Speaker Series with Jill Considine: Change Maker, Ceiling Breaker & Wall Street Innovator

November 19, 2020




Teiji Teramoto:

It's my great pleasure to welcome you this evening to another Speaker Series event in celebration of Mizuho's diversity and inclusion realm. This month, we honor the great progress we make as a society when we appreciate the contribution of talented people with diverse life experiences, viewpoints and expertise. Our guest of honor this evening is Jill Considine, a Director on the Boards of Mizuho Americas, Mizuho Securities USA, Mizuho Bank USA and Mizuho USA Foundation. She and I have spoken often and I really appreciate her wisdom, experience, energy and wit. Jill, thank you so much for joining us this evening.


When you think of a pioneer, you think of someone whose ability to step into a pivotal role cannot be denied, despite the fact that they appear and act like no one else who has ever gone before them. They then go to change perceptions and open new avenues of opportunity for all those who come after them. Jill fits this description perfectly. She has served as the President of New York Clearing House Association, on the Board of Directors of American Express Bank, as a member of the Board of the Fidelity's Bank of New York and, as well, three trustees of AIG Credit Facility Trust appointed by the US Treasury.


When she was sworn in as New York State Superintendent of Banks in 1985, following an impressive career at top banks, she was in her last trimester of pregnancy. She remembers a newspaper article questioning the effectiveness of someone who'd soon need to take leave. Jill, of course, excelled at the job, quieted critics and helped change opinions on what mothers of newborns working on Wall Street can accomplish. She's a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and Economics Club of New York, served on the Group of Thirty Steering Committee on Global Clearance and Settlement and as a member and speaker at the World Economic Forum in Davos.


Upon leaving her post as Chairperson and CEO of the Depository Trust and Clearing Corporation in 2006, Barron's Magazine called her "smooth operator," this because she led the integration of banks, brokers and audit managers on one platform that collectively settled $1.53 quadrillion worth of trades in her last year at the firm. Modern markets owe her a debt of gratitude, as do women on Wall Street and Mizuho for her shining example and steady guidance. I now turn it over to tonight's moderator, Darlene Pasquill, Head of Americas Equities. Thank you very much.

Darlene Pasquill:

Thank you Teramoto-san. I'm honored this evening to interview Jill Considine. Thank you so much Jill for spending the next 45 to 50 minutes with us this evening. So Jill, your start in banking is fascinating. You studied biochemistry at St. John's in college and grad school at Columbia. And at the time, I understand there weren't many women role models for you in finance, so it's safe to say you weren't on a direct finance track. Can you let the audience understand a little bit about how you started your career in finance and I'd also like to understand does your background in science... has it proved useful in the finance field? And also, who were your role models at the time?

Jill Considine:

Well, let me think about that. I graduated from high school when I was 16 year old. And at 16 trying to decide what you're going to do next is sort of overwhelming. I had been doing a lot of research. I was a little bit of science wonk in high school on planaria, which are flatworms, and I used to cut them into slices and see if they would regenerate. I thought I was going to pursue a career in science, but all of my friends were going into teaching. I really loved reading, so I thought about English. I thought, "Well, after I get out of college, what am I going to do?" I think not having any role models has a profound effect upon someone in what their career choice is going to be.


I spoke to my sister, I said, "Why did you become a teacher?" She said, "Because I could visualize myself in a classroom." I could actually visualize myself in a lab and that was because the two role models that I had at the time were Clara Barton, who was a nurse in the Civil War and founded the Red Cross, and Madame Curie, who won actually two Nobel Prizes, one in chemistry and one in physics. I think the call to science was interest absolutely, but there was a role model that I could see where I could progress. I think that's very, very important today because without role models, it's very hard for people to visualize where they're going to be.


I think everybody needs to think of themselves as a role model for someone who is a few steps or a few years behind them. That's something to takeaway because now we have role models in finance and I think it's going to make it easier for young girls to think about pursuing that as a career. Oh, I think you asked was my background helpful. Well, my interview was very bizarre because I was interviewing at a bank. They were bringing me into the technology department, which was called data processing at the time. They had no clue of what I did and I had no clue of what data processing was. It was a conversation that lasted about eight hours, neither one of us knowing how to bring it to closure.


I think at the end, I said to them... They said, "What can you offer us?" I said, "I'm going to bring the scientific method to banking and I'm going to show you how we do systematic observations, how we measure things, how we experiment, how we test and then we modify." I was 22 years old. But you know what? Now that I look back on it, there is an awful lot of the scientific method that has become very, very helpful in banking; how to observe something; how to measure something, how to make changes and how to readjust and come up with a new hypothesis, so it worked.

