Maria Dwyer, DTCC Managing Director, Head of Client Services oversees a global team of over 500 employees. She is the Winner of 2023’s Excellence in Leadership and shares her thoughts on that topic as well reflecting on the achievements she is most proud of, and the challenges of DE&I in the workplace.
You recently won the award for “Excellence in Leadership”. What is your approach to Leadership, and how do you motivate your team?
Leadership is a privilege. My achievements are only possible because of my team. Ultimately, my job is to make sure that my team is supported and given the opportunities to develop and grow. I believe it is critical that members of a team know they are empowered, have a voice and understand that they each play a meaningful role in the work that is done. At the same time, team members must receive support in reaching their own development goals.
Team culture is incredibly important to me, and I try hard to cultivate a collaborative environment based on integrity, accountability and partnership, I work to ensure that teams have open lines of communication to share where they need assistance or to escalate an issue, while at the same time feeling empowered to drive their own book of work forward.
As a servant leader, I also do not see teams as hierarchical. Instead, I believe it is critical to surround ourselves with colleagues and team members of all levels and backgrounds, who each bring their own unique strengths and perspectives. The best thing I can do is surround myself with people who are better at certain things than me, and to know when to rely on their strengths. Steve Jobs had a quote that really resonates with me – “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do.” When we come together as a team, we can collaborate and combine our strengths to provide the best solutions for the organization while delivering our best work.
As a leader in the industry, which of your achievements are you most proud of?
I am not most proud of any one thing, but instead, I am very proud of how we collectively and consistently support our clients with strategic initiatives that drive engagement and industry advancement while continuing to improve our processes. Recent initiatives such as our work to migrate 1200 clients to our CTM platform and the expansion of the firm’s MyDTCC portal to an additional 20K+ Institutional Trade Processing (ITP) clients stand out as key achievements. Specifically, MyDTCC was a critical project because it enabled ITP clients to benefit from an enhanced online support experience, with functionality like single sign-on, expanded search functionality and the ability to manage communication preferences. There is no greater feeling than seeing an initiative like this one come to fruition and provide a better experience for our clients.
More broadly, we are also keeping our eyes to the future, as the industry continues its digital transformation. Balancing innovation with managing “business as usual” remains an on-going priority for my team and me, and for the firm. This continued pursuit of advancement and driving value, while maintaining the safety and soundness of the markets each day, is something we are incredibly proud of.
Diversity has become a key priority across financial services organizations. How do you further support diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace?
DEI is very important to the success of individual teams and the larger organization. To support diversity, I have actively participated in DTCC’s Women’s Employee Resource Group (WINS) since its inception in 2010. For DTCC employees in the APAC / EMEA shifts, I run a WINS Lean In Circle called Chrysalis, which supports participating employees with professional development and networking delivered via monthly meetings. I also formally mentor five individuals.
As a leader, I am acutely aware of my responsibility and my commitment to being an advocate for rising professionals, and to serve as a sounding board and support system for women that will shape the future of the workplace. To this end, I am also passionate about my work with Girlguiding, an organization dedicated to guiding and supporting girls with the knowledge they can “do anything”. As part of my involvement with Girlguiding, I lead a “Rainbows” unit for girls aged 4-7 in Central London. Through this work and my role at DTCC, I am proud to play a small role in the future of our industry as well as the next generation of female leaders to come.
How are you seeing diversity, equity and inclusion impact the industry? Does anything need to still change for the better?
Today, I do not think we are where we need to be when it comes to diverse representation across our industry, especially at senior management levels and on corporate boards. Ideally, organizations should reflect society. But this work continues and its progress – which we are seeing - is not always linear. Collectively, we can continue to support greater equity within our own organizations by continuing to focus on, prioritize and deliver on diversity initiatives. We can also build tomorrow’s pipeline of future leaders by helping to shape and support younger generations.
This article was originally published to Best Execution on January 17, 2024.