Podcast·2 min read

Thasunda Brown Duckett on Living Your Life Like a Diversified Portfolio

March 29, 2023

Thasunda Brown Duckett, the President and CEO of TIAA, had a “meteoric rise” in the world of finance. As the former head of Chase Consumer Banking, and now as one two Black women who currently leads a Fortune 500 company, she realized early on that “work life balance” was a myth. Instead, Thasunda lives her life like it’s a diversified portfolio, allocating time and shifting her investment in different areas. So over time, she always outperforms. Tune in to learn how. 

In this episode, Thasunda shares: 

  • How to live your life like “a diversified portfolio” 

  • Her secret to building relationships at work

  • What it means to “rent your title, own your character” at work

  • Why she almost turned down her dream role

  • What you need to know to prep for retirement

On Leadership

Thasunda: As a leader, two things can be true. I am broken, at the same time that I still strive to be joyful and to lead this company and to be a good mommy and all the other things that I'm doing. And so I just think knowing what it means to be human and being okay as a leader, not compartmentalizing it and acting as if my heart's not broken and my world has just been turned upside down, I think that's the future of leadership.

On Living Life Like a Diversified Portfolio

Thasunda: I had to acknowledge and say out loud that I only can give a hundred percent. There's no such thing as 110. I had to acknowledge that if I'm hyphenated – an executive, a philanthropist, a daughter, a girlfriend, et cetera – my children don't get a hundred percent of me.

They get like 30%. That's the truth. So once I've acknowledged the truth, then I allocate. So you write down everything that matters to you. Being a sister, a girlfriend, a wife, whatever it is, and you allocate. If everything is allocated in your portfolio, it can only add to a hundred. Here's the point. There will be market volatility. You will have to shift, like when I became CEO at TIAA had to shift my allocation much higher allocated to work. You have to respond to the market.

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