Justin Reyes – CUP Fellow Spotlight July-August 2011

What is your occupation and how did you come to work in this field?

I am a Global Financial Controller within the CFO Finance division of Credit Suisse. I am responsible for the forecasting, budgeting, reporting and analysis of the Shared Services Division which includes the Treasury, New Business, Product Control, Financial Accounting, Global Insurance, Expense Management and Taxation functions of the bank.

I came to work in this field through a number of internal mobility programs and planned career changes throughout the years. I began my career as an analyst the Bank of New York where I held two roles, leaving to work at an investment bank where I passed and held my Series 7, 63 and 55 trading licenses. It was at this time that I began to pursue a dual concentration MBA in Finance and Accounting, leading me to JP Morgan as a business analyst on a project management team and later transferring internally to join the Treasury Securities Services Finance division as a senior financial associate. It was this role that led me to Credit Suisse as a Global Financial Controller.

What is the biggest challenge of your work?

At Credit Suisse, my greatest challenge is coordinating large groups of diverse individuals from around the globe towards a common goal. I often have to coordinate teams across London, Zurich, Singapore, Pune, Sao Paolo, Mexico City and Nassau. In this role understanding and appreciating cultural and personal differences, influencing individuals that are critical to your success or the success of a project, communicating solutions and not problems, exploring client needs, building client relationships, resolving resistance and being proactive instead of reactive are all parts of the day to day job.

What is your proudest achievement?

My proudest achievements are not my own but in the achievements of my mentees, and their successes. Most notably, I am proud of a young man I met through a mentorship program I created through Credit Suisse for young adults transitioning out of foster care. This young man was passionate about physical fitness and mixed martial arts, but made his means by fighting in unsanctioned illegal matches in basements and alleys. He was angry, defensive, dismissive and stubborn, everything you would expect from a person who had no plan for the future. But after weeks of expressing my personal interest in his well being and having a number of career and life coaching sessions, he found a job at a large gym chain, is currently studying for his personal training license and is studying mixed martial arts in a safe and disciplined environment. I couldn’t be more proud of the young man he has become.

What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most?

I admire leaders who give of themselves freely, who are humble, passionate, compassionate, and can find creative solutions to complex social problems. A perfect example of this would be my mentor, Jose Antonio Tijerino, President and CEO of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation.

He taught me leadership is providing opportunities to others, leadership is servitude in its highest form, compassion is an act and not just a feeling, everyone deserves someone who cares about them, to give freely and let the work be your reward and that every one person you help has the responsibility to help others. He also taught me that a mentor is someone who will take a genuine interest in both your personal and professional development. It says a lot about a mentor who will ask how you're doing and genuinely care about your answer. I hope I can only do the same for my mentees.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

The short answer, I have no idea. So long as I continue to grow as an individual, as a husband, as a father, as a mentor and as an active member of my community, I’ll be prepared for any challenge that may come my way. I firmly believe that, “The steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord” (Psalm 37:23). With that, I hope to continue mentoring with a focus on underprivileged youth, to serve my community by providing opportunities to others, and hope that this Puerto Rican kid from Washington Heights can one day make an impact on the world.

What would be your advice to young people who want their careers and lives to have an impact?

As a father, my advice to my sons and to any young person who wants to make an impact in the world would be as follows:

-          Best put by my good friend Kaplan Mobray, “Know thyself…have a complete understanding of who you are, what you believe in, what you stand for, what makes you unique, and what you are most passionate about.” (The 10k’s of Personal Branding)

-          We may not always be where we want to be, but we're always where we need to be.

-          Live life with purpose, pursue your calling, let that be your direction and do it to the best of your ability.

-          Be good in deed, have a kind heart, live compassionately, be humble, be honest and do onto others as you would do onto yourself. Richness in character far surpasses material wealth.

You only get tired when you’re doing the wrong kind of work.