreign exchange markets where we help clients hedge their international exposures and create alpha in the asset class. This enables our clients to generate returns that feed into saver’s, pension holder’s, and retiree’s bank accounts. When I launched a corporate social responsibility initiative where Citi donated money to educational focused nonprofits based on client-driven trading volumes, it came from a deep rooted belief to give back to the communities in which we globally serve. At the same time we helped clients access more liquidity in the foreign exchange markets. A senior colleague once told me that I could do a lot of good in the world by working at Citi, talking to the most sophisticated investors in the world. I now understand that meaning all too well and it’s one of the best lessons I could have learned.
What is your advice for women considering or just starting financial careers?
Be curious! Seek out people who are working on projects or doing their jobs in ways that interest you. This is how you find mentors and sponsors which are critical ingredients for everyone’s success. I recently heard a statistic that on average men will have 11 sponsors throughout their life, while women on average will have just 2 sponsors. So this is particularly important for women. And when you make a meaningful connection, it won’t always be obvious how you will find a way to work with one another but it is critical you find ways to stay in touch. I have discovered that if it is something that you are truly passionate about, the roads always eventually converge.
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