Incoming Citi CEO Jane Fraser says she’s proof that working part-time isn’t a career killer

October 1, 2020, 12:38 PM UTC

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Congresswomen drill CEOs on drug pricing, Hillary Clinton debuts her podcast, and incoming Citi CEO reflects on the most critical moments of her career. Have a powerful Thursday.

– ‘Just relax, chill, take a step back.’ Jane Fraser is set to become the first female CEO of a major U.S. bank in February when she takes the helm of $103 billion Citi. So the advice she offered at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit yesterday might seem counterintuitive: chill.

Fraser, whose appointment to CEO last month broke Wall Street’s stubborn glass ceiling, said that instruction was instrumental earlier in her career when she felt the need to go all-in at home and at work. “I think the best piece of advice I got was: Why am I in such a hurry?” Fraser told me. “I remember one of my mentors saying to me, ‘Jane, you’re going to have several careers in your life, and your careers are going to be measured in decades, so why this sense of rush and trying to have everything at the same time? Just relax, chill, take a step back and enjoy the process more, and enjoy the different phases of your life.’”

For that reason, Fraser chose to work part-time after being named a partner at consulting firm McKinsey, her previous employer. That decision to carve out “precious” time with her kids was critical to her later professional achievements. “I’m so glad I did it,” she said. “I honestly don’t think I would be here today if I hadn’t.”

At the same time, Fraser says she understands the hesitancy that some working parents might feel about taking a step back from work. She hopes her own experience proves that unorthodox or more flexible work arrangements are not career-enders.

“I’m an example that it doesn’t need to sidetrack you from the longer-term goals” she said.

Another crucial career juncture was Fraser’s decision to accept the role of running strategy for Citi at the beginning of the financial crisis. She was initially uncomfortable with idea of taking the job, but heeded a friend’s advice to overcome the fear of failure. From there, Fraser got “hooked on stretch roles,” she said, “because you do learn so much.”

The 2020 MPW Summit will wrap up today with conversations with Magic Leap CEO Peggy Johnson, IBM executive chairman Ginni Rometty, Sam’s Club CEO Kathryn McLay, and more, including a special remembrance of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We’ll have the scoop from Day 3 tomorrow; there are more highlights from Day 2 below.

Claire Zillman

Today’s Broadsheet was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


- East and West. Hong Kong is caught in a "difficult situation" as its status as bridge between East and West is threatened by tensions between Washington and Beijing. Hong Kong stock exchange chair Laura Cha discussed the city's future with Claire: Fortune

- The CEO next door. Addressing the mental and emotional toll of social isolation could be society's major achievement this decade, Nextdoor CEO Sarah Friar said. She keeps that goal in mind while building local community through the social platform: Fortune

- Ultimate adviser. Companies need to get out of "crisis mode" says Accenture CEO Julie Sweet. That's the advice she's given businesses throughout the pandemic. Fortune

- Savings shortages. The coronavirus pandemic will have several long-term consequences, including on how people can—or can't—save for retirement. "This is going to have a longer lasting effect as people rebuild retirement and frankly rethink retirement," said Edward Jones managing partner Penny Pennington. Fortune

- IPO no-gos. Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon returned to the MPW Summit to discuss the business repercussions of the bank's decision not to take companies public if they have no non-white male directors. "We've really learned that by setting very specific, aspirational goals and then holding people accountable with great transparency, you can advance forward," he said. Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Tertill Corporation hired former iRobot Corp president Helen Greiner as CEO and chairman. Goldman Sachs promoted chief strategy officer Stephanie Cohen to co-head of the bank's consumer banking and wealth management division. PayPal promoted VP of investor relations Gabrielle Rabinovitch to VP of corporate finance and investor relations. American Express's Colleen Taylor and former Verizon Media CMO Allie Kline joined's board of directors. Elizabeth Cahn Goodman, EVP of government affairs and innovation at America's Health Insurance Plans, joins the board of directors at Healthify. Barbara Williams joins Allianz Global Corporate and Specialty as head of finance in Canada. 


- Better boards. California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed the state's legislation requiring companies headquartered there to have at least one nonwhite member of their boards of directors. The racial diversity law builds on the state's pioneering gender diversity boards rule. Wall Street Journal

- Democratic values. The European Commission published an audit of the rule of law in the bloc, under the leadership of VP for values and transparency Vera Jourova. The report determined that the union has failed to prevent the erosion of democratic values in some member states—including Hungary and Poland—despite its founding as a "club of democracies." Washington Post

- Price is wrong. Reps. Katie Porter, Rashida Tlaib, and Ayanna Pressley grilled pharma CEOs from Teva, Celgene, and Bristol-Myers Squibb on investigations into drug pricing. "The drug didn’t get any better, the cancer patients didn’t get any better, you just got better at making money, you just refined your skills at price gouging," Porter told former Celgene CEO Mark Alles. STAT News

- Listen up. The first episode of Hillary Clinton's podcast is out today, featuring a conversation with Sen. Kamala Harris. The former presidential candidate and current Democratic veep nominee spent part of their discussion mourning Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Glamour


Rihanna on working from home, dressing for Zoom, and Savage x Fenty’s epic new show Vogue

Joanna Coles' blank check firm aims to raise $300 million in IPO Reuters

Lillian Brown, makeup artist to nine presidents, dies at 106 New York Times


"This is not something any one tech company, nor tech companies together, can really solve alone."

- Google for Education VP Avni Shah, speaking at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit, on K-12 education during the pandemic

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