With a longstanding career working for and selling to financial institutions, Michele Trogni, Executive Vice President of Consolidated Markets and Solutions at IHS Markit, shares her best piece of advice – success isn’t achieved by one person alone. It’s all about everyone involved, whether it’s your team, your customers or your community.
In her current role, Trogni leads the delivery of data-driven solutions for customers in product design, technology, and managed services including digital, tax solutions, counterparty manager, Know Your Customer (KYC) and Know Your Third Party (KY3P).
She is responsible for helping customers achieve their business goals and competitive advantage through focused, scalable solutions which reduce cost of ownership, improve decision making, lower risk and engage end clients.
Banking and Tech Combine for Ideal Career
As the first in her family to attend university, Trogni has always been a trailblazer. Her career in banking was built during the 25 years she spent at UBS. She first started as a financial controller, often working on integrations and merger-related projects. It was a very acquisitive time, and she was often required to close transactions in a tight timeframe. “It was a perfect fit for me as a tech-savvy accountant with a rambunctious personality,” she says.
As she took on more and more projects, her career took her from the UK to Chicago. She became more involved with the technology function, which spurred her enthusiasm as she saw the potential of combining tech into future strategy.
After a brief stint in Chicago, Trogni upped roots again and headed to New York in 1997. “My CIO at UBS was impressed with the directing I’d done on a wide variety of merger projects, but he told me that if I want to be given the opportunity to do something big, I have to really know the ins and outs of how it all works.”
Trogni was advised to move into technology to be at the coalface running the IT function, and that’s exactly what she did. “Learning how to run the division was an important milestone that propelled my career. I couldn’t have accomplished what I have, if I had stayed on a superficial level,” she says.
She was asked to become group CIO in 2009, overseeing a $5 billion budget and more than 17,000 employees – an impressive achievement considering there were still so few women in tech. After five years she decided to retire from banking, but her best-laid plans for a year off were undone when she was offered the opportunity to move from building tech to selling it through Markit after just six months into her retirement.
It is a perfect fit: selling products she understands to customers like banks and hedge funds that she knows well. “They know I have sat in the buyer’s seat which is compelling to them,” she says.
Now Trogni is responsible for a much larger role within her firm. In July 2016, Markit merged with IHS to create IHS Markit, a global powerhouse and leader in critical information analytics and solutions that drive economies worldwide. She is excited to bridge two firms from both the cultural and operating perspective, creating a new vision for the combined firm.
Making Sense of Diversity
While Trogni has the intellectual skills to succeed, she also has a high “EQ,” an emotional quotient that has served her well and, she believes, enabled her to navigate successfully as a woman in a world that is heavily male dominated. “Some colleagues ended up obsessing about that, but I never did,” she says.
Prior to the financial crisis, firms were working hard to embrace diversity, but Trogni believes that their emphasis on diversity shifted to crisis management. “We’re gradually getting back to where we were,” she says, but notes that there is still a lot of unconscious bias in the workplace that the next generation will have to deal with – something she feels positive about given the fact that millennials are a less-judgmental generation. “I’m very optimistic that they are the perfect ones to address and overcome it,” she says.
It’s the Team That Leads to Success
Over the years, she has had many peer sponsors and managers, and she believes in paying it forward, focusing on ongoing coaching. “No one’s career can be just about them,” she says.
Trogni feels professionals get the best results when they have multiple sponsors, rather than relying 100% on one person to offer the next opportunity, which can lead to burn out. These various sponsors have modeled qualities she wants to emulate, and she also takes inspiration from West Coast entrepreneurs – people who “break the mold,” like Sheryl Sandberg and Elon Musk.
She also has seen the importance of surrounding yourself with a team that offers different specialties. “I don’t need all Type A people, or sales guys or marketing pros,” she says. “You need a combination of a wide variety of skill sets because you only win when you cover all your bases.”
Of course, a sense of humor, and ability to laugh at yourself never hurts, she adds.
A Robust Life outside Work
Community service has long been an important component of Trogni’s life. She has been active with the UBS-sponsored Bridge Academy, a half industry and half governmental-supported school focused on math and music in a low-income part of London. Through fundraising activities she helped spearhead, the school was able to raise £1.5 million, allowing it to expand to offer classrooms for Sixth Form, the equivalent of US 11th and 12th grades. She also worked with the school to create female empowerment groups that introduced girls to coding and tech.
In addition, she spent four years on the board of NPower, a tech charity that trains young, underprivileged adults in the skills they need to build websites and then matches them with clients.
Mom to four kids, ages 18, 15 and 13-year-old twins, Trogni stays busy with their sports and enjoying the “loud family fun” that kids bring – fitting in CrossFit workouts when she can. The family likes to travel and relishes time spent at their home in Nantucket.
When asked to point to career achievements that she is most proud of, Trogni turns to her role leading Investment Banking Operations at UBS during the financial crisis. It was a time of high emotions in the industry as well as tremendous risk, she recalls. “Turning to sponsors, mentors and my team helped to ease this burden and proved to be a time when my EQ really came to the fore. The last thing a leader wants is to get to the top of the hill with no one behind you.”