Keynote Speaker Carla Harris, Vice Chairman and Managing Director at Morgan Stanley, shared her proven strategies for success with a full virtual crowd during the APA’s Congress Xstream Opening General Session May 18.
In “Carla's Pearls: Tools for Maximizing Your Success,” she told her audience why she’s been able to succeed and thrive on Wall Street for 33 years. She offered her self-described pearls of wisdom to help attendees maximize success and show them how to aspire for great things during their careers.
The pearls come from Harris’ two books, 2009’s “Expect to Win” and 2014’s “Strategize to Win.” Through her life and career, Harris said, she learned that “success was merely a function of how smart you were and how hard you worked,” although it didn’t work out for her that way at the beginning.
“I had to ask myself, ‘What’s missing in the success equation?’” Harris said during her presentation.
To complete that equation, she needed her pearls, which she described as “industry-, seniority-, and gender-agnostic.” Harris shared a few of them with virtual attendees.
“They will work for anyone in any environment,” Harris said.
Perception Is the Co-Pilot to Reality
“How people perceive you will directly impact how they deal with you,” Harris said.
Although how smart you are and how hard you work has something to do with your success equation, Harris said a major component of that equation is the perception that the marketplace has about you.
“If you would like to manage a large group of people, but you are not perceived to be motivational, inspirational, or organized, it doesn’t matter that you can do it,” Harris said. “It doesn’t even matter that you did do it. You will not get the opportunity to do that if you’re not perceived as such.”
You Must Be Comfortable Taking Risks
“Today, information is a commodity,” Harris said. “So, the way that you differentiate yourself in any environment is to show that you’re comfortable taking risks. It says to the marketplace that you are comfortable with change.”
Harris said now is not the time for leaders to “keep their head down” because then they will lose the opportunity to share their important opinions.
“Your voice is at the heart of your power,” Harris said. “When you submerge your voice, that’s when you become irrelevant. Now is the time to exercise your voice. Fear has no place in your success equation.”
Other “pearls” of wisdom Harris shared with attendees were “The Authenticity Pearl,” which states that, “Nobody can be you the way that you can be you,” and another pearl that states that to be successful, you must have an expectation that you will do well.
Attendees Collect 'Pearls'
Congress Xstream attendees seemed to hang onto every word Harris shared with them during her presentation.
"Carla seems to have it figured out," said Tamiann Parrott, CPB, Accountant and HR Administrator for VCS Business Services.
Melinda Hack, CPP, Payroll Manager at Extraction Oil & Gas, added: "Her charisma is coming through the screen. Can you imagine what this would have felt like in real time?"
Laurel Serra, CPP, APA Director of Payroll Training, thought Harris was such a great motivational speaker, she wished Harris could be with her daily rooting for her to succeed.
"I need a mini Carla on my shoulder cheering me on," she said.