What was supposed to be a temporary job turned into a lifelong career. MAKER Tanya Curry opens up about the love for her job, appreciation for her family, and why she’ll never get complacent.
When Tanya Curry earned a degree in economics from The University of Albany, she planned to work only briefly as a sales assistant at Morgan Stanley before attending law school.
But something just clicked for her in this “temporary” job, and today, 27 years later, she is head of both the Director Share Program (DSP) and Communications & Events groups within Corporate Equity Solutions (CES), and recently was named Managing Director. “I’m definitely a Morgan Stanley lifer and proud to be one,” she says.
Besides running two businesses, Tanya is co-chair of Morgan Stanley’s Multicultural Employee Network Group, an active member of the Black Employee and Women’s Network and was named a Morgan Stanley MAKER.
“We had such a great interview that I took the job and really just became a sponge, trying to learn everything I could about the industry,” Tanya recalls. “A few months after I passed the Series 7 exam, I had my ‘ah ha’ moment and realized this is exactly what I want to do. From then on, I kept my foot on the pedal and forged ahead.”
Tanya is profoundly humbled by the MAKERS award and recognition: “The fact that my colleagues nominated me and felt that I’ve made a difference as a female, and also a minority, at Morgan Stanley makes it that much more meaningful.”
Starting as a floating assistant in 1992, Tanya was quick to join a team where she was able to do something she loved deeply: engaging and interfacing with clients. Following the Morgan Stanley merger with Dean Witter in 1997, an opportunity opened up. “After the marriage of the two firms, we started the DSP business. I was part of the team from its inception and still manage it to this day,” says Tanya of her position helping clients during their IPO process.
After 20-plus years, she never tires of her DSP work. “Every company is different and requires us to make each client experience unique,” she beams. “It’s an exacting process that affords us a very short window of time to do what we do, and I’m proud of the resounding success we’ve had pitching, securing, and executing deals for our Firm, and the stellar reputation our DSP business enjoys amongst our competitors within the industry. I have high expectations for our team.”
Suiting her lifestyle and schedule for years as a working mother, Tanya was more than satisfied with her Executive Director position year after year. In addition to the flexibility, she didn’t want to give up the business she had built from the ground up. But with her children older and not needing her as much, Tanya asked herself what more she might do to elevate her career. Her manager presented the perfect solution—the added responsibility for planning, developing and implementing all internal and external marketing strategies and communications for CES. “I was hesitant at first, but I know the firm and how to build a team around me,” says Tanya. “I have my tribe, and it’s been a great run ever since.”
Likewise, her tribe at home, comprising her husband, three children and loving parents who made many sacrifices to give Tanya, the first Curry to attend college, a head start in life, are her most significant sources of inspiration. She and her younger sister, Rachellé, grew up in the Boston suburb of Peabody in a rented apartment. Her father, a machinist, worked two and sometimes three jobs to provide for his daughters. “He’s always really wanted the best for my sister and me,” Tanya says. “We had little money, but I never knew it at the time. We always had the newest outfits, the best toys—we even went to boarding school.”
Tragically, Rachellé was killed in an auto incident over 12 years ago. Every day, Tanya carries the pain of unexpectedly losing her sister. “We were extremely close, two years apart and spoke to one another numerous times every single day,” says Tanya of her sister, who also worked at Morgan Stanley. “Losing her was like having my heart and soul cut in half.”
While she’ll never find peace with the cause of her passing, Tanya honors her sister’s memory and spirit by incorporating her life’s mission and mantra: “to perpetually confront the hurdles before you with humility and tenacity.” Rachellé remains a guardian angel for Tanya that inspires her to push forward. “It is easy to get comfortable at work, stay under the radar and get complacent in life,” says Tanya. “But then I hear my sister whispering, ‘Go. You can do more,’ and so I persevere.”
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