5 Questions with Fareena Suri

Library | 10/17/2019

Fereena HeadshotWhat inspires you in your career?

During my 15 years within the investment banking industry, I’ve had the privilege to work alongside some of the most passionate colleagues. Not only do my colleagues inspire me, but also the work itself. I’ve always positioned myself to work on projects that truly have an impact on the company. The inspiration comes from seeing that finished product, process or project producing results.

What is the most helpful advice you have ever received?

The most helpful advice I received was to have confidence; it’s obvious but largely overlooked. I was fortunate to have an all women senior leadership team in my last role that led by example. It was an incredible learning experience to watch them in action as they handled tough situations within the regulatory landscape with extreme confidence.

What are some strategies you’ve learned that can help women achieve a more prominent role in their organizations?

  1. Begin by undergoing a self-assessment which clearly identifies natural strengths as well as opportunities for growth. Your next role should include not only your strengths but also ways to advance your skill set.

  2. Connecting with people is critical for career development and leads to more prominent opportunities. I have always participated in women led voluntary organizations and committees to build my network.

What qualities do you see in the women you work with who own/manage a small business?

The answer is very simple: it starts with passion. Small businesses do not work unless there is someone at the helm with unbridled enthusiasm and passion for what they are doing. Passion drives behavior. The first thing it does is provide crystal clear focus. In the world of small business it drives business acumen. Both of these components are needed for a successful business but they are an output of passion. Years ago, my best friend called to tell me she quit her job as a math teacher and pursue her dreams to become the number one salsa dancer in the world. As you can imagine, a million questions came to mind. How was she going to pay her bills? What did she know about salsa dancing? She only danced salsa a few times in her life – how did this become her dream? She graduated with a Masters in Mathematics. It just didn’t seem like a sensible choice. Nonetheless, this is what she wanted to do and she possessed the unwavering passion needed to even attempt something like this. She failed many times but sharpened her focus with each setback. Twenty years later, she now performs and competes in major dance competitions throughout the world. She ended up winning the world championship in Salsa and Bachata. From a small business perspective, she is also the proud owner of a successful dance studio in Miami FL which is poised for even more growth.


What is your favorite book?

I love self-improvement books. The book, Find a Sponsor by Sylvia Ann Hewlett, is a must read and will change how you interact with your manager.

Women in Business

Women in Business

Valley's Women in Business program connects and empowers professional women. From entrepreneurs, to executives; we provide networking and educational opportunities that enrich the professional lives of women at every stage of their career.

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