Darlene Pasquill:

That's a great segue Jill. So as I understand it, you moved to Chase two years later and unexpectedly, similar to your discussion, you were tasked with the technical training, managing 600 systems programmers, determining what their career paths would be at the bank. What I'd like to understand is what did you learn in your first managerial experience? And also, in your eyes, you're measuring us every day as a board member, what makes a manager outstanding in your eyes?

Jill Considine:

Let me say something. I moved to Chase and within one month of my arriving, my job had been eliminated, which is a little bit of a shock. I never had a management position before. I never had people reporting in to me and suddenly, I had 600 people in an organization matrix to me. Mine was really more of a staff role. I had these people and I would assign them to various technology projects. One of the things I learned, or several things I learned, number one is that if you're in a staff role, a staff managing role, you develop a skillset of influencing because you really don't have direct control and that influencing comes in very, very handy, even when you are in a direct line role because influencing people rather than commanding them is something that is very, very useful as you manage.

The other thing I takeaway from that is get any experience that you can because I think if you don't take the risk in getting the experience, it's difficult to progress to the next level. The other thing is you can get help and you can get help from almost any quarter and I got it from two really different areas. There was a lot of reorganizations, I said, going on at Chase and sometimes some of the senior officers would wind up in what I call the phoenix room. Actually, they were no longer on the top. I said if they go to the Phoenix room then they'd rise from their own ashes. Now, at the time, if they were in the, what I call Phoenix room, they were a little tainted and people were no longer knocking on their door because this is longer the star that they were going to hitch their wagon to.


I found that they had time and I would go and visit with them. I had a lot of advice, a lot of conversation, a lot of information from a person who was so, so much more senior than I that it was quite miraculous, but they enjoyed having someone to talk to. The other, shall I say, end of the spectrum were the secretaries at the time. And at the time, these were executive secretaries and these were women who probably had... If they started their careers 40 years after they had, would have in been in finance, but the only jobs that were open to them were secretaries, so they were very enthusiastic about helping me in my career. I would get a call and say, "So and so is in a good mood today," or, "You don't want to talk to him right now."


One time, we had just gotten the electronic typewriter that went and pre-typed letters. I had sent a congratulatory note to someone who had become a Senior Vice President, only it congratulated him on becoming Second Vice President, which was a much, much lower rank. She caught the mistake and pulled the letter and she got me another one. As I said, you can get help from many, many different areas and I think you have to really keep that in mind. The other takeaway is you have to manage in a style that's suitable for you. You may read a management book and say, "This is the way to mange." If it doesn't fit right, it comes across as false, so you have to be comfortable in what you're doing and you also sometimes have to adjust your management style to people that you're managing.


Let me give an example at DTCC. I would come in the morning, grab myself a cup of coffee and walk from office to office and spend five, 10 minutes talking to each of my executive team. We'd have these good conversations. To them, they thought it was sort of a friendly get the morning started. For me, I was checking in to see what they were doing. I was giving guidance to what they were coming along with. I was doing course corrections very subtly along the way so that when it came time for them to make the first presentation that was formal, it had already been shaped. My staff felt totally empowered because there was very little correction I had to because we had been working on it together in a very subtle format.


Now, one of my managers was a more formal person and he wanted to have a weekly staff meeting. I set aside a half hour and we had a weekly staff meeting, but all the others, it was just sort of come into the office and have a conversation. I think you have to adjust to who the person is. I think another thing I learned in the banking department... The banking department was Civil Service. How do you motivate when you can't promote and you can't reward? Because everyone took the Civil Service exam and you got promoted based on time in position or the exam that you took. How do you motivate people? Well, I went and I took all of the Deputy Superintendents and I switched their jobs.


So suddenly, they were energized. They were doing something different. I called in the first person who had been working the savings and loan area and he was exhausted. We'd had the savings and loan crisis and I was going to move him into commercial banking, which was a nice, plumb spot and he was very upset. I realized that people don't always see what you're seeing, people don't always appreciate change. I said to him, "Well, why don't you want to do this?" He said, "Well, it's never been done before." I said, "Surely the banking department was started 100 and some odd years ago. It's been done before." He said, "Only on the death of an incumbent." I said, "Well, that too could be arranged," but it was a very interesting take for me because I like change and people don't and you have to realize that and very different ways of introducing things.


