Member Highlight: Elaine Crocker

Sep 14, 2022

Gathering Experience on the Path to Career Success

In 2020, Amanda Pullinger, CEO of 100 Women in Finance (100WF), had the opportunity to converse with the President of Moore Capital Management, Elaine Crocker. She provided insight and wisdom to help others expand their field of vision – and discover their path to career success. In 2022, as she transitions from her role as 100WF Vice Chair, we want to revisit that discussion and highlight her views on the value of networks, sunk costs, and the excitement that comes with reinventing oneself along the way to personal growth and career success.

Take a moment to read this excerpt of Elaine Crocker’s 2020 podcast:

“Let me say that I would be the last person to say that one shouldn’t gather their credentials, build networks, and find mentors if one can. I will also say to be very careful with two things in your gathering of experience. The first one is don’t worry about sunk costs. What I mean by sunk costs is, for instance, if you’ve studied to be a lawyer, a doctor, an accountant, or whatever, and you’ve put a few years in, then you’ve paid the money and you’ve built the network. Don’t worry about those sunk costs because whatever skills you’ve honed, whatever you’ve gathered with your experience could be, and will be, very successful in a different environment.”

“The second thing to consider is you may find that what you are doing isn’t quite what you thought it might be. I will hasten to say, ‘Lord knows there were many times along my way that I thought, “Oh my God, what am I doing here?”’ But if you push forward a bit, focus on your path, it gets exciting again. There are those times during your career that it really is time perhaps to reinvent yourself. You are going to do a whole lot better when you enjoy what you’re doing.  What you determine to do at the beginning, at the middle, or whatever juncture you find yourself in your career helps to determine successful outcomes. Always continuing to build networks is really quite helpful when you’re looking to change direction or navigate your way along the career path.”

To experience the full interview click HERE.

Update Question
Elaine since this interview in 2020, covid has created a prolonged period of isolation, as more people work and study independently, at least physically. How do you feel it impacts building as you describe “Trust Relationships”?

I won’t debate the power of trust in an organization.  I believe trust is a strategic part of building a successful culture because it provides a safety net for employees to take risks.  If one plays it safe, does not feel comfortable to question, to look for a different solution, the organization loses its ability to be creative and to effect change.

I am a believer it is time to bring people back to the office, with perhaps a bit more flexibility than provided in the past.  Meaning we were successful out of need to have people work from home and during that long period we discovered that it was not necessary to work from the office provided the organization could provide necessary tools to accomplish work from home.  And hats off to our technologists everywhere who made this more seamless than no doubt it was and a further shout out to our employees who worked long hours from their homes and made themselves easy to reach.

We were in a survival mode and often that supports hero efforts.  We also had flexibility many never experienced—no commute, very casual dress codes, more time for most to tend to activities a full day’s work in an office plus a one to three-hour commute does not afford.  And often with the added flexibility of working in the evening to afford activities, such as lunch with the family, not attainable in the past.  For others, it was a time of isolation and missing an important element of their career in building relationships.

So I believe building trust relationships within a corporate environment encourages more risk-taking, team development, loyalty, and higher morale but what can we do if we must operate remotely.

We want to be in a work environment so we can get to know our team and develop relationships across the organization, we want to encourage the sharing of information and encourage team members to do the same, and obviously, we want this to also go beyond corporate walls so we can build relationships externally to support company goals but also develop employees.  It is essential to build external corporate relationships to extend one’s knowledge and to problem solve.

With a remote team, one must truly encourage communication, even providing more information than one might if not working with remote team members.  There needs to be more checking in with staff members, developing better communication tools to keep everyone informed.  With new employees, it is particularly difficult so better orientation programs are needed and ensuring mentors are assigned who support ongoing communication.

I think we are at a strategic point where after this prolonged work from home period, we encourage employees to return to the office.  One of the challenges I see is encouraging the more senior members of the team to understand the importance of their return to work so they can both set an example for the staff but also be available to provide leadership.  Some employees will believe because a majority of their work can be done at home, that the benefits of returning to a formal work environment are not required for growth.  They may not realize that for those in the office, it takes longer to communicate through email or zoom and communication gets less clear or at times ineffective.  That beyond the actual work product, they are missing opportunities to enhance their knowledge and connectivity to further opportunities.  I do not have the answer other than I believe it is time to return to work and provide flexibility.

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