What advice would you offer to women just starting out in the industry?
To be perfectly cliché, hook your wagon
to a star. Find someone you admire,
trust and know will guide you without
judgment. Good mentors are invaluable. You don’t know what you don’t
know and people are typically glad to
share their thoughts and experiences.
What do you know now that you wish you
knew in the beginning of your career?
Sometimes it’s better to keep your
mouth shut even if you know (think)
you are correct. Good business
includes diplomacy, not just being
right. It wasn’t an easy lesson for a
Jersey girl with a big mouth, but once
I figured it out, it helped my business
I also wish I had realized earlier to
take a macro look at situations/proj-
ects rather than just focusing on my
own particular part. Looking back, I
recognize that there were times that
Additionally, I try to remember
that though age and experience
would typically put me in the role of
‘mentor,’ I will always benefit from
being the ‘advisee.’ Throughout the
CFA mentor program, I have learned
things from my current mentee that
were incredibly valuable. Who knew
that you could use your phone to pay
for parking meters in some areas? Not I,
until I was guided by my mentee whilst
trying to avoid a parking ticket at a busy
conference! Sounds like a simple lesson,
but it has helped me in subsequent
travel. Being attentive to feedback from
my peers and superiors rounds out my
What do you think the industry could
do to attract and retain the best and
the brightest today?
Embrace (or at least acknowledge) the
differences between the “new generation” and when we started out. Over
the years, the world has been transformed: technologically, politically,
economically; we can’t hold newcomers to the same standards to which we
were held. This isn’t to say that the
standards have been lowered – they
have just changed.
I was so absorbed in my assigned
task(s) that I didn’t step back and
evaluate the larger endeavor/goal.
Had I done so, I may have been able to
add more value than solely completing
my appointed duties.
What kind of role has mentoring and/
or sponsorship played in your career?
I had three incredible mentors and
was able to advance my career and
handle issues more adroitly based on
their advice and experience. Two of
my mentors played a more ‘formal’
role — took me to structured meetings and networking events, allowed
me to listen to their conference calls,
and reviewed my work product while I
learned the language and procedures
that were new to me on Wall Street.
My last mentor was more informal –
we used to joke that she was my “Bat
Phone.” At that point, I was a further
along in my career and felt that I
was expected to know more and act
more independently. When I wasn’t
sure about something that I felt I was
expected to know, I could ask her
without feeling sheepish or embarrassed. She made me feel comfortable posing questions in situations
where I may have otherwise been too
concerned about negative perception
to speak up.
Director of Strategic Partnerships
ina Mackenzie is the director of Strategic Partnerships at RapidAd-
vance. Gina earned a Bachelor Degree of Science in finance and
communications from Lehigh University and a Master of Finance from
New York University.
A seasoned industry professional with substantial experience in the financial services
arena, Gina joined Rapid from another advance provider. Prior to her involvement in
the working capital space, Gina served in various capacities at investment banking
and commercial lending firms including Credit Suisse First Boston, CIBC World Markets,
Prudential Finance, and Affinion Benefits Group.
Gina is an active member of the CFA and currently chairs the newly launched mentor program for the Association. She lives in Chatham, New Jersey and accordingly
is a huge fan of The Boss, Mr. Bruce Springsteen. An avid traveler for her job, Gina
enjoys being in new places and meeting all kinds of people, but is always happy to
return to Jersey and her girls, Molly Belle ( 13) and Madeline Joy ( 10).