What advice would you offer to women
just starting out in the industry?
The asset-based lending market has
changed considerably over the last
10-15 years. Maintenance covenants
have given way to springing covenants;
technology has simplified reporting requirements and made the product more
accessible; market depth for individual
transactions has surged, in certain
instances, to $4B+; unique asset classes
have driven the convergence of the ABL
and cash flow structures. No longer
is this type of financing reserved for
companies in transition but rather it is
broadly appealing to below-investment-grade cyclical issuers.
As the ABL product and market con-
tinue to evolve, intellectual curiosity,
subject matter expertise, strong credit
foundation, and an understanding
of capital markets will be important
foundational skills for the next genera-
how to navigate your work environment.
It also allows you to understand how
you are perceived so you can accentuate
what you do well or change those habits
which aren’t as effective. Mentors can
give you visibility within the organiza-
tion and create situations where you
can differentiate yourself. Mentors can
be your best advocates. Often decisions
are made when you are not in the room
to represent yourself, so you need some-
one in that room who will.
I have an “Advisory Board” on which
I rely — a collection of mentors from
over the years, some within the financial services industry, some outside the
industry, both male and female. I often
ask them advice on the same issue.
While their advice is rarely the same,
it is always very helpful for me to hear
multiple perspectives to determine an
approach that most resonates with me.
What do you think the industry could
do to attract and retain the best and
the brightest today?
In order to attract the best and brightest
to the industry, we need to create opportunity and foster an environment that
rewards creativity. Talented individuals
want to be challenged; they want responsibility; they want to challenge the
status quo. Early in my ABL career, a very
senior ABL risk officer was fond of saying
“creativity equals loss”. The creativity to
which I am referring is not ignoring basic
ABL tenets in favor of booking business,
but rather building on these fundamentals to drive innovation.
tion of ABL professionals. The ability
to understand the credit (and market)
continuum and structure accordingly
will be differentiating. I would encourage women entering the field today
to ask lots of questions — not just
technical ABL questions but contextual
questions; don’t worry about “staying in
your lane”, try to understand adjacent
products and their impact on ABL structures; extrapolate from what you have
learned. Make a habit of collaborating
with peers across product groups; they
can produce some of the best ideas.
What do you know now that you wish you
knew in the beginning of your career?
I heard someone once say that it’s not
a career ladder; it’s more like a jungle
gym and I think that is very apt. When
I started my career, I thought in terms
of the next title and focused on what
it would take to get the next promotion. What I have learned is that career
progression is not linear, rather the
accumulation of skills along the way
which prepare you for the next opportunity -- and that opportunity may not
be what you expect. It’s important to be
open to those opportunities and challenge yourself to think broadly about
how you can apply your skills across
What kind of role has mentoring and/
or sponsorship played in your career?
Mentorship has been very important.
Forming relationships with people who
can offer perspective, advice and insight that you wouldn’t necessarily get
on your own is critical to understanding
Managing Director – Head of
Asset Based Lending
Asset Finance Group
Sun Trust Robinson Humphrey
anet Jarrett is a managing director, head of Asset Based Lending Group
(ABL) at Sun Trust Robinson Humphrey, Inc. (STRH). Prior to her current role,
she was head of originations for the ABL Group at STRH. Janet has over 20
years of experience in corporate and investment banking with an empha-
sis in asset-based capital markets and leveraged finance.
Prior to joining STRH in 2013, Janet was a managing director with Bank of America
Merrill Lynch, Leveraged Finance and Asset Based Capital Markets group, responsible for originating, structuring and distributing domestic and international asset-based and leveraged transactions.
Jarrett holds a B.S. and M.B.A. from Wake Forest University.