Zoe Ryan is the Enterprise Analytics Team Manager at Bloomberg LP. Having studied law and business with a focus on Economics, Zoe is now an experienced Sales Account Manager with vast experiences in the financial services industry expanding in both London and Sydney.
She is an inspiration to women intending to leave a mark in any occupation. Today, we got the opportunity to talk to her and gain some insight on her journey.
Being a Team Manager at Bloomberg, what would you say is the most vital characteristic a leader must possess?
I have always been a very empathetic person. At times, others have led me to believe that my empathy was a weakness and something that should be suppressed. However, as I’ve grown as a woman and as a professional, I’ve come to appreciate that my empathy is one of my greatest strengths and I truly believe is one of the most important characteristics of a good leader.
In my role as a Team Manager at Bloomberg, I have made a concerted effort to be empathetic and approachable to my team, without ever compromising on my strength or authority. This has helped me to build trust within my team so that they feel comfortable enough to come to me with anything that is impacting them in the workplace or at home. It has helped to foster an environment of openness and transparency so that I am able to effectively guide and advise individuals on how to best succeed in their current role and help develop them for the next steps in their career.
What is your biggest advice to women aspiring to pursue a career in the corporate world?
The biggest favour you can do yourself is to be open to opportunities – this is true in all aspects of life, not just your career. Whether you are just starting out in your professional journey and looking for an internship or graduate role or looking to make a complete career change, being receptive to possibilities will always serve you well. In particular, I encourage women to be open to opportunities that may be unexpected or that deviate from the current path. In the corporate world, titles and job descriptions can be very deceiving. By being open to unfamiliar roles and industries, you may just stumble upon your dream job without even meaning to.
How do you navigate yourself around circumstances of doubt and failure?
During my seven years at Bloomberg so far, I have had four very distinct and varying roles. Each time I started a new role, I was faced with a steep learning curve and had to battle an internal dialogue telling me that I was inadequate and incompetent. To counter those unhelpful thoughts, I worked hard to shift my mindset. Rather than worrying about what people would think if I didn’t know the answer to every question, I got comfortable telling people “I don’t know”. I reminded myself that I was still learning and wasn’t expected to know everything straight away. At the same time, when I don’t know the answer to a question, I always ensure that I hold myself accountable. I take the time to find the correct information and follow up, maintaining my credibility and integrity. I’ve found this to be a great way to learn and at the same time build my network by seeking out the people who do know the answers. As my dad always says: “you don’t need to know everything, you just need to know someone who does”.
What/ who is your biggest inspiration and why?
I am inspired by the women who wear many hats. A woman who can support others as a mother, daughter, sister, partner, or friend and then go on to dominate in the workplace is the master of an art that too often goes unnoticed and unappreciated.
What is one piece of advice you would like to give your younger self?
I would tell myself to work on feeling comfortable being uncomfortable in the context of my personal development. One of my favourite quotes comes from Ginni Rometty who said that “growth and comfort do not coexist". I know that when I feel uncomfortable in a role, it is because I am challenging myself and pushing myself past my comfort zone. Growth is always positive and shouldn’t be avoided simply because it doesn’t feel familiar. Maintaining this outlook has helped me not be so hard on myself and to allow myself to take the time required to learn a new role, skillset or concept before expecting myself to know all the answers.