Mallory Greene From Wealthsimple: On Being Bold, Thinking Big, and Building Her Personal Brand
As Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Wealthsimple, Mallory Greene is passionate about building a great place to work for all, and creating a lasting impact on the communities where we work and live. Mallory has earned a reputation as someone who figures things out. She has carved her own career path by taking risks, asking for what she wants, adapting to change, and thinking big. Simple, right?
You joined Wealthsimple straight out of school as the Community Development Manager, and employee #6. Tell us about what led you to the company.
The story of what led me to Wealthsimple is all about the right timing, connections and taking chances.
After graduation, I really struggled with what was next for me. I had studied International Development at school, and always had a passion for the charitable giving space. But I was having a hard-time getting an entry-level job without having much experience. I applied for a post-graduate degree in Fundraising Management at Humber College, which would secure me a co-op position and provide me with the right skills to succeed in that space.
That summer, I volunteered with numerous organizations to get some experience under my belt. I discovered a non-profit that had just started called Marketers Without Borders (MWB). I helped them build their communication and marketing plans, host events and apply for grants. About mid-way through the summer, I chose to delay my schooling until the following year as I wasn't ready to go back.
Around the same time, I started looking for a job and I met with the Founder of MWB to chat about this new start-up he was joining. He pitched the company and asked me to join as a marketing intern. I discussed this cool opportunity with my family and friends, and most people told me not to take it. In their mind, it wasn't secure, and I shouldn't take the risk. But to me, it was a huge opportunity. I trusted my gut and in September 2014, I joined Wealthsimple’s team of six in a tiny office in Toronto. And the rest is history!
You’ve held various roles at Wealthsimple, and currently lead the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts. Describe your journey in 5 words - and elaborate on why you chose those words.
I have one word: surreal! The time has flown by, yet it feels like I've gained 20+ years of experience in that short period. I definitely did not know what I was signing myself up for when I joined the team, but I can't imagine my career being any other way. It's been an amazing ride and I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for me.
When you first signed your contract, you told the CEO you were going to lead Wealthsimple's CSR program one day. And you got there in 3 years. What would you say has contributed to your success the most?
Pretty bold for an intern. There are many things that come to mind but if I narrowed it down: give me a problem and I will solve it.
Three years at Wealthsimple and I have done every role at the company. I always joke that I've been finance, HR, marketing, operations and even an engineer. When someone needed to step up and take on a project, I had my hand up to do it. And I'm always willing to figure out how to do it (Google is my best friend).
We use this term “maker owner” at Wealthsimple. The idea that if you see something wrong, fix it. If you see something we should be doing, implement it. I have done this since I started as an intern at Wealthsimple. And because of this, I've been given the opportunity to create my own role and build out a huge program for the company. Someone recently said to me: “If anyone can figure it out, it's Mallory.” And that's the reputation I've built and will continue to build for myself. In short, that is my personal brand.
Briefly describe a day in the life of Wealthsimple’s Corporate Social Responsibility lead.
I'm currently looking at the big picture. Here are a few questions I'm diving into right now:
Our mission is to make financial services accessible to everyone, regardless of age, net worth or circumstance. How can we advance our mission?
1 year from now, 5 years from now. What do you want to accomplish? What impact do we want to have in our hometown Toronto, in Canada and beyond?
How can we scale this program globally? Think big, start small.
For others looking to fast-track their careers, what’s one piece of advice that you have?
Automate your life. If you want to take your career to the next level, you need to automate the tasks that you currently do on a day to day basis. Figure out how to get that done. From there, start picking up other tasks. You won't be placed in a role without proving that you have the capability of doing so.
What do you think is the most important skill to have in the working world today and why?
Your ability to adapt. The workplace is changing so quickly and if you're not willing to adapt and run with it, you'll have a hard time getting ahead (or even keeping up for that matter). It's not always easy but change is happening constantly, so embrace it.
What has been the best career advice you’ve received?
Ask for what you want. We hear this so often, but a lot of women are afraid to be direct or come off as aggressive. But in order to move forward, to advance in your career and do the things that you want to do, you have to ask for it. And ask for it many times. The worst thing that can happen if you ask for something - they say no and you go find someone else that will give it to you. Don't let anyone hold you back from getting what you want! It's your life, take control.
What might be next for you and your thriving career?
Almost 4 years at Wealthsimple and I still feel like I'm just getting started. I've found an organization that I love, an organization that consistently provides me with the opportunity to grow. There's so much more I can learn and accomplish here.
When I am ready to bid farewell, I will start my own business. Wealthsimple has instilled a strong sense of entrepreneurship and innovation in me, so it only seems right.
Guest writer: Jori Lichtman