Women in Capital Markets: Lisa Kidd Hunt

To celebrate Women’s History Month, SIFMA sought to spotlight several of its female board members. In this edition, we spotlight Lisa Kidd Hunt, Executive Vice President, International Services Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. She shares her story coming up through Schwab, the importance of an authentic voice, and her leadership philosophies.

How would you describe your role and responsibilities at Charles Schwab?

I have the privilege of leading the International business at Schwab which includes serving clients living outside the United States through our foreign affiliates in the UK, Singapore, and Hong Kong, our cross border business, as well as managing Schwab’s global products. I am on Schwab’s Executive Council and also serve as a Board member on both the SIFMA board and the SIFMA Foundation board.

When did you decide to pursue a career in financial services?

I can remember watching Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser on Friday nights with my Dad as early as middle school. I was fascinated by how various things could impact the economy and the markets.  I knew then that I wanted a career in financial services. It was only later, once I was in the industry, that I really understood how impactful our work could be to others. Every day we have an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life by helping them achieve their goals. Whether it is retirement, sending a child to college, buying that first (or maybe second) home, not many professions allow you to make a difference like that, day in and day out. I am proud every day to serve clients and be in this industry.

Who is one of the biggest influencers/mentors in your life and career? Why?

I have had the benefit of so many great mentors, advocates and sponsors – too many to name just a few. I am grateful to each of them for the impact they have had on me and my career. When I reflect on the impact each has had, it also challenges me to pay it forward. In so many ways, we are shaped by the support and confidence that others have in us, along with the ways they challenge us. When I think back, some of what I counted (at the time) as the toughest conversations were when someone really challenged me to think differently or to take a role I didn’t feel I was ready for, or gave feedback that I wasn’t self-reflective enough to see – today I see those tough conversations as some of what I am most grateful for over my career. The more we can do to support, stretch, challenge and develop the next set of leaders, and that means making the time to do this, our clients win, the industry wins, and our country wins.

What was your experience as a woman in financial services at the beginning of your career and how has it changed over time?

I have been in this industry for over 30 years and am fortunate to work for a company (for the past 29) that truly values diversity, inclusion and developing talent from within. I started out on the phones in one of our retail branches in northern Virginia and have had many different roles since then. I appreciate Schwab’s commitment to not only develop its people but to allow me, and others, to have a meaningful career in a field they are passionate about without conflict, to stretch their capabilities and develop lifelong leadership skills. I feel a tremendous sense of obligation to do the same for those coming up now.

What are the most important attributes of successful leaders today?

  • Courage – not just confidence but the courage to make the tough decisions, to challenge the status quo and ask the unpopular questions.
  • Curiosity – constantly learning.
  • Inclusion & Collaboration – embracing diverse skills, thoughts and approaches and capitalizing on those differences by building diverse teams.
  • If I can pick a fourth, I would say Authenticity – you can’t effectively lead if you aren’t being true to yourself.

What book(s) can you recommend focused on being an impactful leader?

Two of my favorites are Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns-Goodwin, while it may read like historical non-fiction it is in fact one of the best books on leadership, specifically how to build strong and highly functioning teams built for success. The other is Dare to Lead by Brene Brown, I really appreciate what she has to say about vulnerability and how effective leaders don’t shy away from being vulnerable (ties back to authenticity too!).

If you could have dinner with any woman, dead or alive, who would you choose and why?
I’d like to select two – dinner parties are always more fun with more people! I would invite Katherine Graham – former President and CEO of the Washington Post and Margaret Thatcher – Prime Minister of the UK. Both of these women were rock stars in their fields, trailblazers in their roles and great mothers. They consistently made difficult decisions – some that were unpopular or highly controversial or even risky. Both were incredible influencers and both of them always put their families first. They led with confidence, a clear purpose and conviction and were able to truly “have it all.” Osso Buco, Saffron Risotto and a great bottle of red –I would cook of course and we would talk for hours about tough decisions and winning decisions, greatest supporters and adversaries and all sorts of best practices, maybe even swap a recipe or two – both were known to be great cooks.

We thank Lisa for her service on SIFMA’s Board and remain humbled by her leadership, commitment, and authentic voice. It was a pleasure to speak with her as part of this series and collaborate with her as an organization. 

To learn more about SIFMA’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts, visit sifma.org/diversity.