Women in Finance Awards Q&A: Teresa Woodard, T. Rowe Price

Teresa Woodard, Head of Trading Analytics, T. Rowe Price, won Excellence in Trading Analytics at Markets Media Group’s 2022 Women in Finance (U.S.) Awards.

Teresa Woodard

What was your reaction to winning the award?

I am still in awe. This is truly a dream come true. When I was younger, I never expected to work in finance let alone on a trading desk. To be recognized by the Women in Finance Advisory Board for this career that I love is such an incredible honor. The awards ceremony was filled with so many amazing women who have accomplished so much in their careers. It has been an uplifting and motivating experience. Beyond the event itself, all the emails and notes of congratulations from my colleagues at T. Rowe Price and across the industry have been so moving to me.

What have been the main drivers of your success?

Tenacity, risk-taking and self-advocacy. Like most women, I am not afraid of the long hours or the hard work. Digging deep into and solving problems comes very naturally to me. So does learning new technologies, techniques and analysis. The tenacity was always there.

What I had to learn was how to take risks and advocate for myself.

At times, being a woman of color in the industry, you get used to being the only one in the room. And with that, comes a responsibility to be the best, not make mistakes, and show that you belong. However, to stand out, you need to take risks, challenge yourself, demonstrate your value and be vocal.

My mentors and sponsors here at T. Rowe Price have been instrumental in giving me the space to innovate while pushing me to find my voice.

What is Trading Analytics and how can traders benefit?

My team and I provide analytic support to traders, trading management in support of our firm’s best execution mandate. We take reams of trading data, merge it with both internal and external data sources to measure and inform how effectively our traders can execute on our portfolio manager’s ideas.

On any given day, my team could be working with traders to design an optimal trading strategy to invest a large client inflow or researching the performance of different counterparties or trading protocols. We also use our expertise to speak to key internal and external stakeholders on understanding trading costs.

Today, more than ever, we all have a myriad of data at our fingertips. Our job is to partner with our traders to find those insights that can help move the needle for them whether it be speed of execution or choice of broker algorithm. As our portfolio managers source the best ideas for long-term performance, our Global Trading team, including Trading Analytics, is razor focused on the ways we can do that most effectively.

Do traders prefer to buy or build (code) their own analytics tools? / What are the latest trends?

There is a hybrid approach. Technology has enabled traders the opportunity to build out their own tools with the use of open-source software and easy to use visualization tools. We are starting to see traders with those skills who can build out workflow tools to make their days easier. However, we find that the partnership between the analysts on my team working directly with the traders leads to the best outcomes. My team, sitting directly on the desk, has the capacity (time and otherwise) to both source the data and really dig into the problem, present potential solutions, and then iterate through them with that partnership.

How has your career been enhanced by exposure to diverse people, places, or experiences?

My father served over 30 years in the US Navy so my sister and I spent most of our childhood on military bases where we were exposed to a plethora of diverse cultures and experiences. Being around folks of diverse perspectives is thankfully something that has been natural part of my personal life.

I can authentically say that diverse experiences and perspectives leads to more robust outcomes. As we began to build out the framework for our then equity analytics model, it was important to get input from our global trading team. Visiting with our teams in London, Hong Kong and Sydney, allowed us factor in the local nuances to build a more effective model.

It becomes even more integral the larger the impact of the solution. Now, in a leadership role, the problems my colleagues and I are tackling are much more expansive so our solutions must consider different angles and their potential impact. I know that my perspective and experience may differ from those of my colleagues. However, it is my charge to make sure that my voice is heard.

At. T. Rowe Price, we are focused on helping our clients achieve their long-term financial goals.  I believe diverse teams including the voice of women and people of color lead to better outcomes for your clients and their goals. It’s better for the business. I challenge our industry to develop and promote the talented women on their staffs.

What’s something you’re really proud of and why?

I am most proud of my career here at T. Rowe Price. I started at the firm more than 20 years ago as an administrative assistant after finishing my undergraduate degree. The job market was very different in 2001 and, after majoring in political science and Spanish, I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do.

I was lucky enough to work with investment analysts and several senior leaders who taught me about the investment process; and later the intersection of data and technology that underpins our investments business. That work, really an on-the-job apprenticeship, directly led to where I am today. I joined the desk in 2010 as an individual contributor and started to build out this best-in-class trading analytics framework that has been expanded across the globe and asset classes and that my team makes better every single day.