The last thing has to do with someone who reported in to me at Chase in my very first job. He was not very successful in the job. If I were to rank him, he would have been in the bottom 10%. I think you have sometimes a really direct conversation and give honest feedback. I'll say his name was Joe. I said to him one time, I said, "You know Joe, I don't quite understand it. I don't think you're performing as well as you can. Do you really think technology is the role that you should be in because I think you are capable of doing a lot more?" Fast forward eight years. I'm in a different job and I get a call from Joe. My assistant comes in and says, "Joe from Chase is on the phone." I said, Joe?" "Yeah." He said, "Can I talk to you?"


I said, "Fine." He said, "I'd like to take you to lunch at Four Seasons." Hey, lunch at Four Seasons. Why not? I met him there. We sat in the pool room. He was well known by the staff there and he told me he had just been made, I don't know whether it was the Hewlett Packard Manger of the Year or for his area. He said, "And I owe my success to two people. Harry, who was a mentor and really encouraged me and you." I said, "Me," because I'm thinking, "I thought he was a jerk." He said, "Yes. You told me this is probably not the right field for you." And he said, "I got out of it. I was perfect in sales and the little bit of technology that I knew made me a much better salesman than anyone else." Sometimes honest feedback is something really, really important. Sometimes you have to encourage, but sometimes you need to just tell people the truth.

Darlene Pasquill:

That's great advice Jill as you think about managing, so thank you. As I understand, the next story is a couple years later, I understood you went out to lunch, what you thought was another casual lunch, with two board members of an organization called The First Women's Bank. And as I understand the story, before the check arrived, you had been offered a job to be the President and CEO of the bank. First off, can you explain what was the First Women's Bank, what role did it play in the financial system by women and minority owned financial institutions and highlight a few of your experiences there?

Jill Considine:

So we have to go back in history and I will give an example. My sister and her husband were both teachers. They were married right out of college and she went to apply for a credit card. She could not get a credit card unless it was signed by her husband. Women could not have credit cards in their own right. They went to apply for a mortgage and her salary was discounted by 50% because she could become pregnant, so women were totally discriminated against in terms of getting any credit. In 1974, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act was passed. It prohibited discrimination in terms of sex, gender, racial and it's amazing to think it was 1974 before this came into place.

In the meantime, First Women's Bank was just getting started to adjust and address that inequality that was there in the marketplace. Now, there were quite a few... The First Women's Bank was the first women's bank in the United States. There were quite a few minority owned banks that started around that time. I have to say, there were a couple of issues. The board members in general were totally mission driven and their mission was to lend to women. Unfortunately, they did not make the correction that they wanted to have good credit. So a mission driven institution without thinking about profitability was prone to some really hard times.


An example, which unless you're in banking you may not quite understand it. So one of the board members, now a board member mind you, said... She had just taken out a loan and I said, "I didn't see it. Did it come to the Credit Committee for approval." She said, Oh no, no. I put my deposits in the bank, but I wouldn't take money from you." Duh, that's where we make our money on loans, not on the deposit. The other thing is we had a... probably the most spectacular office I ever had and I've had some pretty spectacular offices. I was on the corner of 57th Street and Park Avenue. It was elegant, beautifully, beautifully designed. We had a lease that went on for another 12 years I believe at $8 a square foot. The current market rate was about $32 a square foot, so there was a nice bit of flexibility in there.


My suggestion after looking at the zip codes of our borrowers, our business customers, most of them were down in lower Madison Avenue and we could get some really nice property for $10 a square foot. I came up and said, "Look, if we...." We were allowed to sublet. "If we do a sublease, this is how much money we can have. It will cover the cost to move, it will cover the cost of hiring new people, going into new businesses and operating our technology." I presented it to the board and sort of the lead director said, "But do you know the value of being on Park Avenue?" I said, "Yes, I just explained it. We can make $24 a square foot on it." They never quite got it.


I also did the reverse split at the bank and people couldn't understand that if they had 50 shares and now they were going to have 25 shares proportionally, they were worth the very same amount and it was a very hard time getting them to do that, but when you were selling shares at a very low amount, it just didn't look good so I had wanted to do it. We finally got it passed, but I had to do a lot of dancing on the mathematics. So part of the problem with the minority owned banks was that people did not have experience. A lot of people who were women or minorities really felt that they could say that they had arrived because they were offered a job at JP Morgan or Goldman and not at the First Women's Bank.


