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Photo courtesy of BlackRock.
Welcome to I Love My Job, the series where we hear from women who really love their jobs. In this edition, we sat down with Catherine Franey, a Vice President within the Aladdin Investment Accounting Group at BlackRock.
In her 13 years at the company, Franey has chosen to stay in the same group. Why? It’s “due to the tremendous amount of growth and opportunities that have been presented to me,” explains Franey. This was the case right from the beginning – “I started as a consultant and was quickly hired within 60 days as a full-time employee.”
After that, Franey grew rapidly within accounting at BlackRock, ultimately becoming the leader of her own international accounting team. Over the course of her career, BlackRock has helped Franey advance her client communication skills, providing her with constant opportunities for visibility and practice in conveying messages clearly, concisely, and accurately. She was also pulled in frequently to share her expertise with the service delivery team, which manages the firm’s accounting client relationships. BlackRock’s encouragement and focus on helping employees grow their skills is a top reason that Franey loves the company.
She also shares that “you never lose visibility within BlackRock. As a leader within my team, visibility to my leaders, peers, and clients is key to building trust and ensuring accountability and safety. People believe in what they can see. My clients and fellow employees need to observe that they are in a safe and transparent place, and that they are being fully supported with their expectations met.”
In the video below, Franey tells us more about why she loves working at BlackRock. We also provide lightly edited highlights from the video discussion in the following article.
In case you have trouble watching this video, please click here to watch it on YouTube.
In my day-to-day role, I coordinate and manage client projects and handle escalation resolution and communication. I’m also responsible for process improvement and technology to advance the client experience.
I'm helping to lead one of the largest client implementations we have underfoot. This began last year, will go the extent of this entire year, and will go live in 2024. It’s the largest-ever client implementation in the Accounting and Investment ‘Book of Records,’ which is still in progress and involves both Aladdin and our accounting system. This has me working across many different teams within BlackRock, which is a great opportunity to meet new people, find out about their expertise, and see how I can work with them in the future.
This opportunity is also challenging because it’s going to cross many different kinds of asset classes: fixed income, equities, alternatives, derivatives, and mortgages. So this will help me strengthen my understanding of each of those sectors in the marketplace.
The culture at BlackRock is diverse, fast-paced, and very inviting to career growth, opportunities, and new challenges. On my team specifically, we span many different sectors, so it provides an opportunity to really grow within the team.
BlackRock also encourages employees to be constant ‘Students of the Market’ by abreast of financial market activity, competitive landscapes, and global industry trends. Personally, I need to continue to be a Student of the Market by keeping up to date on my clients’ industry standards. I stay closely aligned to what is happening in the economy and how it may impact our Investment Accounting clients. For example, when the banks started failing, we quickly ran analytics to see which clients were directly impacted.
BlackRock is always strengthening my skill sets and understanding of the market as the firm continues to grow in our industry. That's one of the things that keeps me within the same group and at BlackRock.
The first thing that comes to mind is all of the networking and social groups within BlackRock. Of special importance to me is WIN [Women’s Initiative and Allies Network], which helps women advance at the firm. WIN ensures we can come together and hear from other women – both within and outside of the firm – on how their individual career journeys have progressed. I find that every time I attend one of these events, I leave more educated on how to approach things within my work career, and I'm also inspired on how I can succeed further.
Along with that, there are all kinds of different BlackRock Academies that offer classes for us to take at our convenience. We can take them after hours, or we can put some time aside in our calendars to do that. The Academies also bring in educators to help us stay constant with changes in the marketplace, depending on what your expertise may be within your department at BlackRock.
So there are lots and lots of exciting opportunities, and everyone is always welcome to any of these social networks. Especially for women, they’re heavily focused on making sure that everyone's comfortable within the firm and has what they need to succeed.
Come as soon as you’re ready. Women are a big part of the culture, and there are lots of opportunities here.
New joiners at BlackRock also receive a buddy – this person is someone who stays with you as you’re being onboarded. You can ask as many questions as you’d like, so I would tell people to use this relationship to its full capacity.
I'd also encourage you, as you expand your career within BlackRock, to seek out a mentor, whether that mentor is within or outside of your team.
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Check out other posts in the ‘I Love My Job’ series: