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Chesley, Taft & Associates Celebrates Women's Day

International Women’s Day celebrates all women: their accomplishments, leadership, and contributions to making the world more inclusive and diverse, both personally and professionally. We sat down with our Chief Administrative Officer, Debbie Stotts, to reflect on her career path as a woman in finance.


EM: Why did you decide to pursue a career in financial services?

DS: My parents instilled in me the importance of financial responsibility. They came to this country with very little and made a wonderful life for themselves and their children. I remember shopping with my mom when I was young and she taught me the concept of "float". They wanted me to be a doctor but finance was a natural fit.


EM: What unique perspectives do women bring to the financial services profession?

DS: I think women are comfortable dealing with the emotional side of the business and this is just as important as analyzing the data. Many times, our Portfolio Managers will prepare a presentation full of charts and numbers and the clients just want to talk about personal and family issues.


EM: Do you have a mentor currently or have you had a mentor in the past?

DS: My first job out of college was working for a small trading firm on the Chicago Board Option Exchange. The founders were two brothers who were brilliant and very street smart. I learned so much from them. After I received my MBA, I started my first corporate job and was lucky enough to be exposed to the entire management committee, eventually working directly with the CEO. That was such a valuable experience and it changed my career.


EM: What is a characteristic that every professional in our industry should strive for?

DS: Humility.


EM: Can you share a favorite quote? How did you come across it and why it is impactful?

DS: I try to live by the Golden rule - Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s so simple but so powerful. I don’t always succeed but I try.  


EM: What is your advice for young professionals who are thinking of joining the field of finance?

DS: There are so many opportunities and so many different roles in the financial services industry. Be self-aware. Embrace your strengths and your weaknesses so that you land in a role that gives you the best chance for success.


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