The other unfortunate thing was a woman who had a business wanted to say, "I'm good enough to get a loan from Chase and not from First Women's Bank." So unfortunately, it became a little bit of a... I don't want to say a self fulfilling prophecy, but hopefully the banks have learned and now there's laws in place and it's doing the right thing and there are a lot of successful minority and women owned businesses. Unfortunately, our competition was Chase Manhattan Bank and raising capital and trying to come up with technology against something like that was difficult. But I must say, this summer in Chicago, a bank finally got a store approved to be a Women's Bank in Chicago so I'll keep my eye on it and see how successful that is.

Darlene Pasquill:

That sounds like it was a remarkable, yet challenging experience back in 1974. As I understand it next, when you were six to seven months pregnant, you left the First Women's Bank to become the New York State Banking Superintendent. Now, as I understand at the time, you had the responsibility for regulating saving and loans, credit unions, Manny Hanny, Bank of New York, JP Morgan, Bankers Trust and other banks who were not regulated by the OCC. So as I think about it, it's hard to imagine that the state, New York state, did not have maternity leave back then right? Today, it just seems remarkable to think somebody wouldn't have maternity leave. As you know, it's common practice to have maternity leave now.


Mizuho has a 20 week paid leave for primary caregiver. So what I'd love to understand is how you manged the transition and the demands placed on you and what lessons a lot of the parents in the audience can takeaway from your experiences?

Jill Considine:

Okay. Well, first of all, it was my first child, my only child. It was my first child, so I was dumb. I had no idea. I didn't quite realize what challenges would be before me. The Banking Department was founded in 1851 and it was actually the first regulatory body in the United States, actually 63 years older than the Federal Reserve. I remember when the FED was celebrating its 75th anniversary. They had a very elegant dinner and I was there. I was sitting next to one of the central bankers. I don't remember if it was from the Bundesbank or what and he said, "Oh, the FED is celebrating its 75th anniversary." I said, "Well, I'd like to invite you to ours in two years. We'll be celebrating our 140th." But it was the primary regulator, as you said, of all those institutions. It was also the regulator of foreign banks.


At the time, the FED did not regulate the foreign banks. I was known as the second largest regulator of Japanese banks after the Bank of Japan. As a matter of fact, New York state had 80% of foreign bank assets located in New York. I went in. I first interviewed for the job and no one knew I was pregnant. I went in and I spoke to the Governor. The Governor said to me, "Well, you'll need to make some disclosure." I didn't realize he was talking about financial disclosure. I said, "Well, first of all, I'm a Republican," and this was Governor Cuomo, who was a Democrat. I was a Rockefeller Republican. I said, "I'm a Republican." I said, "I'm a banker," and the banking department, since it was founded, has never had a banker there. They always thought it might potentially be some sort of conflict.


And I said, "And third, I'm pregnant." The Governor threw up his hands and he says, "I don't want to hear anymore." And actually, that interview got published in the New York Times as they announced my taking the job. I was pregnant and I wound up having the baby I think five weeks after I was sworn in. Under New York State Law, I was a cabinet member. Under New York State Law, the Banking Superintendent, if he, though it's now she, if he was in the state had to sign papers. I was in labor for 56 hours and had a caesarian. My daughter was born on Sunday night and Monday, I was signing papers in my hospital room. I didn't know and most certainly, my banking department people didn't.


The most troubling aspect of this though was about a month or two later, the Knickerbocker News, which was the leading Albany newspaper, had an editorial excoriating me and the Governor, the Governor for hiring me and me for taking a job while I was pregnant. And because there has never been a pregnant Cabinet Member, there was no provision for maternity leave. It was a rough start. I have to say, in 2012, I guess what was it, Marissa Mayer who went on to Google, she was pregnant when she was hired there. It was all over the papers, "Oh pregnant CEO," going on and on. I kept on thinking, "Wow, from celebration, from excoriations."


Now, what do you learn from that? Well, I guess the first thing that I learned is you know what? You're no longer in control and you just may as well accept it. The other thing is it's really good if you can have a good supportive partner. That's really critical. The other thing is to have a contingency plan for your contingency plan for your contingency plan. Now, I traveled a lot internationally. My husband was a judge, so we actually had a live-in nanny. I said to her, she was going to visit her family in Florida. I said, "Well, I could come on Monday afternoon and have a nice long weekend with them. Just make certain you get back in time to pick up Danielle." Of course, I was giving a day long budget presentation. At 9:30 in the morning, I got a call at the office. My daughter has conjunctivitis. She has to be taken out of the office and get her out, she's contagious.


