What are the most important things you’ve learned so far in your career?
Here are my top 6 lessons – most of which I’m still working on. 1) Double and triple check everything. I learned this during my investment banking days and it has proven extremely valuable in the non-profit/international development world. Emails, your resume, cover letters, excel analyses, etc. – they should all be perfect when sent to someone else. It is amazing how often I get resumes, cover letters, and emails with typos. 2) Volunteer for everything even if it means working overtime. This is a great way of earning the respect of those you work with, particularly when you volunteer for tasks where no one else is raising their hand. Do those tasks and do them exceptionally well. In my first job, I volunteered to lead a redesign of the website. It ended up being a high profile and challenging project. 3) Bring solutions, not problems, to the table. It is very easy to point out problems. It is not easy to point out a solution to a problem and a plan to implement the solution. These end up making the best interview stories. 4) Get things done. It is amazing how rare this quality is in the professional world. If you can power through tasks that are ambiguous and/or tedious, you will go far and learn a ton in the process. 5) Over-communicate. If someone asks you for something, provide them with an estimated delivery timeframe. If you are not going to meet your estimated delivery date, proactively let them know you are going to have to push back the date. Simply letting people know will relieve anxiety around the task getting done. 6) Listen. You’re only learning when you’re listening. In my current job, I work with finance teams around the world – Haiti, Rwanda, Malawi, Lesotho – and if I don’t first thoroughly listen to understand their problems, we could waste a lot of time attempting to implement the wrong solution.
How do you balance work and family?
It is really challenging. Both my husband and I have full time plus jobs. He is a principal at Bain Capital doing private equity and I am the vice president of finance at Partners In Health, a global health care organization. On top of that, we have three very young children ages 4, 2, and 5 months. The key for us has been outsourcing almost everything that is not important. We outsource grocery shopping (Peapod), cleaning, yard care, and non-grocery shopping (Amazon Prime and other online retailers). We also have a full-time nanny and are committed to having a babysitter at least one weekend night so we can spend some non-kid and non-work time together. Because we both prioritize exercise, we’ve built a gym in our basement so we can squeeze workouts in after the kids go to bed or before they wake up. We are very lucky in the sense that we have the resources to do all of these things that make our lives far more manageable. Even still, we are exhausted and look forward to the days when our kids start sleeping past 6:00am!
What advice do you have for women in the workforce contemplating having a family?
I’m answering this question because I actually feel very strongly that we need more women at senior positions in the workforce. Unfortunately, a large percentage of women who graduate from top business schools end up leaving the workforce to raise their children. I think most women leave because they do not love their job and they can afford to stay home. This is why it is important to do two things before you have children: 1) get as far up the ladder as possible before you have kids. You will have a more challenging job as a result and also an increased ability to demand some flexibility at work post kids; 2) find a job you love. I absolutely love my job and would probably do it for free. It wasn’t until I moved into my current, more senior, role that I felt this way. It is the challenge of managing a team, helping to solve problems in developing countries, and thinking strategically that has kept me in the workforce.
Ann Richard Quandt (’01) is currently Vice President of Finance at Partners In Health, an approximately $100 million global health care non-profit organization. At PIH, Ann oversees the organization’s global financial operations consisting of approximately 140 people in ten countries. After graduating from W&L, Ann spent four years doing middle market investment banking at Lincoln International in Chicago. Ann left Lincoln to pursue an MBA at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business. Following business school, Ann joined Partners In Health where she has been for the past six years.
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