Elinor L. Hoover – CUP Catalyst Spotlight

What is your occupation and how did you come to work in this field?
I work in the field of finance and have a dual role as Co-Head of the Financial Strategy and Solutions Group in Investment Banking and Vice Chairman of Capital Markets Origination at Citi. I entered the financial services industry in the late eighties with an academic background in music, biophysics, and biochemistry. I was not your typical business, economics or finance major, but I decided to go into investment banking. As an Asian-American, I have always been drawn to global issues. Banking offered a global platform and lens through which to view and affect the world.

What is the biggest challenge of your work?
My group at Citi offers holistic solutions to clients around important corporate finance issues. The macroeconomic and business environment has become increasingly complex. As such, we focus our efforts on helping clients to simplify complexity and we work to apply creativity to analyzing corporate problems and identifying solutions. It is through these advisory efforts that Citi differentiates itself from the Street. Leveraging the full breadth of products to address our clients’ needs also creates a significant opportunity for us to execute and deliver first rate advice to our clients.

What is your proudest achievement?
While there are many moments of great satisfaction in my professional career, my single proudest achievement is raising my son. He is a talented young boy whose achievements extend to academics, athletics, and music.

What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?
There are many incredible leaders, thinkers and doers that have and continue to inspire me. Margaret Thatcher is a remarkable leader who reshaped almost every aspect of British politics, revived the UK economy and reinvigorated its foreign policy. Warren Buffett is one of the most prominent financial investors whose clarity of thinking and leadership as the “Oracle of Omaha” extends much further than just investing to areas of management, the economy, philanthropy and philosophy. Martin Luther King Jr was an activist leader and doer who started with a dream and through his courage, perseverance and will to fight, showed people a better future. Each had a profound impact on the world at large.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Having the ability to leverage many years of experience and leadership skills to impact the strategic direction of a company or influence the community at large has given me the greatest satisfaction. In ten years, I can envision deriving even more energy from attaining a deeper reservoir of knowledge and experience to be able to impact and influence a greater number of organizations and individuals. Also, mentoring is incredibly fulfilling for me; and in ten years, it will bring me great joy to see the success achieved by many of these mentees.

What would be your advice to young people who want their careers and lives to have an impact?
Know your True North, but don’t be afraid to go off course and explore a different direction. As long as you have established that guiding light, you will always remain on track. Sometimes you have to move laterally in order to move forward.  Understanding this aspect is relevant at any point in a long-term career. If you are aware of your True North, you can have the confidence to deviate from your linear path and see what other opportunities might be out there.

Did you have a mentor or do you mentor someone else? How has that experience changed you?
I have and had many mentors throughout my career. Mentorship is a critical part of one’s career development; and mentoring can go both ways. It does not have to be strictly senior to junior since we can learn a lot from professionals who are entering the industry. I have had the great fortune of having senior, peer, and junior mentors and with each mentor relationship, I have both given and gained tremendous perspectives.