Carla Harris: She’s Sharing Pearls of Leadership Wisdom

June 9 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: Strategizing to Win

Are you a checkers or chess kind of gal? If you think about it, life’s kind of a mix of both of these strategy-focused games. In checkers, you see what comes your way and respond accordingly. You try to think ahead, but your opponent has a mind of his own and can ultimately undo your whole scheme. In chess, you develop a solid plan so the pieces can work together harmoniously. Some days are chess days: You plan, attack and succeed, and as a powerful queen, you totally rule. But let’s be real, ladies, most days are like checkers: You’re limited in the choices you can make and may get passed over in others’ pursuit to become king. Today, have a plan, but know that even if it gets shaken up a bit, you are still the queen of your own life!


In a recent On The Dot, we discussed that awesome statue of a defiant little girl installed directly in front of Wall Street’s famous “Charging Bull” sculpture in honor of International Women’s Day. Titled “Fearless Girl,” this bold symbol looks the bull head-on. Well—surprise, surprise—some dudes don’t like that. Fortunately, feminist voices were heard when many women stood up for what this girl represents: equality. In an awesome move of solidarity, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently extended the statue’s permit through April 2018, precisely noting the importance of the piece when he said, “Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the ‘Fearless Girl.’ ”

WOMAN TO WATCH: Carla Harris, Vice Chair of Global Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley

Today’s Woman to Watch is a money maestro and is employing her fearless and fervent perspective, along with her three decades of financial expertise, to motivate, inspire and have a positive impact in the lives of women. Her name is Carla Harris, and she’s the vice chair of global wealth management and a senior client advisor for financial giant Morgan Stanley. But that’s just her day job! Carla uses every opportunity every day to help women overcome challenges, harness their ambition and go after their goals.

In August 2013, President Barack Obama appointed Carla to chair the nonpartisan National Women’s Business Council to help further the organization’s mission of advising and counseling the president, Congress and the U.S. Small Business Administration about the important economic issues women business owners face.

The president made that choice, in part, because of Carla’s exemplary history of standing up for women entrepreneurs. This Harvard MBA grad was on Fortune’s list of The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America, Essence Magazine’s list of The 50 Women Who Are Shaping the World and, oh yeah, was named Woman of the Year in 2004 by the Harvard Black Men’s Forum and got a similar honor in 2011 from the Yale Black Men’s Forum.

Despite being able to boast about a gazillion awards, Carla is incredibly down-to-earth, and is always happy to chat with women about how to excel in life and work, even if it’s just a digital chat. In fact, in her new series, “Coffee with Carla,” she offers up what she dubs, “Carla’s pearls,” advising an audience ranging from entry-level employees to C-suite execs about how to navigate a fruitful career and find success.

In Carla’s most recent book, Strategize to Win, she discusses a different kind of currency—the relationship kind. As Carla notes, by spending time with colleagues, sharing ideas and reaffirming positive interactions, you’ll gain an influential invisible power. Relationship currency gives you the authority to get what you need in your career, recover easily from any unintentional work gaffes and make connections that will help move you up the ladder. That’s a successful strategy to win by any definition!


Let’s conclude today with some wise words from Carla Harris herself. She said:

“Fear has no place in your success equation.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

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