Shannon Hales – Member Spotlight

What is your occupation and how did you come to work in this field?
I am a Director and Counsel in the “Fixed Income Sales & Trading and Derivatives” Legal Department at Citi. In this capacity, I provide legal counsel to the Global Finance, Markets Treasury and Cross Product Margining trading desks and specifically, I help those businesses structure transactions, create new products and implement changes to comply with regulatory requirements.

Prior to joining Citi, I was a transactional associate at the law firm of Mayer Brown where my practice focused on general finance, including securitization.  That position exposed me to basic derivatives and other trading products, and the move to the Citi in-house legal department was a logical next step.  

What is the biggest challenge of your work?
In recent years, regulators and other governmental entities have introduced numerous new regulations designed to reform the financial markets.  I work diligently to analyze and understand the new rules and to modify our business practices through incorporating relevant changes.  This is challenging as change often requires much hard work.

What is your proudest achievement?
I am proud of finding a comfortable balance between my job, which I love, and a rich personal life that allows me quality time with my family and friends.

What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?
I admire Attorney Rhonda Joy McLean.  She is an exceptionally talented senior executive and attorney, best-selling author and career advisor and she finds time to make significant contributions to social and community organizations.  She has been a wonderful mentor to me.  I also admire Mellody Hobson.  Ms. Hobson has a dynamic life that includes her brilliant leadership as President of Ariel Investments, her role as a morning news show financial contributor and service on various corporate boards.  Both women offer invaluable pearls on life and career through their writings, speeches and interviews, and they lead grounded, balanced lives.  

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I look forward to growing professionally and mastering the knowledge and skills necessary to excel in the changing legal environment.   I feel fortunate to have had opportunities to help non-clients such as a homeowner facing foreclosure and a domestic abuse victim, and I welcome more opportunities to help people in need through pro bono service.  

What would be your advice to young people who want their careers and lives to have an impact?
I suggest that young people who desire careers and lives with impact focus primarily on the following three areas:  (1) mastering knowledge of the subject matter and skills key to success in their chosen field, (2) building solid relationships with mentors and sponsors, and (3) maintaining professional and personal networks.  These elements are essential for gaining the professional expertise, political capital and credibility essential to being impactful.

Did you have a mentor or do you mentor someone else?  How has that experience changed you?
I have several mentors who offer me personal and professional guidance.  I also mentor students and junior professionals.  

My mentors help me think “outside the box”, and their guidance expands my mind.  Most of my mentors have broken down barriers and ventured into previously unchartered territories, so the knowledge I have gained from the experiences they have shared has aided my personal and professional development tremendously.

I have mentored several students and young professionals, and I find giving back through mentoring incredibly fulfilling.  Also, by seeking to guide and inspire others, I feel motivated to work harder to be a model person deserving of their trust and admiration.