Fortunately, I had a neighbor who got in a cab and brought my daughter down to the office. I locked her in the office and said to my assistant, "Just keep her entertained until the babysitter can get here and pick her up." I got home that night and I said, "Oh, so Danielle, how was it work today?" She said to me, "I don't think Christine has enough to do." Christine was my assistant. I said, "What do you mean?" She said, "She spent the whole day playing with me." I thought my daughter was going to grow up to be an auditor. PS, it turned out that it was not conjunctivitis, it was an allergy to a rabbit that she was playing with at school. So you always have to have a contingency and you think the contingency is, "Well, if I'm not there, we have a live-in babysitter. If we don't have to...." You always need to have a contingency plan.


I think the the other thing is you will never appreciate a Monday morning at work until you have a two year old at home. You go in and finally you're in control of something and hopefully you're working with adults. That's something that I think you have to think about. I think you may never sleep again, that a seven pound baby comes with 70 pounds of luggage and something that seems very obvious, but I never thought about, you sort of think, "I'm pregnant and once the pregnancy is over, that's it." Well, it's only just begun. You've got a big challenge ahead of you. I think you've got to do a lot of contingency plan, have a good support network, both emotionally and backup for babysitting and realize that you can only do what you can do. And you know what? Once they're in college, maybe you can clean the house.

Darlene Pasquill:

Jill, it seems like you're quite unflappable, both in challenges, as well as accepting new career opportunities. How do you and how did you historically think about next career steps? How did you identify those opportunities? And help us understand what drives you and how you remain resilient overcoming adversity, both personal and professional?

Jill Considine:

This is terrible to say, but I've never sort of had a master plan. I've taken advantage of opportunity. If something is exciting, it's interesting, if I feel that I can solve a problem, I will head in that direction. I think having a wide variety of experiences and background is very, very helpful because it makes you a bit more adjustable to circumstances. You do need to be flexible. I think it's interesting though because people say, "Well, haven't you been intimidated in going to different places?" I thought a lot about this. Intimidation is almost... It takes two to tango. Someone can intimidate, but unless you accept it, it's like a tree falling in the forest. Do you really hear the sound?


There have been lots of times that I've been in intimidating circumstances. I was at Chase. There were six of us doing the exact same job, each one of us had 600 people to manage. It was I and five guys and I got the best review. I mean, I knew that and I was taken out to lunch by the Senior Vice President of whom there were only about 10 at all of Chase at the time and told me that this was incredible and he'd never recommend a salary increase for anyone after six months, nor had he ever approved an outstanding review after six months. I was sitting with my direct boss, who was going through my review and it had at the bottom, where do you see this person in five years? Second Vice President was checked off. Great. Where do you see this person in 10 years? Second Vice President or Vice President? Second Vice President was checked off.


I said, "Peter, why not Vice President in 10 years? I mean, that's a long way to go." "Oh, I would have checked it off because you're really an outstanding performer, but you're a woman. I don't think you could ever become Vice President." This is 1975 or '76. It was just open and acknowledged. Well, you know what? You could go and hide your head in the sand, feel that you've been victimized, that people hated you, that he was never going to be supportive. I just decided, I was not only going to get mad, I was going to get even. I decided, "I am going to become even higher than a Vice President in 10 years." I eventually applied to Columbia Business School. And on my application, I wrote, "I need to have this MBA because I want to become a CEO." I really don't think that was actually in my mind, but I thought it would really look good on my application. And guess what? Within 10 years, I was the CEO of First Women's Bank. That was really something that was very helpful.


But I think you really need to think about what your goal is and how you're going to achieve it. Sometimes I say my first reaction rather than getting upset or intimidated or angry, if you think, "Are you kidding me?" is a very healthy way to look at things. When I was hired at DTCC, I was coming in as a banker and I was going to be merging the security side and the banking side. Remember, Glass-Steagall Act was in place. A lot of security firms were not happy that a banker was coming it to head up the merger. They were not happy that I came from a regulatory background because they thought it would be really strict and they were not happy that I was a woman. I went around and met the major financial institutions, banks and securities firms and investment banks and talked to them.


