Reflecting on Career Challenges and Risks with FSI Keynote Speaker Lisa M. Shalett


With the upcoming FSI Transformation Assembly approaching in September, Digital Diary is reflecting back on The Millennium Alliance’s latest Digital FSI and FSI Transformation Keynote Speaker, Lisa M. Shalett who spoke in February.

We were proud to have Lisa address the crowd to discuss her very versatile career path, what challenges she’s faced, and most importantly, how she overcame them.

Discussing these issues so honestly, as well as talking about her continued career success is what makes Lisa, and all of our Keynote Speakers so special.

Watch the video below to see the full presentation, exclusively found on The Millennium Alliance YouTube channel.

Revenue vs. Compliance

Lisa incorporated into her presentation key themes from the conversations she heard throughout the workshops and the cocktail hour in order to share things from her career that would resonate the most with this specific audience and their pain points – such as how to be most successful in driving change.

Lisa spent 20 years at Goldman Sachs, the first eleven of which were in the Equities Division, where she began as a Japanese Equities salesperson, and went on to run International Equities, and was promoted to Partner in 2002.

At the end of 2005, she was presented with an unexpected opportunity – to become the Chief Operating Officer of the Global Compliance Division. As Lisa did not have the compliance subject matter expertise, being considered for a role like this came as a shock, but the leadership of the firm realized that as the regulatory environment heated up in the industry, the control functions were going to be the areas of greatest growth – and having a leader who had managed growth would be a real asset. Leaving an external client facing business to go into Compliance was not an obvious opportunity to many, but it became a new defining path for Lisa’s career: to take smart risks and challenge herself to add value in new ways. Her time in this role spanned a critical period in the industry: 2006-2010, which included the shocks of Lehman and Bear Stearns, and  Goldman and others becoming bank holding companies. Lisa’s goal was for these businesses to be as well known for how they ran as businesses, as for their subject matter expertise. This was an innovative approach to leadership.

After Four and a Half Years…

After success in this role, Lisa sought her next “smart risk” move, open to anything. The President of the firm asked her to become the first Partner to lead Brand Marketing & Digital Strategy and manage Goldman’s brand as the financial crisis loomed.

 “It was less of a product and services brand, and digital selling because Goldman really didn’t have to do it with its stakeholders. It was more about the reputation of the firm and the brand of the firm.”  

The SEC filed fraud charges against Goldman within 2 weeks of Lisa’s taking on the role, and she suddenly found herself living a crisis brand case study as typically “under the radar” Goldman Sachs suddenly had become a household name in a negative way.

Lisa learned firsthand that “crisis creates opportunity,” and she and her team found themselves change agents bringing innovation and new strategies to the firm.

Her goals were to make the firm more transparent, more human, and better understood, amidst a barrage of negative media about Goldman and Wall Street. One of the most interesting things was that this was exactly when digital and social channels were emerging, and learning about these became a focus and a completely new set of options to consider.

 “At that exact time, was when digital and social channels started to emerge, in a way brands could partake.” 

Learning is Key

Lisa’s embracing learning about new technologies and platforms helped her throughout her new role. She recognized there could be a lot of learning in seeking out and meeting with startups and entrepreneurs who were bringing new approaches to marketing and advertising for brands.

Learning from others, bouncing off ideas, gaining innovative insight, was crucial to the success of Lisa and her team during this period of brand crisis and marketing disruption.

Lisa came to realize that she loved innovation and working with startups so much, she knew that would become her next smart career risk: she decided to retire from the firm after 4 years in the brand marketing role and became an advisor for start-up companies.

“I fundamentally believe that the best way for large companies to innovate is to have that means of a dialogue with all of these startups.” 

She now spends her time driving innovation — helping start-ups navigate big organizations and helping CMOs and others in big companies connect with smart entrepreneurs.

“How you work, and How You Grow”

Lisa challenged the audience to be innovative, and own innovation in the roles they are in.

Lisa emphasized that being a change agent can be lonely, and having “sanity buddies” to bounce ideas off of is so important — and that the FSI Transformation Assembly is a perfect opportunity to form terrific peer relationships.

View the rest of Lisa’s remarkable presentation here, to gain first-hand advice from this top business leader.


Lisa Shalett is a two-time Harvard University alum, having received a bachelor’s degree in East Asian Studies and an MBA. Lisa is fluent in Japanese, which is what set her apart early on in her career, and (unexpectedly) brought her to Wall Street.

Lisa started her career with Goldman Sachs in 1995 as a Japanese Equities Sales associate in NY, moved to Tokyo to lead the Japanese Shares business globally, then came back to NY to head International Equities Sales & Trading. She became a Partner in 2002. She became COO of Global Compliance, Legal and Audit in 2006, and then Head of Brand Marketing & Digital Strategy in 2010.

She retired from Goldman in 2015, after 20 years at the firm, and now advises start-up companies on their brand strategy and marketing, business development, and talent, coaching a number of entrepreneurs.

Lisa defines her career path as an experience in taking smart risks, seeing opportunities where others might not, embracing collaboration, challenging herself to always learn new things, and leveraging her ability to connect the dots and spot new ways to apply ideas in different contexts.

It was a pleasure having Lisa Shalett keynote our FSI Transformation Assembly, and Digital FSI Transformation Assembly, sharing insight and knowledge with the eager attendees.


Application to attend FSI Transformation Assembly taking place September 14-15, 2017 at Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach, FL is now open.

Join experts like Lisa Shalett from North America’s major financial services and insurance organizations to gain first-hand insight into the challenges and strengths of the leading business industries.

 Our next featured  Keynote Speaker is Scott Dillon, EVP, CTO and Head of Technology Infrastructure Services at Wells Fargo and Company.

Scott will be providing unique insight into how his team provides availability, security, and global interconnectivity for the more than 70 million customers who interact 12 billion times a year in person through the company’s 9,000 stores and 12,000 ATMs, on the phone, or online at

For information about the limited sponsorship opportunities remaining, please download the Sponsorship Prospectus >

This is not just another “Financial Services” event. Spaces are reserved for the best in the business. Apply to attend here!

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