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Voice of Experience: Jacqueline Arthur, Chief of Staff to the Co-heads of the Investment Management Division (IMD), Goldman Sachs

Jacqueline Arthur“Change doesn’t always happen when you expect, but it has altered my career and outlook for the better. Even when I have had second thoughts about past decisions, those have been my best learning moments. Taking risks throughout my career has made me more confident and resilient,” says Goldman Sachs’ Jacqueline Arthur.

From Law to Investment Management

Arthur attended law school at George Washington University after earning her undergraduate degree at Duke University. She began her career as a corporate attorney advising private equity (PE) clients, and five years later joined Goldman Sachs in the Investment Management Division (IMD), parlaying her PE experience into her new position.

Arthur noted that even though she was in a similar industry, she was looking at it through a different vantage point and in some ways felt like she was starting from the beginning. “When I started my career as a corporate attorney, I never would have envisioned this trajectory,” said Arthur. “I’m proud of risks I’ve taken to step out of my comfort zone. I’ve become open to trusting my instincts and leveraging my network and mentors, which has allowed me to be more confident in taking on new opportunities.”

One particularly exciting challenge was when she joined the Global Portfolio Solutions team in 2008, focusing on multi-asset class solutions for clients. “Our clients were relying on us to ensure their portfolios were in safe hands during a volatile time,” Arthur says. As part of the move, she was given the opportunity to broaden her responsibilities as the group focused on expanding its capabilities. “This was a terrific growth opportunity and gave me a chance to stretch beyond a pure client role to focus on management and strategy. While I had always enjoyed advising clients, I found that I also really loved thinking about how to grow our business and to ensure we are best positioned to serve our clients.”

When a position opened in 2011 to work with the chief operating officer of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, she says she leapt at the opportunity. Her role has grown significantly in the last several years, and she currently serves as chief of staff to the heads of IMD, where she focuses on a broad spectrum of initiatives across IMD’s businesses.

“Our clients come to us for comprehensive solutions, and one aspect of my role that I have found particularly rewarding is focusing on our efforts to tap into not only the intellectual capital of the people in IMD, but also the expertise of the rest of the firm. This is a powerful tool for clients, and one that differentiates us,” she says.

“I love the diversity of my work and the people I get to interact with across the firm. Every day I am reminded that I work with such a talented group of people.” Arthur says a priority for her is to identify junior talent who have the potential to excel at leadership roles within the firm.

Viewing Your Career With a Long-Term Perspective

Approach your career as a marathon not a sprint, Arthur advises, wisdom she received from a managing director when she first began working at Goldman Sachs.

“This mindset ensures you avoid burnout and retain resilience for speedbumps you might experience during your career,” she notes. “Staying the course and having a long-term perspective has served me well in the ups and downs of work-life balance.” Arthur, who is the mother of two young children, notes that while she was initially anxious to be out of the office for maternity leave, the culture at the firm is collaborative and team-focused, and she was able to resume her role seamlessly following her return to the office.

She appreciates that Goldman Sachs has a “mentorship culture.” Arthur serves as an advisor to the IMD Women’s Network on its community engagement efforts and has found the network to be a very impactful resource. She says she has also received terrific support from mentors and sponsors at key moments. “The relationships I’ve created at the firm and in the industry enable me to tap into resources that make me better at my job and have made my career more meaningful,” Arthur says.

“The Best Part of My Day”

Arthur looks forward every day to the moment when she returns home from work and her kids run to the door to greet her. “It can be hard to maintain a work-life balance, and before having children I couldn’t envision how I would be the mother I wanted to be.” But, she says that being a mom has made her more focused at work, and she believes working has also made her a better mom. “When I am with my children, I focus on being very present and engaged. They also love coming to work with me and asking me questions about my job.”

Her family loves traveling and Arthur thrives on seeing the world through her kids’ eyes and learning about different cultures with them. Closer to home, they appreciate the access they have to restaurants and the arts in New York City. “Having grown up in a small town, the experiences we can have locally constantly amaze me, and we really try to make the most of it as a family.”