And at one, they were really snarky and I felt like I was going through a freshman hazing. And at the end of the conversation and lunch, they said, "So, what do you we call you? Chairlady or Chairwoman?" I thought, this is the, you've got to be kidding me moment. I turned and I smiled oh so sweetly and I said, "You know? My whole life, my goal was to become the Chairman of an organization and now I am and you will call me Chairman," and I walked out of the room. So I think you need to be resilient, you need to retain a sense of humor, you have to be determined and believe in yourself. Sometimes people say, "Oh, you've made these changes. I mean, isn't that risky?" But think of it this way, if you have jumped a chasm that's five feet wide and your next challenge is to jump a six foot chasm, don't think of it as jumping six feet, think of it as jumping just a foot and you can do it. That's my takeaway on intimidation and switching jobs.

Darlene Pasquill:

I think that believing in yourself and having confidence is so important. The next question talks around... So Catalyst. Catalyst, as you know, is an organization. It reports that only 26% of the executive committee members of financial institutions were women in 2019. In February of '21, as you know, the financial industry is set to get its first woman CEO of a big Wall Street bank and Citigroup. Does it surprise you that it took this long to get a woman CEO and can you talk about how far the industry has come from for women in the US and elsewhere? Love to hear your views on that.

Jill Considine:

Okay. So let's start with Catalyst and 26%. There are numbers and then there are numbers. I'm not certain what that 26% means. Now, we can look back and say 10 years ago, 15 years ago there were probably zero percent, so that's really, really good. Are the 26% of the women staff roles? Are they responsible for a bottom line? I mean, let's just go and say 26% and then let's take a look at Mizuho. Well, between you and Michal, you're responsible for 60% of the bottom line of CIB. Now, that's pretty impressive. I think we have to be careful of what we see in the numbers. I mean, it can be a way of motivating and they can be a way of focusing on things, but you got to get under the numbers.


Now, as to having a woman CEO at Citi, does it surprise me that it's taken this long? Yes and no. Always would have hoped that it would happen sooner and then there were times that I thought it might not be for another generation, so I am delighted. I'm also concerned that there was not more publicity of women who had made great strides beforehand. This comes back to the role modeling, but I'm trying to think of her name. I think it was Mooney who was the CEO of Key Corp and that's one of the top 20 banks in the US. You never really heard that. Now, Citibank, I understand is a different level, but it would have been nice to have a bit more publicity about some of the women who are in CEO roles within the United States.


I sort of blame that a little bit on the press. I also look back now and say, "You know what? It's a shame." I was the CEO the New York Clearing House. I was the CEO of DTCC, which was the largest clearing and settlement in the world. We processed 1.53 quadrillion when I left and it never got any publicity in the US. And interestingly enough, I was on the front page of Financial Times about three times talking about what was going on there. There is a little bit of not getting the kind of news out that I think they should be getting out. I guess the other thing is how do you get women to get into the CEO slot? It has to start so, so far back because they have to be given the experiences. They have to be given the ability to manage the P&L. I think it's a problem on both parts. I think that women sometimes don't take the risk and the corporations don't take the risk.


I think we've been lousy as industry in prepping people for the jobs that are there. It takes an incredible amount of commitment. It takes mentoring. It takes support. I think the companies are just beginning to realize that, but it's been a long way in coming and it's a pipeline. I mean, you can't start working and then become CEO in three years, so it's looking back at what's happened to the pipeline. I'm a little concerned about that, but I think we're on the right trajectory right now, but it's going to take commitment and it's going to take experience and mentoring.

Darlene Pasquill:

That's great points as we think about the times we're living in right now under COVID where women are, in some cases, stepping back opportunities to advance at work, so your points around getting in the pipeline are critical and getting the right experiences to move forward. So Jill, looking at organizations that you led through times of great change... You saw globalization. You led through the financial crisis, deregulation. You saw a lot of technological innovation and the theme that I've heard you talk about in the past is you live by adapt or die out. What's been you greatest challenge or transformation to date that you want to educate us on?

Jill Considine:

This is interesting. I think it may go back to science background, Darwin, survival of the fittest. You have to adapt in order to survive. And yes, I've been through a lot of changes, but if I were to take one example, I think it was DTCC. I went over there to do a merger, but I realized that DTCC had to change. It was being formed from the Depository and the Clearing Corporation. Each was a monopoly in their own right. They had no competition. They had been doing very well. This was 1999. They had gotten Y2K all set up and ready to go. They were fat, dumb and happy. They did not realize that the world was changing and that globalization was where our competition was coming from, that our customers were going global. We were not prepared with multi currency.


