At home and at work, Hilary Sievers, a Morgan Stanley MAKER, is her authentic self—and helps others learn how to do the same.
Hilary Sievers remembers being ambitious and high-spirited in her younger years. “If each of us is born with a superpower, mine is undoubtedly energy, which has certainly followed me through my career,” she laughs.
She brings that force everywhere, including to the job she treasures in Field Leadership Development at Morgan Stanley. “Constantly becoming my best and developing others to level up is my motive at the very core,” she says, and a perfect fit for someone charged with developing professionals at the Firm.
As a working mother, Hilary says “energy can rise and fall, but I stay focused on my objective and keep going, reinventing, remembering to recharge.” She says the secret to staying energized is thinking about the goal and keeping a constructive mindset. Hilary’s wife, Tanisha, and children, Luxyn and Daxtyn, are her driving force. “I find myself dreaming big often. Luckily, my wife always finds a way to support my goals at work and home.”
In fact, for Hilary, “work and home are not separate. Part of being authentic is keeping holistic balance, sharing about my family at work and applying the same drive at home to raising our children.”
A Champion for Others
She also applies this mentality as an advocate for LGBTQ+ individuals. “Encouraging those overcoming challenges and becoming their authentic self is something I feel very strongly about.” Hilary came out in high school and is no stranger to LGBTQ+ challenges. “There were some really hard moments,” she shares. “As a teen, I was on my own much earlier than my peers. I look back and see how that moment was building me for something much bigger.”
Through partnerships with organizations like Dress for Success (DFS), she also empowers women to achieve economic independence through a network of programs and resources. With DFS, she’s been an impactful leader in the Women2Women Mentoring Program. In 2019, here mentee was selected as the “Woman of Power,” a prestigious award for workplace advancement and mission advocacy.
“Investing time to help someone leverage their strengths and succeed in doing what they once thought they couldn’t do is one of the most worthwhile ways in which I can use my energy,” says Hilary. “It’s important to be a champion for others and inspire action—to turn hope into solid goals and plans.” This, she says, is what deepens her relationships with colleagues at the Firm and partners in the community.
Hilary earned a degree in Visual Communications but quickly discerned that design was a more a hobby than a career. An avid freelance photographer, she has leveraged these skills over time but “knew it wasn’t my main gig. I’m compelled to contribute in ways that exceed what I can contribute as an artist.”
This drive inspired Hilary to return to college and earn Business Management degree, which has contributed to her success. She was brought on at Morgan Stanley more than 13 years ago in Columbus, Ohio. She was inspired significantly by her grandfather, who worked well into his 80s running his financial practice in Dayton, Ohio.
Finding her Footing
Hilary’s parents describe her as precocious from a very young age. She remembers them saying: “There’s nothing Hilary can’t do if she puts her mind to it!” She and her two brothers grew up in the small town of Brookville, where she was an athlete and once dreamed of becoming a teacher and coach. However, she was faced with overcoming complications of a chronic nerve condition following a volleyball injury. Later, she would realize this was just the start of her quest to find her true passion.
“Landing in the financial-services field was actually a surprise,” she says. “If you asked me a few decades ago where I’d be in 2020, this wasn’t even a card in my deck. Though, here I am, doing exactly what I was made to do.” Her best friend occasionally recalls the day Hilary accepted the job and reminds her of the extreme career shift she embarked on. “I was excited but unsure of the opportunity,” says Hilary. “I’m sure I thoroughly confused those closest to me, but luckily I had their support. I was determined, even though it meant driving over 175 miles roundtrip, every day, for nearly five years.”
As she worked to find her footing, leaders around her encouraged the Financial Advisor and Branch Management career paths, but Hilary knew that wasn’t her next move. She began to examine her purpose at the Firm. That’s when she met Grace Bale (Morgan Stanley MAKERs Class of 2014), and Hilary’s future began to take shape. “I remember sitting in business meetings with Grace and being inspired by this influential woman in leadership,” says Hilary. “I thought, ‘I have a purpose here; I belong here.’ It ignited me to be bold, take chances, and embrace my strengths for the organization.”
She started branching out and seizing opportunities that would develop new skills, industry knowledge, and an extended network. One of her earliest connections was with Jill Mallen, to whom she later reported. “Jill saw strengths in me that I could not see in myself,” Hilary recalls. “She helped me polish myself as a woman in leadership and ultimately discover a role that is challenging, rewarding, and elevates my strengths.” Embracing coaching throughout her career, Hilary now focuses her energy on leading Service and Risk Leadership Development across the country.
All that she gives out was reflected back in being named a Morgan Stanley MAKER, joining a group of trailblazing women nominated by their peers for their accomplishments. For Hilary, that includes showing others how to always be authentic, even at work, and that means being vulnerable. “For me, being vulnerable is having the courage to do the right thing, to give back and push forward, even when things are challenging. When we do this, we’re able to contribute to something much larger than ourselves. That’s what it’s all about!”