The CMO of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management shares valuable lessons from an accomplished career, reminding young women: be bold, take calculated risks and your opinions are valued.
Andrea Zaretsky remembers feeling intimidated at a table full of senior editors. As a recent college graduate, she had landed a job at The New York Times and kept quiet during those early weekly meetings—until a colleague took her aside and suggested she speak up. “They want your voice and to get your perspective,” he told Andrea.
Realizing her opinion is valued, Andrea first forced herself to make one comment per meeting, and more as she gained confidence. Eventually, “they really couldn’t shut me up,” she laughs.
Andrea looks back fondly on that valuable lesson. “Many young people, particularly women, are intimidated in the workplace, particularly when nobody looks like them at the table,” she says. “They don’t know the value of their voice. Like me, they need to hear that it is their job to contribute and share their unique perspective.”
It benefits careers, too. She points to a time she spoke up and got a new, larger role as a result. “The company was creating a startup with a digital agenda to modernize perceptions of the brand in the market,” says Andrea. “I knew marketing was key to that and asked the group’s senior leader if she had thought about adding marketing to the team to highlight their great work. She hadn’t, and two weeks later asked me to build and lead the marketing team.”
It’s about giving a voice to those who otherwise might not be heard.
Today, Andrea is the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and leads the charge to define and drive strategy and marketing performance for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. This remit includes the iconic E*TRADE brand, which Morgan Stanley acquired in 2020, Morgan Stanley at Work (a business that enables companies to deliver financial solutions to their employees), as well as the Firm’s traditional Financial Advisor business. She channels her boundless energy and positivity into leading a team of marketing professionals across disciplines, including branding and advertising, media and acquisition, product marketing, field marketing, content strategy and marketing operations. Before joining E*TRADE in 2019 as its CMO, she held leadership positions in marketing at such other iconic brands as SEPHORA and American Express, where she began her marketing career.
The transition from journalism to marketing was easy for Andrea, who shares how “a news story is about grabbing consumer attention and influencing public opinion, which you also need to sell products.” After a New York Times colleague suggested she look into graduate business school, she applied and was accepted to Columbia Business School, where she studied while working through her first year. She then landed a marketing internship at American Express “and loved it,” staying on to grow in nine roles over 15 years.
Focus on What You Love
Growing up in Glen Rock, N.J., Andrea was surrounded by strong women who believed in giving back and having jobs with purpose. Her grandmother was a New York City public school teacher and volunteered after retiring by teaching English to newcomers to the U.S. well into her 90s, taking two trains and two buses into New York City to do so. Andrea’s mother was also a teacher and then became a therapist. Her father came to America as a child, escaping Europe during World War II after hiding in Italy for a few years. “He was an incredible patriot, so grateful to America for taking in his family,” says Andrea, who admires how he worked hard, focused on education, got into schools on scholarship and became an engineer. He and her mom encouraged Andrea and her sister to “focus on doing what you love, and the rest will follow.”
Living in New York City, Andrea spends time with her husband and two teens. When her daughter was diagnosed with learning differences at a young age, Andrea joined a great community of families going through similar journeys. Andrea learned from other parents about ReelAbilities, the only U.S. national film festival dedicated to celebrating people with disabilities, and found community and immense passion in their programs. An avid supporter, she’s served on their advisory board for the past five years.
Bold Moves, Quick Wins
Andrea loves many aspects of her job, including the dynamic and fast-paced nature of marketing and financial services. “It’s the perfect match to my restless curiosity and desire to always be learning,” says Andrea, who also loves coaching team members and mentees, understanding what success looks like for each individual. “Whatever it is, I want to know and help them get there.”
She encourages others to have a “personal board of advisors,” a group of supporters “who have your back and can help you think through your best moves,” she says.
Those moves, she advises, should be bold and calculated, as risk-taking has been key to her career growth. “In my 15 years at American Express, almost every two years I raised my hand and asked for another challenging assignment,” she reflects.
With every new role, Andrea recommends quick wins. “As you’re building credibility with a new group of stakeholders, demonstrate that you’re listening, you understand the strategy and objectives, and that you can execute.”
Andrea’s accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. She was profiled in an article in Forbes (March 2020) that featured women who were changing the money industry, and E*TRADE’s “Don’t Get Mad, Get E*TRADE” Campaign won the pre-eminent American Marketing Association’s Effie Gold award under Andrea’s leadership.
In 2022, she was named a Morgan Stanley MAKER—joining a distinguished group of women and men, all nominated by their peers for serving as advocates, groundbreakers and innovators for women’s advancement. She’s grateful to be recognized as a change agent among those “making a difference in their communities and in their workplace, taking action, and changing lives. MAKERS are empowering,” she adds. “It’s about giving a voice to those who otherwise might not be heard.”