Technology was changing. We were building our own systems. We were in a build versus buy bode. It just took way, way too long. Although we returned all the profits of the end of the year, no one had a bottom line focus. There was not a P&L for any of the products and there were no goals set. It was a real problem and what made the problem even worse was that no one knew it was a problem. So bringing about cultural change is the hardest, it takes the longest and it cuts right into the heart of people and the corporation. The first thing you have to do is get out there and explain to people what the problem is, as I call it, sort of the burning platform, why we need it to change, and then paint the story, a vision, of where we want to be and then talk about how we're going to get there.


Now, there were 7,000 people at DTCC at the time. And not only that, we also had union employees, so I had to go out... This is before everyone even had a computer, let alone you could do a Zoom call. I had to town halls in front of 7,000 people. And let me tell you, by the time you have said it for probably 150th time, that's just when people are beginning to get it. We had little kiosks that people could send emails for those that didn't have their own computer and a clerk sent me the email and said, "Mrs. Considine, I heard your talk today and I understand what you've said. We either change or we die." I printed that out and I sent it to every single one of my management committee and I said to them, "He gets it. Do you?"


So bringing about cultural change is, as I said, it's upsetting to people and sometimes your concept of what makes sense doesn't happen for everyone. So I came up with 100 day plan. And why 100 day plan? I don't know. Couldn't do it 90 and 120 just seemed too long. 100 day plan and came up with corporate goals. I think we had 10 of them and it was going to be technology transformation. It was going to be paid for performance. It was going to multi currency. It was going to be coming up with a P&L. It was going to look at how we were going to strategically set ourselves. This gave people something to focus on. It energized people and it kept them from saying, "Uh oh, what's going to happen next? What's going to happen next?" There was constant feedback.


And after the 100 days, a where we are. I have to say, it was very, very hard. There were a lot of non-believers and I still remember someone saying to me, "So, what do you want us to be? Safe and sound or do you want us to be innovative and leadership?" That becomes the tyranny of or. The answer is, "I want you to be both. We need to be safe, sound, innovative and play a leadership role." Getting that point across was really difficult, but I'm really happy to say that three years later, and cultural change takes a much longer time than that, but we had gotten a AAA rating and it was not so much to get a AAA rating for borrowing purposes, but to go and say, "We've arrived and we can compete with the best...." As a matter of fact, we got a better rating than most of our competition, but we got a AAA rating.


We actually started on a long tract for re-hauling our technology. We actually started a merger with Thomas Financial. So you imagine a not-for-profit private company doing a joint venture with a publicly listed company and we had actually been competitors. They had the global footprint, but we had the technology. That was a very, very successful... a very, very successful joint venture. The culture really changed and I think people became energized. They became excited. We actually took the mortgage backed securities group and the government securities group and combined that under the Fixed Income Corporation. And I had two secret goals.


One was to have $1 billion in revenue. I didn't mention that to people because we were getting it from our clients. That was not exactly something you wanted... But to have $1 billion in revenue and the other thing is, and this goes back to science background, I started looking at the numbers and I realized, "Wow, maybe in another year, we could be at a quadrillion and a quadrillion is one times 10 to the 50th. We hit that in 2003. Our annual report that came out was entitled Once A Quadrillion. I think that was a good point of saying we move from being passive, order takers to aggressive, bold. We were now in three continents and we had a new product line. We actually came up with the Trade Warehouse for Derivatives. These are thing that we never would have done in the past because we would have been sitting back waiting for someone to tell us what they wanted.

Darlene Pasquill:

So Jill, you seem to be attracted to managing during crises. It sounds like you've done a wonderful job being innovative and coming up with new ideas to grow your businesses. So right now, we're in the midst of a crisis. Obviously, we're in the midst of a pandemic. We're going through great change. We don't have so much... It's not like an economic crisis per se, but we have a healthcare crisis. As you think about managing during great times of change, like what we're going through now, how do you advise companies such as Mizuho to successfully navigate these new challenges?

Jill Considine:

I have to say that when you are in the midst of a crisis, an awful lot of old playbook no longer works. In the past, you were sort of doing management by stop signs and very few people were making decisions. When you go into a crisis, you can throw out the old playbook. Things have really changed. I think the most important thing to do is communicate, communicate, communicate. The pandemic is extraordinary because it has touched every single part of our lives. It has touched the work. It has touched the school. It has touched our health. It's touched our religious organizations. It's touched everything that you can think of. I think now it has to be a time for leadership. It's a time to get there and really motivate, to be very, very visible, for management to be seen, for people within the organization to reassure clients.


