A Conversation with Gleennia Napper, Deutsche Bank

SIFMA’s Compliance & Legal Society is the leading forum for compliance and legal professionals working in the financial services industry. With a rich 50-year history, it provides a unique opportunity for industry leaders and regulators to come together to share information and collaborate with the goal of ensuring our capital markets are the most fair, transparent and ethical in the world.

This month, we sat down with Gleennia Napper, Head of U.S. Research Compliance at Deutsche Bank. Gleennia is Co-Chair of our Future Leaders initiative and host of their most recent event, Transitioning to a New Role: The Path to Senior Management. Read on to find out why she values mentorship, how to make it work organically, and why being authentic is key.

A successful mentor relationship is invaluable but it can be elusive. How do you make it work?

Arranged or scheduled mentor relationships are elusive! I think that is for a reason. The most successful mentor relationships happen organically. They are also reciprocal.

To get started, seek a mentor where you may already have a relationship. A good manager can be an excellent mentor. Importantly, they cannot be afraid to hurt your feelings. A manager must be honest if they are going to manage people to their full potential; if you want to reach your full potential, you need to be open. You don’t know what you don’t know. We’re not going to break when we absorb practical and timely feedback; we’re going to get stronger.

Remember that you have something to give to the relationship. Ask questions, think about what you can contribute. A lasting relationship is symbiotic, where you get to be both a giver and a taker.

What did you take away from the recent Future Leaders event?

It was great to be back! This was our first Future Leaders event since the pandemic and we lingered until the venue kicked us out.

By its very definition, the Future Leaders initiative connects individuals who are new to the industry, those that are rising in their careers, and those that aim to mentor, sponsor, and develop the next generation of leaders. It was natural for us to take on a conversation about growing your career and charting a path to senior management.

The panelists compared a career to a stool with three legs: Experience, Credentials and Network. Each one of these legs is important but one becomes more important at different stages during your career. For example, you may lean on experience and credentials when you are new to the industry or in a new role. Once you’ve cemented yourself, you need to pick up your head and build your network. Someone will think of you when they have a stretch opportunity because you had mentioned it to them.

Networking can be hard! What tips do you have?

First and foremost, listen! That is a prerequisite to a genuine conversation and that is at the heart of any meaningful networking. Ask questions, pull up a LinkedIn profile, find a connection or a common experience. Chatting with a panelist? Talk about their panel – they’ll appreciate your observations.

If networking doesn’t come naturally to you, what a great thing to learn about yourself. But, do it anyway. Find a way to get comfortable. I had a mentee who discovered she was nervous getting a conversation started. She paired herself up with a gregarious buddy and they made a dynamite team.

The most important thing is to trust yourself. Be professional but don’t be afraid to state your opinion. If you made it this far, you are here because you belong.

Wise words from Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” We’re all human and we all want to connect on a meaningful level. Have confidence to show up and speak up. You’ll be grateful you did.

Gleennia Napper is a Vice President at Deutsche Bank where she is the Head of Research Compliance for the US. Formerly, a member of the investment banking business line compliance team, Gleennia primarily advised coverage bankers.

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