Recently, International House Residents had the pleasure of learning from Raymond Wareham, Vice Chairman and Senior Advisor at Rockefeller Capital Management, when he came to speak as part of the “Ah-Ha! Moment” series of events featuring notable visiting speakers. Attendees were thrilled and motivated by his compelling advice on how to achieve personal and professional success.
Wareham’s career spans about 40 years in corporate finance and management across three continents. He spent 24 years at J.P. Morgan in corporate finance, M&A, and underwriting capacities in New York, London, and Tokyo. Before joining Rockefeller & Co in 2012, he was a Senior Managing Director for Bernstein Global Wealth Management. At Bernstein, he served a number of roles which included heading the Wealth Management Group, which provides investment planning and asset allocation research. He currently advises high-net-worth individuals, families and family offices, as well as foundations and endowments, within the Rockefeller Capital Management Multi-Family Office.
Wareham’s presentation offered a pleasant surprise for the Residents who attended the event at the Home Room on Thursday, October 10, 2019. Rather than focusing solely on finance and investment as many expected, Wareham shared a wealth of insights on personal growth, professional development and career management, drawing from his vast experience managing people and finance. Below, a brief summary in 24 tips.
ON PERSONAL GROWTH
1. Know and Be Honest with Yourself: Knowing yourself starts from knowing what you like and dislike. What really drives you? Is it money, prestige, job content? If you need instant gratification, then seek an opportunity that measures your value.
2. Regularly Spend Time on Your Own “Account”: Wareham suggested that you spend at least an hour a week to invest in yourself. This should be a time for self-reflection.
3. Think about Ways to Enhance your Personal Story: Some of this is related to expanding your knowledge and skills. It might also include volunteering for a committee assignment or other projects.
4. Be Humble: In many cases, self-confidence can be an impediment to acceptance by coworkers, clients and acquaintance. You should not be the kind of a person that everyone avoids.
5. Beware the Social Network: The internet can be a friend and a foe. Pretend that you are an employer. Google yourself. Check your Facebook presence. Wareham said you should be careful with your online reputation.
6. Exercise: It is often the one thing that gets postponed in a busy daily schedule. Make time for it in your schedule.
7. Have Some Fun: Likewise, making time to have some fun requires planning ahead.
ON PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
8. Seek Global Experience: Living abroad requires flexibility and accommodation. So, if that is not who you are, do not undertake it, but understand that it builds character. He acknowledged that those in the room have already taken this step by coming to live at I-House.
9. Read Books: He emphasized the importance of reading to broaden your knowledge and mindset. You will be more self-confident and more interesting to others. Wareham shared that instead of watching films on long flights, he reads a book.
10. Find Mentors: There are peer mentors and senior mentors. Both can be very helpful if they are honest with you.
11. Have a Plan B: Always be thinking about your options.
12. Volunteer: This is good for the soul, and in fact can build a complementary set of skills that can be useful to your job. Often, mentorship relationships can be developed or enhanced through your volunteer activities.
13. You Are Not Just Your Resume: It is a chronology of what you have achieved, not who you are. Come up with four to five things about who you are. These are the things you will say when you are asked to talk about yourself in a job interview, for example.
ON MANAGING YOUR CAREER
14. Consider Job Fit: Whether it’s your first job or your next job, take a job you are comfortable with. It is not about the prestige.
15. Do Not Change Jobs Too Often: Resumes with many short stints are usually a red flag.
16. Professional Recruiters: Be careful. Their interest is aligned with their employers, not with you as much as you might expect.
17. Be Patient: Frustration is part of a career path. So be prepared. Sometimes taking a step back to take a step forward is a good move, and sometimes the best thing to do is nothing. Be patient. Give the current situation a chance. In short, do not make rash decisions.
18. The “Elevator Pitch”: Can you tell your story in one minute? Can you make your point in one minute? If you were suddenly alone in an elevator with your employer or potential supporter, what would you say? Remember those four to five things about yourself.
19. Learn to Give a Good Presentation: Practice. Be disciplined.
As final thoughts, Wareham emphasized these tips:
20. Stay Connected: Often stepping out even for a late dinner with your spouse, significant other, or close friend is a great way to have some quiet time together and just “catch up.”
21. Don’t Assume Fairness: It should be part of the equation, but it is often not so. You must be prepared for frustration, and even lack of acceptance of your thoughtful ideas – at least for a while. Give things a chance.
22. Protect Your Reputation: Your reputation is your most valuable asset. Be prepared to quit if you are asked to do something unethical. Sometimes saying “no” is the right answer.
23. Learn by Trying: Investing is challenging; it is even humbling. You learn by trying. If it sounds like a sure thing, it most probably is not. Learn to think differently than the herd.
24. Make Time to Have Some Fun: He reiterated this advice. He says that in interviews, he always asks: “What do you do for fun?”
Wareham’s fatherly presence and advice resonated with the Residents, including I-House President, Calvin Sims, who was in the audience. Sims asked Wareham how students could utilize their experience in the House in their resume. Wareham responded that Residents should make efforts to have transformative learning encounters with other Residents. In a room full of students from all over the world engaged in so many different disciplines, Wareham’s tips struck home.
“The points are very inspiring, “said Resident Boyu Wang, a student from China studying Applied Analytics at Columbia University. Wang said she was particularly impressed with his advice on career and self-development. “I felt really connected to what he said,” she added.
Fabio Marcovski, a Resident from Brazil studying Clinical Psychology at Teachers College, said his main takeaways were the ideas of knowing oneself, thinking broadly and always having plan B. “It’s one of those most heartfelt and soulful talks that I have been to, [with advice] that is very applicable to our lives,” he said.
Chikezie Omeje is a Nigerian journalist studying for an MS in Data Journalism at Columbia University. He has degrees in Journalism and Mass Communication from Stellenbosch University in South Africa and Enugu State University of Science and Technology in Nigeria. Chikezie enjoys travelling and hiking; since arriving in New York he has gone to Staten Island to hike at The Greenbelt. Follow him on Twitter @KezieOmeje.
(All photos by Leandro Viana for International House)