Voice of Experience: Patricia McCarthy, Managing Director, Goldman Sachs

 By Cathie EricsonPatricia

It’s your responsibility to proactively guide and shape your career, recommends Goldman Sachs’ Patty McCarthy. “Being an active networker ensures that people think of you when opportunities arise, but it also allows you to be better at your current job,” she says. “Networking allows you to form relationships with people in your respective field, and provides avenues to solicit feedback and guidance from others.”

She also noted that finding strong mentors and nurturing such relationships is crucial to your career development, as you can solicit frank advice in order to constantly improve.

A Career Built on Seizing Opportunities

McCarthy credits her personal network with her career path, which she describes as “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,” the loopy ride at Disney theme parks.

After earning a degree from Harvard Law School, she worked at a large corporate law firm for several years, supporting clients pursuing mergers and acquisitions, before joining the Spanish-language media company Univision, where she worked in business development. However, she soon discovered she missed working in the financial services sector, and began to explore other opportunities.

After connecting with a recruiter, to whom she expressed her interest in both private wealth management and real estate, she was excited when she was recommended to apply for a role on Goldman Sachs’ Private Wealth Management (PWM) legal team. She got the job, and following six years on the PWM legal team, she transitioned to the global management team. Commenting on her movement between different teams, McCarthy said: “Goldman Sachs prides itself on offering opportunities for internal mobility and I’m glad to have been able to take advantage of that.”

Throughout her time in PWM, she has built a reputation as a “go-to” person when key projects – big or small – need to be completed. “More than achieving a title or promotion, my biggest source of pride is establishing a personal brand as an individual who can improve a process,” she says. That’s why her current position is such a perfect fit, as she analyzes new technologies and procedures to constantly improve client service.

Lending Her Career Expertise To Others Across the Firm

McCarthy cautions women to combat their tendency to just put their head down and work hard. “In general, women usually are concerned about being perceived as too aggressive, but it can impact your career if you are afraid to speak up.” She frequently tells young women not to come to her after a meeting to share their great idea, but encourages them to speak up during a meeting.

“When you have good ideas, you need to voice them and add value. Remember that your job is to contribute to your team, and that entails being confident and pushing yourself beyond what your perceived role is,” she notes.

McCarthy acknowledges that confidence will come from building and relying on a strong network of peers with whom to discuss career transitions and work/life balance, and she cautions that the need for this type of support continues as your career progresses. “Sometimes, when you become more senior, you forget that you still need mentors and a sounding board, and often your peers step in to fill that role.”

As co-head of Goldman Sachs’ Hispanic Latino Network, McCarthy is proud to draw on her Cuban heritage to educate others about Hispanic culture, as well as further the development and retention of Hispanic and Latino professionals. She felt honored when she was recently asked to participate in a panel discussion on intersectionality, which focused on the potentially hidden aspects of diversity and the importance of bringing your whole self to work. The panel was co-sponsored by several Goldman Sachs affinity networks.

In addition, she is a member of the firm’s Women’s Network, which provides mentorship opportunities and hosts events to help guide women throughout their careers. McCarthy noted that she has benefitted from network sessions that provided information to aid in work/life balance, such as women’s health and education planning for children.

Outside of the office, McCarthy enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, ages 11 and 9, engaging in active outdoor water sports. In fact, she laughingly says that since she loves water in any form, she’s even embraced “frozen water” and taken up skiing, where she can enjoy the challenge of learning something new.

As a board member of the Thyroid Cancer Care Collaborative (TCCC), she also works to educate and support those affected by thyroid cancer. “Thyroid cancer often affects younger women, and it can be really scary when you initially receive a diagnosis. I appreciate the chance to help arm others with knowledge as they begin their journey towards a cancer-free life.”