Industry Leaders on the Path to the Corner Office: Do Your Homework. Focus on Things that Matter. And, Follow Your Instincts.

BNY Mellon's Chief Information Risk Officer Lisa Humbert Shares Career Journey Advice
Mar 20, 2014 9:30 AM ET
Lisa Humbert is Executive Vice President and Chief Information Risk Officer at BNY Mellon.

Women now yield unprecedented economic and financial clout--making up nearly two-thirds of the U.S. work force and frequently out-earning their spouses. Yet they have traditionally been underrepresented in the corner office.

In honor of International Women's Day and Women's History Month in the U.S., BNY Mellon's executives share lessons from their personal leadership journey. These dedicated leader-coaches are a reflection of why BNY Mellon has become the Investments Company for the World.

If you had 5 minutes with an inspirational woman leader what could you find out?

Lisa Humbert, BNY Mellon’s Chief Information Risk Officer, with her top five career tips for those who are just getting started in their careers as well as those who are already moving ahead on the path to the corner office:

  1. Know your strengths and weaknesses and be passionate about what you do
    • Be in touch with your strengths and don't be afraid to use them and express yourself. Advocate and negotiate strongly for yourself and for others, and for what you care about, and don't shy away from articulating just how you stand apart from the competition without negatively speaking about that competition. Know how you contribute uniquely and the value you bring to the table.
    • In addition, don't wait to bring up concerns or hide from problems — tackle challenges head on, speaking about them openly, with calm, poise and grace.
    • Know your weaknesses and work on addressing them. Listen to and accept with humility the feedback and advice from your "network" to continuously improve. Fill in gaps with those who have strength where you are weak. Don't ever be afraid to ask for help.
    • Be self-vindicated. Don't look for pats on the back or compliments as you don't always get them when deserved. Drive yourself until you are satisfied. Find passion in what you do, don't be fully motivated by money.
  2. Take managed and calculated risks
    • You can't learn doing the easy stuff, so take risks to achieve your long-term goals. Don't stay stagnant. Understand there are no short cuts or easy answers on the road to success. Your success is directly proportionate to the effort you put in.
    • Believe in yourself without fail. Acknowledge blind spots, and areas that need deep development. Forgive yourself for what you don't know and the mistakes you've made, and accept them. Keep going with hope and optimism, knowing that the lessons from these missteps will serve you well in the future. Get through bumps in the road and move on to focus on the long run.
    • If we didn't have to work hard to reach success, we wouldn't appreciate it.
    • If there's something you're putting off because it's boring you, it's hard, demanding and tiring — just get up and get it done. Quit avoiding it. There will be rewards along the way and there will be a great sense of accomplishment at the end.
    • It's critical to take bold action toward your visions in order to create success. Be sure to set long-term goals and then break them down into smaller, digestible action steps that you build on, which leads to your end goal.
    • Celebrate successes!
  3. Focus on things that really matter and follow your instincts

    • Know what really matters are and put your energy into that. What matters isn't always right in front of you, so know that you will need to look up, out and around for this.
    • Ignore the "noise" that may more often seem to demand your attention. Stated otherwise, they will actually do fine without you. Avoid the drama.
    • Follow your instincts after doing your homework and analysis.
    • Trust your judgment and have the courage of your convictions.
  4. Take the time, energy and investment in managing your career and relationships both personal and professional

    • Be there and take time for your family and friends. Don't lose touch with what is most important.
    • Build and maintain a network of trusted advisors.
    • Surround yourself with a diverse group of talented colleagues.
    • Take the time to be a thought leader.
    • Take the time for training to continuously improve yourself to achieve your goals.
    • Take time to participate in socializing with key colleagues — get to know their key interests so that you can talk about non-work related topics, even if this means topics that don't really interest you (… maybe that’s sports or playing golf, for example...)
  5. Treat others exactly as you would like to be treated

    • Be respectful, resourceful, curious, competent and tenacious.
    • Treat others equitably and fairly and know they deserve the same.
    • Always take the high road.
    • Always act with the highest integrity.
    • Do the right thing.

Lisa Humbert is Executive Vice President and Chief Information Risk Officer at BNY Mellon. She leads a global team responsible for delivering a best-in-class enterprise-wide Information Risk Management (IRM) program and services. IRM partners with internal stakeholders to enable business solutions while protecting the firm from information risks in a balanced control environment.

Previously, Lisa served as Global Head of IT Risk Management and Business Continuity Management and was the Chief Information Security Officer at Credit Suisse. At Credit Suisse, she led the effort to create a company-wide function that established an IT risk management framework and processes, as well as delivered information security and business recovery services to all bank divisions worldwide.  Key accomplishments included defining and implementing a proactive three-year strategy that built new global services, strengthened bank controls and evolved risk management practices. The firm’s business continuity management program was regarded as industry-leading.

Prior to her tenure at Credit Suisse, Lisa served as CAO to the CIO of Citigroup’s Investment Banking IT division. She worked with the CIO to manage a three billion-dollar budget and more than 10,000 resources globally. She was also responsible for overseeing the work of multiple cross-IT business-critical initiatives and for communicating the IT strategy to business heads. Lisa began her Citigroup career at Salomon Brothers, and through her 18 year tenure there she was also responsible for several application development departments including referential data, settlement and clearance, stock record, credit markets primary and secondary sales and trading, as well as the Citigroup-wide global human resource systems.

Lisa is a senior member of the Executive Women’s Forum, a BNY Mellon-sponsored group of more than 750 of the nation’s most influential female executives within the information security, privacy, and risk management industries.  She also serves on the Financial Services Sector Coordinating Council for Critical Infrastructure Protection and Homeland Security, and is a member of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Cyber Security Board Committee, and the Financial Women's Association of New York, Inc. She is has been an active supporter of several nonprofit organizations including Riverkeeper, Catholic Charities, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and the Wounded Warrior project. Lisa is also an advocate and sponsor of the Christian Foundation for Children and Adults. Lisa holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Adelphi University.