How to Invest in Yourself: Hartford Funds Sustainability Product Lead Carey Burke Shares Best Practices for Professional Development

Carey Burke is an investment professional in the financial services industry with over 25 years of experience. Currently, she is the Sustainability Product Lead for Hartford Funds. In her role, she is responsible for driving firmwide coordination and alignment of resources in support of Hartford’s Sustainable Investment Platform.

Here is what Carey had to say when asked about skill development:

GenHERation®: What soft skills should students possess no matter what industry they want to pursue?

Carey Burke: The first one is communication, whether it’s written or oral. There is going to come a time when you need to speak up in a meeting and you need to be comfortable articulating what you want to say and asking questions. Working on the ability to speak up in meetings and in front of a large crowd is critical. It took me many years of practicing to get comfortable presenting in front of large crowds. Another skill I think is important is leadership. If you ever want to manage people, it’s a whole new set of skills that you must develop. When you start leading people, you get into the HR side of things. You need to learn how to deal with conflict resolution, goal setting, performance reviews and so on. At my old job, I had to start managing people who were once my peers after I got promoted. It was a difficult thing to navigate, and I had to learn how to become their boss first and foremost.

GenHERation®: How do you prioritize your daily responsibilities?

Burke: For me, two things come to mind. One, I am a lover of to-do lists. I have my personal, professional, and volunteer lists. On top of that, I have a ‘Have to Get Done Today’ list. Every day, the very first thing I do is understand what must get done that day. There could be one to five tasks that I write down and make sure I don’t procrastinate doing. Prioritizing those tasks first really sets you up for success (and it feels good when you check things off a list!). The other little trick I use is calendar blocking. Calendar blocking is a good tool to make sure that I have focus time and can get day-to-day responsibilities done without getting interrupted by a meeting.

GenHERation®: Whether you are a professional or a student, how can you effectively delegate tasks when leading a group project?

Burke: I am in the throes of this right now. This is my twelfth year running a company-wide project. Multiple departments are impacted, and I have to work with people I usually don’t on a daily basis. First, I set up a kick-off meeting to ensure I have the right project team and that everyone knows their responsibilities within the project. I am very specific about what tasks people own and what the deadlines are. During this meeting, I also explain the bigger picture because people might only be working on a smaller component of the project, and it helps to understand how their piece contributes to the larger goal. Bringing everyone together midway through the project is also helpful because it gives people the opportunity to ask questions and seek feedback. Lastly, build in a time cushion. Everyone has other priorities and what you are asking them to do might not be their biggest one. Another great tip is to set your deadline two weeks earlier than is actually needed. You should always expect delays!

GenHERation®: How can you be your authentic self in the workplace, while still being a brand ambassador for your company?

Burke: It’s so important to be your true authentic self, but there is a line that you don’t want to cross because you are in a professional setting. You have to follow the rules, but don’t mold yourself into something that you are not. When you go to an event after work, you are still representing your organization, so be professional. At the end of the day, people want to know who you are, so be yourself, and get to know other people personally. Knowing people on a personal level will get you so far in the long run. The better relationships you have with people, the more likely they are going to help you.

GenHERation®: What are three actions you can take to keep up with your industry’s trends?

Burke: First, join organizations and networking groups. I am part of the Women in Investing Network (WIN) of Philadelphia, and it has been instrumental to my career. Find an organization that is relevant to your role. I started as a volunteer and now I’m a board member for WIN. I have learned a lot and met so many great people from my industry. Second, subscribe to news organizations that are relevant to your industry. I am in a sustainability role now, so I subscribe to newsletters and follow the topic very closely on LinkedIn. Third, speaking of LinkedIn, if you are already working, follow your competitive firms to stay abreast of your competition. If you are a student, follow companies you want to work at. Not only will you see job postings from them, but you can also get a good sense of what type of company they are before you even apply.

GenHERation®: What do you know now that you wish you knew the day you graduated from college?

Burke: For me, it’s really just having the confidence to know that I am a valuable employee and that I am capable of doing so much more than I give myself credit for. In the past, I was afraid to take risks and second guessed myself all the time. I didn’t apply for roles if I didn’t meet every single requirement in the job description. I stayed at my first job for way too long (14 years) because I was afraid to leave. It was scary leaving, but I have been so much happier at Hartford Funds. I would tell myself to have confidence and know that I am a valuable and hard-working employee. Any job can be learned. Take the risk. Challenge yourself.

Carey is an investment professional in the financial services industry with over 25 years of experience. Currently. she is the Sustainability Product Lead for Hartford Funds. In her role, she is responsible for driving firmwide coordination and alignment of resources in support of Hartford’s Sustainable Investment Platform. Prior to joining Hartford Funds, Carey worked at the Bank of New York Mellon where she held various positions in fund accounting and relationship management. Carey holds a B.S. in Accounting from Millersville University. She has her FINRA series 6 and 26 licenses, a Women in Executive Leadership certificate from Cornell University and the CFA Certificate in ESG Investing.

Comments (0)

Write a Comment