As a senior vice president, manager account associate, Terri Sesay manages over 80 PIMCO client-facing associates, analysts and interns. It’s a role that looks very different from the one she had when first starting out at PIMCO. And thanks to the amount of both outright and unspoken support she’s received from leaders, supervisors and peers, Terri can confidently say her stellar journey has been shaped by mentors at every turn.
Mentorship is a big part of helping people find their path at PIMCO, and Terri is committed to connecting associates with the right mentors who will help them — just like her managers have done for her in the past.
Below, Terri gave us her insights into how to make the most of your mentorship relationship with leaders and supervisors.
Look to Supervisors as Mentors and Allies
Often, your managers and supervisors can be the best place to start when looking for mentors because they can find the right connection for you. When Terri first started at PIMCO, her supervisor set her up for success right away through networking and introductions. Her supervisor’s ability to recognize her potential and advocate for her gave Terri exposure to a number of different PIMCO teams, including marketing, technology and client-facing.
Over the years, Terri has reported to several different managers at PIMCO and says she’s benefited from their different leadership styles, whether they were outright mentors or not. “I’ve picked up different traits from each of my supervisors,” she says.
She’s also found allies in PIMCO’s leadership, which she says is one of the best things about the company — allies have been helping women and others at PIMCO since before it was “cool”.
“’Ally’ wasn’t a term in 2001,” Terri says, “but I do feel like a lot of my mobility was because of the people in leadership roles who helped me gain exposure and build my profile at the firm, along with giving honest feedback to help me grow. It was everything they say an ally should do today.”
Advocate for Yourself and Express Your Needs Transparently
But Terri says you can’t expect your mentors or supervisors to be mind readers and find you the perfect spot in the organization – you have to advocate for what you actually want, too. For both mentors and mentees, transparency is the most important feature to ensure success.
“I try to emphasize with interns and associates that you need to be transparent with your interests,” Terri says. “When people evolve and think about how they grow, being transparent about it allows me to provide the right guidance and put them in touch with the right person.”
You also can’t expect a mentor to fall into your lap. Being upfront and straightforward with your supervisor can help them find the right person to mentor you, based on your goals and needs. PIMCO also uses technology to help connect hopeful mentees with prospective mentors, allowing them to reach out based on shared interests or goals at the company.
Find New Ways to Keep Learning
No matter what happens with your mentors along the way, Terri says you should never stop learning. “The second you stop, at a minimum, you get bored,” she says.
Wherever you work, there are always opportunities to learn new skills, whether your company offers benefits for continuing education or not. Structured learning can take place outside of a classroom, too, and webinars, informal meetups, and group projects are all great chances to learn. PIMCO offers a number of educational opportunities within the organization, which may lead new employees to find career paths they never expected. That was the case for Terri.
“When I came to PIMCO, I was a student with an econ major,” she says. “My initial learning was market innovation and Microsoft Excel. When I started managing people, I found new topics to learn and new ways to learn them.”
Expect to Manage Your Own Growth
Terri says that while mentors can look out for you and provide help when you may not even know you need it, a good mentor will give their mentee the opportunity to grow on their own. “I’m not going to tell them how to handle their challenges,” she says. “They have to figure that out.”
For Terri, the best part of mentoring at PIMCO is how interesting it is to watch people grow. “You never know where anyone will end up,” she says. “Will they end up on the trade floor, or will they do something completely different?”
Watch to learn more about these Career Growth Stories at PIMCO.
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This material contains the opinions of the speaker and may not necessarily be those of PIMCO. The experiences discussed may not be representative of the experiences of all PIMCO employees. This material has been provided for informational purposes only.