• Women Financial Advisor Forum

Game On: Donna Prummell’s Inclusive Leadership Inspires Her Team’s Success

Donna Prummell, Chief Operating Officer for the Private Bank National Sales Team, fosters an inclusive environment with networking and mentoring circles.

When Donna Prummell walks out of her office and makes the “game on” face, her team knows it's time to get things done.

“I think the team needs to know you have their back,” she says. “But they also need to know that when it's time to get things done and there’s work to be done, let’s go, game on.”

Donna, Chief Operating Officer for the Private Bank National Sales Team, was nominated by her colleagues and then named to the MAKERS “Class of 2017” at Morgan Stanley. She’s found that balance between being a leader and being part of the team.

“There are times on a Friday where we all sit in my office and chat before we go home, and we’ll laugh and just decompress,” she says. ”Everybody goes home with a smile on their face. I just think that's really important.”

Donna learned her inclusive leadership style and work ethic from her parents who ran two businesses out of their Long Island home: a limousine service and a laundry business for wedding aisle runners. “Our parents were always around, and weme, my brother and sisters watched and learned about running a business by osmosis,” she says.

When asked to name her heroes, Donna immediately mentions her family. “People in every day life inspire me. I watched my mom and dad work hard and put me through college. My sister raised five kids and then went back to work. My husband, who is a fireman and worked at the 9/11 World Trade Center rescue and recovery effort, inspires me.”

Donna started off in wealth management as a Client Service Associate (CSA) for a Chairman’s Club member at PaineWebber (now UBS). She worked in the trading pit surrounded by traders, who at the time were all young men. It was high energy and exciting.

“You had to develop a really thick skin, and be tough and fast,” she says. “I loved being a CSA but I wasn’t too keen on cold calling as I don’t really have that assertive, outgoing sales personality. But I got the bug. It was just so exciting and I knew that I was staying.”

Holding a range of sales, analyst and management roles throughout her career has given her significant experiences to sharpen her knowledge and industry skills.

“I made a very conscious decision to be in sales because working in this environment, with people so different from me, challenges who I am. It helps move me to the middle where I can think more broadly and learn to consider another point of view. It’s a unique situation, and I think it has molded me.”

Donna has had great peer relationships throughout her career, being part of great teams building a circle of trust and knowing each had the others’ back.

In addition to making sure her team can provide the optimum administrative and operational support so members of the National Sales team can meet with Financial Advisors and clients, Donna believes it’s important for women to support other women.

The culture and support at Morgan Stanley has enabled her to launch a networking group and mentoring circles during her six year tenure.

“Early in my career, there were many times I struggled making career decisions as there were not many female colleagues to turn to for support and guidance,” says Donna. “So when I was asked to consider starting a networking group, I immediately thought it was important. We wanted to create a group where women could share their thoughts, ideas, and challenges, and feel like they are part of something and not on an island by themselves.”

“It’s interesting how things start. I was asked if there was something we could do specifically for the women within national sales at an upcoming national conference. We decided to host a luncheon and from there we realized there was enough energy to do more. It's really been a rewarding experience for me so I'm really proud to be a part of it.”

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