It's also a time to admit that you may not have all the answers, to be a little humble, have a little humility, recognize that people are scared and I think that's really key. It calls for a new leadership style. I have to say, Mizuho has been doing a wonderful, wonderful job of that. The Wednesday nights, the smaller talks that have been going on, the care and concern and flexibility about people working from home has really been quite extraordinary. I think empowering people lower down in the organization is something that has been happening. I give a lot of credit. It takes a lot of courage to make some tough calls. I just want to go back to something. It's like, I'm saying that I have leadership.


DTCC was in the middle of 9/11. We were downtown. The second plane flew right by our windows. We faced the World Trade Center. It was an extraordinary time for us. In 2009, I got a note from one of the employees. I did not know who he was. He must have been quite, quite junior in 2001. He was going for his master's degree. He said that he was taking a course in leadership. He wrote to me and he said, "Leadership is hard to define, but you know it when you see it. We were each asked to come up with an example of leadership." And he said, "I thought back to 9/11 and you going up and down, all the way down to the vault, up and down, getting off on every floor with a radio in your hand." I don't recall that, "with a radio in your hand and talking to people and reassuring them and trying to keep them updated and being very, very visible." And he said, "And that, to me, is leadership and it's something I aspire to."


Now, I mean, I feel really honored at getting that, but what it brings out is that you don't realize what people are looking for and leadership is being visible and being around for people and that's what makes the pandemic even so difficult because people can't be there and being there by Zoom helps a lot. The communication helps a lot, but it's really not the same of seeing the face to face. But I think during times of crisis, leadership really become the extraordinary secret sauce that you need.

Darlene Pasquill:

Thank you Jill. I want to ask our last question. You've had some extraordinary career experiences, traveling the world, working with some of the brightest minds, also had some really tough times. Do you have a favorite experience and something that really sticks out that you could share with us?

Jill Considine:

Okay. I have been very, very blessed. My job at the New York Clearing House, once a month, I met with the 12 chairman/CEOs of the major clearing banks. That was like getting a PhD in leadership and management sitting there with them. I had the opportunity to meet with three Presidents, the Queen of the Netherlands, Prince Charles, Princess Margaret. I mean, I really had a wonderful, wonderful opportunity. I also went to some extraordinary places. I had dinner at the Hermitage. I had dinner at the Rijksmuseum in front of Night Watch. I was so afraid of cutting my grapefruit, I squirted the painting. I actually worked in Baghdad consulting with their Rakuten Bank. So, some really extraordinary opportunities.


But I think my favorite that I always go back to was, I was working at American Express Bank and we were the correspondent bank for the Vatican. We went to the Vatican and I was with John Carlo Baptiste and we got there and we worked in the morning. We went over accounts and so on. At lunch time, we went out with six Cardinals and had a lovely lunch with wine and pasta and then we came back. JB and I were taken on a tour of the Sistine Chapel with the head of the Swiss Guard. We were there for about an hour and a half. Now, if you've ever been to the Sistine Chapel, there's usually 300 people. You get two seconds to go through, look, look, look, look and you're out the door. We were there. He was telling us which of those angels was actually the illegitimate child of one of the Popes, which of the Bourgeois was there.


This is the ring that you see that actually had poison. I mean, we had a wonderful time. I came back and I said, "With all the experiences I've had, nothing can ever top this." We were standing out on the piazza and someone said something and I laughed. As you've heard, my laugh does resonate. I started to laugh and one of the Swiss Guard came up to me and he went and said, "Shh.” aI was standing up the Pope's window and he was taking his siesta and they were afraid that my laugh might wake the Pope. I think that has to be my best experience that I ever have done.

Darlene Pasquill:

That's a great experience. So Jill, I want to thank you very much for taking the time this evening and thank the Mizuho employees who have tuned in. We really appreciate it and we've learned a tremendous amount from you.

Jill Considine:

Well, this has been a wonderful, wonderful experience. And let me just say, have faith in yourself, trust your judgment, it's gotten you to where you are. There's a long road ahead, but look back and see where you've come. My example of it's not just six feet that you have to jump. If you've already done the five, it's just another. Another thing to remember is that you too are a role model and if you can be the role model and reach out to those behind, it will really help in order to increase the pipeline and soon we'll be going and saying, "Hey, you know what? They've got 26% male CEOs," because the rest are all women. So thank you Darlene. It's been a pleasure.

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