Pride Month 2022 | Managing Director Ally Interview

 

Pride Month 2022 | Managing Director Ally Interview

Pride Month 2022 | Managing Director Ally Interview

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June 15, 2022

 
 

Will: Victoria, thank you so much for your time today, and more importantly, for your support of the LGBT+ community at Morgan Stanley as an Active Ally. To kickoff, can you talk a little bit about your role at the Firm?

Victoria: I’m honored to be here and thank you for having me. To your question, I serve as the Chief Operating Officer of the Solutions & Multi-Asset Group of Morgan Stanley Investment Management. For context, the Solutions & Multi-Asset group manages over $130 billion dollars of institutional and high-net-worth client capital across eight distinct investment teams, obviously inclusive of your Team, Will, which is the Managed Solutions Group. As you know, collectively our investment teams benefit from the breadth of capabilities of the more than 100 diverse investment professionals within Solutions & Multi-Asset, as well as our global footprint and client reach, with offices in New York, Paris, London, Hong Kong, Chicago, Singapore, and Tokyo. Our approach, capabilities, and investment professionals are united by a singular focus on delivering differentiated solutions that address the diverse needs of our clients. With that said, clearly each Portfolio Management Team within our Franchise is unique given we manage capital across bespoke multi-asset class mandates, hedge funds, delta-1 quantitatively managed equity solutions, and outcome-oriented offerings traded via non-linear instruments such as options and structured notes. I know that sounds like a bit of a mouthful, but I find the complexity of our business personally gratifying and a key differentiator relative to our peers. We offer our clients the ability to tailor their portfolios across the full alpha-beta continuum along with access to the full resources of Morgan Stanley – our clients benefit from our dedicated One Firm approach.

Will: What does it mean to you to be an Active Ally to the LGBT+ community at Morgan Stanley?

Victoria: To me, actions speak louder than words. When I first embarked on my journey as an Ally, I initially thought being an Ally meant simply joining the Firm’s Pride Network, but as I’ve evolved as an Active Ally, I’ve realized that it can be so much more. Now I understand that I don’t necessarily need to have a defined leadership position in an employee affinity network, per se, to make an impact – from my vantage point I like to think of my contributions as an Active Ally as driven by more of a mosaic approach. What I’ve seen is that the “small” things, which in isolation could seem inconsequential, can make just as much, if not more, of an impact on someone’s career. Against that backdrop, when I take in totality each isolated instance where I was able to flex my “Active Ally Muscle” I’ve learned that the difference I’ve been able to drive and the change I’ve been able to effect has been significant for my LGBT+ colleagues based on their candid feedback – which means the world to me. As it relates to Morgan Stanley, as far as I’m aware there’s no other Firm on the Street that matches us in terms of our commitment to the LGBT+ community and the premium that we place on the criticality of diversity, equity, and inclusion more broadly – full stop.

Will: You’ve spoken about your views on Active Allyship at a top-level, but how do you think about Active Allyship as it relates to the business that you help lead?

Victoria: Our business includes many diverse investment professionals who I am fortunate enough to be able to call my colleagues. My “north star”, so to speak, when thinking about how I personally can add value and affect change from an Active Ally perspective is to ensure each team member’s voice is heard and that we, as a franchise, are focused on the recruitment, promotion, and retention of the next generation of diverse investment talent. I truly believe that these individuals are the future leaders of our business.

Will: What’s been the hardest lesson you’ve had to learn as an Active Ally?

Victoria: I’d say getting comfortable with putting myself in uncomfortable situations. I was honestly terrified of saying the wrong thing or asking the wrong question initially, but I learned that when you’re caught up trying to get everything right you end up silencing yourself. At the end of the day, we’re all different and we all have different journeys, so I might not always know everything with respect to the LGBT+ experience – full disclosure: I’m a cis, straight, white, Jewish woman. All-in, I lean on my LGBT+ colleagues to feel empowered to help me to be the best Active Ally to them that I can be. I’m not perfect and I view being an Active Ally as a partnership and very much a two-way street. In a sense, allowing myself to be vulnerable has helped me to find my voice as an Active Ally to the LGBT+ community at Morgan Stanley as well as in my personal life.

Will: Switching gears, which songs and / or artists on your Spotify are currently on high rotation?

Victoria: Megan Thee Stallion.

Will: Any specific songs by Megan Thee Stallion?

Victoria: Since it’s June, I’m currently gravitating towards “Hot Girl Summer”, and not to sound overly corporate, but through an intersectionality lens I love the energy that this song gives me with respect to women’s empowerment.

Will: To close out, what’s made you most proud to be an Active Ally to the LGBT+ Community at Morgan Stanley?

Victoria: I’m always going to call a spade a spade and thinking back to when I first joined the financial services industry roughly 15 years ago, it was much less diverse, to put it frankly. When I fast-forward to today – we collectively have evolved so much. Of course, I’m one of the first to acknowledge that there’s still a lot more work to be done, but I do think that we, and especially Morgan Stanley, have made serious progress on this front. Along that vein, when I think about your question regarding what’s made me most proud to be an Active Ally at Morgan Stanley, I immediately go back to the earlier statement I made around my personal focus on the recruitment, promotion, and retention of diverse investment talent. Not to put you on the spot, Will, but you’re what comes to mind for me here. I remember when you first joined the Firm a little over 2 years ago - watching your trajectory from new hire to then lead portfolio manager to now Co-head of the Managed Solutions Group has been so exciting to watch and one of the most rewarding things that I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of as an Active Ally. My view is that every successful career has a village of people behind it – whether you’re gay, bisexual, transgender, lesbian, or straight – and what I’ll say to you, Will, is that I’m honored to be a part of your village.

Will: Victoria, your support means more than I can put into words. Thank you for your time and for all that you do as an Active Ally to the LGBT+ Community at Morgan Stanley.

Victoria: The pleasure is mine and thank you for having me today.

 
victoria.eckstein
Managing Director
COO, Solutions & Multi-Asset Group
 
william.littleton
Vice President
Co-Head, Managed Solutions Group
 

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