Marisa Kurk, Chief Strategy Officer of Northern Trust’s Global Foreign Exchange (GFX) business, won Excellence in Service Providers at Markets Media Group’s 2021 Women in Finance (U.S.) Awards.
Kurk said she was very pleased and surprised to win the award. “It’s really encouraging to see how far we’ve come as an industry and to see the depth of talent among the women on the winners list.”
At Northern Trust, Kurk collaborates with the Head of GFX and Capital Markets Leadership Team to set and drive organizational vision. She translates strategy into actionable goals for performance and growth, leading the execution and implementation of strategy, as well as directly working with clients and on FX product innovation.
She brings more than 18 years of industry experience in FX product offerings, client servicing and operating and strategic risk management frameworks.
Kurk revealed that she has always been very passionate about servicing clients, so Northern Trust has been a really great fit. “I think it’s really important to get in front of the clients, understand what their needs are, how we can serve them, and these are all strengths of Northern Trust.”
Kurk said the main drivers of her success changed over time. Early in her career it was all about the hard work: working within a team, understanding the business, and showing great work ethic.
At she has advanced in her career, she focuses more on improving the way things are done, looking at what her team should be doing for their clients, how they can innovate their product, staying in touch with the industry, and personally taking a little bit more risk.
Kurk said she’s very collaborative with members of her team: “I very much enjoy a collaborative management style.”
“My approach is to set the vision of where we’re going and put mile markers out there, but I really want to hear ideas from my team, nuances that will help us improve. I’m happy to have them collaborate strategically with me,” she added.
Kurk said she has always been goal oriented and motivated: “I’ve always been a goal setter, not just at work, but in my personal life.”
Kurk said that throughout her career she has looked to leaders in the organizations where she worked as people that she wanted to model. “It’s usually been people that were at the highest
level of the organizations. Fortunately, over time, I was able to have direct relationships with these people and learn even more from them,” she said.
She thinks it’s great to have a network, to have peers, to have role models, but the main influences for her now are advocates. “I can’t stress the importance enough for people that are looking to advance and then for those of us that are in positions to help others advance,” she said.
Kurk said she’s really proud to be part of a trading environment, which historically has been a very male centric environment. “To be able to work in three different trading institutions and really thrive is a point of pride to me,” she said.
To the next generation of women in finance she advised to connect with people early on and stay connected. “We have so many opportunities where we have natural connections with people early on, whether you went to school or started out in the industry together or they are your neighbors. Building and maintaining these relationships for the life of your career is invaluable.”