Brenda Coulter joined AllianceBernstein in 2000, where she currently works in the Legal and Compliance Department as Head of Compliance Surveillance and Innovation. As a valued technology partner of Nasdaq, AllianceBernstein understands that innovation is pioneering the future of the industry.
We virtually sat down with Brenda to learn more about her role at AllianceBernstein and discuss lessons she has learned in her successful career and advice she has for young professionals diving into this industry.
How did you become involved in the technology industry, and how has technology influenced your role?
I have had many different roles throughout my career on the business side within Operations, Trading, and Legal departments. From the start of my career, I have specialized in identifying and automating manually intensive processes to achieve efficiencies and improve job satisfaction. In my current role, I work closely with others in my department while partnering with leaders in the various IT departments that support the firm’s goal of modernizing our compliance program. Technology has greatly influenced my role by providing solutions to improve resource allocation and focus on more strategic initiatives.
Throughout your career, what challenges have you been presented with that you’ve had to overcome?
Within the financial services industry, products have become increasingly complex, and the need for quick access to information is critical to decision making. Technology implementations require strong partnerships with multiple stakeholders, and it is important to stay involved and invested in the process from start to finish in order to overcome challenges.
What advice would you give to young professionals who aspire to be in the technology industry?
Finding a mentor is important to help provide guidance as young professionals advance in the technology industry. Honing relationship building skills is equally as important as mastering fundamental technology skills.
How do you and your colleagues collaborate on a day-to-day basis, and do you have any advice on how to be successful working in teams?
We review technology-related project proposals as a team and work together to ensure that projects are prioritized by taking into account the effort and utility of any given solution. On a daily basis, we work together to review and document specifications for any new projects, test new technology implementations, and meet with internal developers or vendors on a regular schedule to make sure that enhancements move forward, and any potential issues are addressed.
How does diversity influence the culture at Alliance Bernstein?
At AllianceBernstein, Diversity and Inclusion is an integral part of our culture. It is a strategic priority that we want to embed throughout all facets of the firm, from recruitment and employee engagement to involvement and empowerment. For example, our employee resource groups are voluntary employee-led groups created to help accelerate the advancement of employees from diverse groups who share a common purpose interest or background. I am a co-chair of Adelante, the employee resource group for Hispanic and Latino employees. As part of my role as co-chair, I actively work together with other employee resource groups to help support each other’s professional development and engage with the communities in which we live. I also proudly serve on the firm’s Diversity Champions Council to help ensure that diversity and inclusion remain at the center of AB’s culture, policies and practices.