A Conversation with Alumna Karen Falcocchio, Executive Coach
Karen Falcocchio spent more than 20 years at JPMorgan Chase in New York, Sydney and London, working in a variety of roles and departments. Now, she owns her own business, coaching financial services executives at some of the world’s top banks.
Tell us about your time at the firm.
I started out in the ‘80s in New York in the Morgan Finance Program (MFP 2) and then as part of the analyst pool in Corporate Finance. From there, I did a stint on the Loan Sales trading floor, and then moved into Debt Capital Markets as an associate. I loved advising clients.
After doing that for a few years, I wanted to try my hand at advising Private Banking clients, so moved into the Private Bank. A few years into that role, my husband, who is Australian, and I moved to Sydney. The firm—and my manager at the time - was really forward thinking in allowing me to work remotely supporting the asset management business that was based in Melbourne.
I was then asked to run the graduate recruitment program for a year. I really enjoyed Human Resources. After the year was up, I became an HR Business Partner in Private Banking back in New York, and after that, Head of Human Resources in EMEA, which coincided with our move to London. I had our third child in December 2000 and came back from that maternity leave to be the Head of Learning and Development for Asset Management in EMEA. I absolutely loved that work but by 2007, it felt like my three kids were growing up very quickly and I wanted to be more involved so left the firm to focus on my family.
What are you doing now?
Several years after leaving the firm, I started to consult, offering executive coaching services for financial services firms. I wanted to fine-tune and update my skill set, so enrolled in a year-long coaching program for coaches.
I help high-performing leaders and teams with their development. I love working with clients at a pivotal point in their career, when it’s time for them to make a bigger impact on their organization. I also enjoy maternity coaching, working with senior management and supporting my clients as they manage this life-changing event. My current work has reinvigorated the best aspects of my professional life, and one of the best best parts is that I can do it flexibly.
What keeps you inspired?
As a coach, you’re in a position to be amazingly transformative. You’re brought into a safe space and you’re able to help explore discomfort or work through a challenge. You’re there to help, yet provide very honest feedback or be tough when necessary.
I like seeing the light bulb go on for a client, when together, we arrive at their next step. I’m fascinated by human interactions and what motivates people. I also really enjoy working with women, often helping them challenge what they see as their ‘authentic self’ as they move up in an organization.
How did your experience at JPMorgan Chase shape who you are today?
I was exposed to amazing leaders, and my time at the firm gave me firsthand insight into the opportunities and challenges people in financial services face. My time at JPMorgan Chase gives me credibility. I also developed a strong network while I was at the firm, one that continues to support me today.
Any words of wisdom for fellow alumni?
Invest time in your colleagues. Carve out time beyond just the time needed for a project—those relationships and experiences are valuable and enriching. It’s through the relationships that things get done, but also for me, they have lasted long after I left the firm.
Where are you most likely to be found when not working?
Walking our dog in one of London’s fantastic parks, visiting a child at university, or going to the theatre or an art exhibition.
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