Know Your Value: Q&A with Citi's Ida Liu
By Ana Duarte McCarthy, Chief Diversity Officer, Citi May 14, 2015 10:00 AM
Photo by Todd Zimmermann for MSNBC.
For over 200 years, Citi has supported Progress Makers and their ideas, recognizing the powerful role they play in business and in their communities. As the leading global bank, we pride ourselves on the diversity of thinking we bring to bear for our clients, and know that our success relies on the exceptional talents of our people.
Citi engages in a number of leadership development programs at all levels of the organization. “We believe in enabling our colleagues’ progress with opportunities to excel and grow along their career path, so we continue to have more diverse perspectives at all levels – this is core to our culture and simply good business. We’re thrilled to support new partnerships that empower and champion emerging women leaders,” says Mary Ann Villanueva, Director of Global Branding & Sponsorships and Citi Women sub-committee head.
The first such partnership is with Know Your Value, a program with NBCUniversal News Group and Mika Brzezinski, co-host of msnbc’s flagship morning program Morning Joe. The Know Your Value program explores how female aspiring leaders can get their worth at work and create the lives they want along the way, and will be hosted in five U.S. cities in 2015 including Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Boston, and Orlando.
Ida Liu, Managing Director, Citi Private Bank Head of North America Asian Clients Group, was a speaker on the April 10 Know Your Value program in Philadelphia. After the event, I caught up with Ida and asked her a few questions.
1. Describe one “Know your value” moment in your career? (A story of where you stepped up, were validated in some way, etc.)
I started my career in mergers and acquisitions investment banking focused on the Technology, Media and Telecommunication industries. After almost seven years in investment banking, I made a huge career switch and moved into the fashion industry. I ran a women’s fashion design company and during my time in the fashion industry, every fashion designer would ask me “What stocks should I buy? What bonds should I buy? How should I invest my wealth?” I had an A-HA moment where I discovered a void in the marketplace for wealth management solutions to the fashion industry. I put together a business plan and pitched the concept to Citi Private Bank and joined Citi almost 10 years ago as the Head of the Fashion, Retail and Entertainment practice – a business that we built rapidly and successfully.
Both times, when I switched direction in my career, I was taking a risk and stepping out of my comfort zone – from investment banking to fashion, and from fashion to private banking. But both career moves were certainly “Know Your Value” moments.
Two takeaways from those “Know Your Value” moments were that you always have to ask for what you want – if you don’t ask, you won’t get it! And to be willing to take risks, step outside of your comfort zone and think outside the box.
2. What are your top tips for negotiating?
- If you don’t ask for it, you won’t get it!
- According to The Confidence Code by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman, research has shown that men ask for the next job, promotion or raise when they are 60 percent ready for it, while women wait until they are 100 percent ready. Be willing to raise your hand for bigger and better … sooner.
- Think about the full picture – there are many negotiation points to a package, not just compensation.
- Understand what your company/client needs are and demonstrate your value-add and unique strengths.
- Know Your Value – know where you are vs. the rest of the market.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare!
3. Oftentimes we need to take risks to succeed. What are your suggestions for getting back on track after a failure?
We won’t be well rounded professionals if we always succeed and never experience setbacks. Failures are opportunities to develop, learn and grow. View them that way and don’t be hard on yourself. Remember, we are all human and everyone makes mistakes. It’s how we deal with the mistakes and failures that distinguish leaders from the rest.
4. What are you reading now?
I read two books recently – “Knowing Your Value” by Mika Brzezinski and “The Confidence Code” referenced earlier. I was on a panel with Katty and interviewed by Mika for her Know Your Value conference sponsored by NBC on April 10 in Philadelphia, PA. I read the books to prepare for the panel and they are full of solid and excellent advice for women. As I read the books, I was highlighting the important points and ended up highlighting every page! The key takeaways from the books were: own your success (and don’t be apologetic for it!) and always be confident.
5. What one thing would you recommend to professional women entering the work force?
I would encourage everyone to get involved with their communities and the causes they love, or participate in company sponsored networks, if they have them available as we do at Citi. As you know, I am actively involved with Citi Women, our company-wide effort that you work closely with, that is designed to attract, develop, advance and retain female talent at all levels of the company. Through our initiatives, we seek to unlock the combined potential of women and Citi. As part of Citi Women, we have several programs that target high-performing female managers and executives, which have successfully supported women’s advancement and retention at Citi. These programs demonstrate the importance of sponsorship, mentoring and networking opportunities in advancing women’s careers.
As you know, I also serve as Chair of the Citi Women’s International Women’s Day (IWD) celebrations globally. We have been celebrating International Women’s Day for the past five years - this year we had over 220 client events in 90 countries. This year’s IWD theme was “Connecting Women. Inspiring Change. Making Progress,” and our programs focused on how women have made progress both in their professional and personal lives.