Claire Newman

Clare Newman holds her undergraduate degree from Harvard College.  She spent fourteen years in the financial services industry with FBR Capital Markets where she held a variety of leadership positions, including a seven-year tenure as Director of Institutional Sales.  Prior to joining FBR, she worked at the Department of Justice and from 1989-1991 served in the Peace Corps.

What are the three most important characteristics of a woman leader?
Be yourself, Be yourself, Be yourself—It’s wonderful to get advice from others and even “try on” personas or techniques that have worked for others. But ultimately, to be successful, (especially as defined by you), you have to do what works for you and act how you feel most comfortable.

When do you feel at your best?
When I’m exploring and discovering what’s possible, whether it’s a remote part of the world or a potential solution to a problem.

What did you do in your first year after College?
I was in the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. But while I was waiting for my training to start, I worked in LA with a media consultant and booked authors on West Coast book tours.

What does it mean to be a “successful” woman?
Ideally, everyone should define success for themselves. That definition may change over one’s lifetime. For me, success, among other things, is saying, “yes” to the questions: Do I like the journey I am on? Do I like where this journey is leading me?
What challenges do you think women in finance face today?
While there are more senior women in Finance than ever, it is still a pretty small group.  It can be challenging to find and get advice from senior women at financial firms.  However, I do believe that great mentors can be found in senior men also.
What was your biggest mistake?
Not getting to know more women at other financial firms.
What do you do when you need a moment?
Breathe…then be thankful that this is my biggest problem.
Give yourself a compliment.
Even though I play golf only a couple of times a year, I can hit a decent 6 iron.  When I first started working in Finance, I took up golf on a bet and it ended up being a good career move.  I’m surprised how many times it comes in handy that I play golf. I give this advice to young women: learn to play golf. It doesn’t matter how good you are.  I’ve played with lots of men that are really bad golfers, but they are there, playing, and conducting business. You can’t participate if you don’t have a seat at the table, or in this case, a seat in the golf cart.

If you could give “the college you” one piece of advice what would it be?
Don’t be afraid to really stretch yourself or look like you don’t know what you are doing. You are likely to figure it out.