In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that
have shaped their business philosophy.



president and CEO, Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc


Background:  

Marie Chandoha is president and CEO of Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc., the investment advisor to Schwab Funds, Laudus Funds and Schwab ETFs™ and one of the largest money market and index fund providers in the industry.

The Mistake:

My story happened very early in my career. I was working at a Wall Street firm. I was part of a small group, sitting in a meeting when my boss said, “I’m going to be putting Neal (another person) in charge of this group.”

I remember sitting in that meeting very disappointed because I wanted that job. It felt like a gut punch. I thought I’d been doing a really good job. I thought I was more effective than the colleague who got it.

The job was never posted. It happened through a conversation between the boss and Neal.

I thought about it. It did take a few days of mulling over. I was really disappointed. [I tried to figure out] a constructive way of at least letting him know?

I called my boss and said, “The next time that job opens up, I’d like to be considered for the job.”

Neal left after about a year. My boss called me and said, “You mentioned you’d be interested in the job.” I said yes, and I got it. The job was never posted.

Raising your hand creates opportunities.

The Lesson:

It was a great lesson early on: Taking control of your career and making it clear to your boss about what you’re interested in doing. Raising your hand creates opportunities.

I thought I was doing a really good job. I felt like if I did a good job, I’d be tapped on the shoulder. I do see this with women. They’re waiting to be tapped on shoulder, to be recognized and be given opportunities. 

It’s something I’ve seen in my 30 years of leading teams. I do see men more likely to raise their hands, express interest in a bigger role, while women [are] more quiet about that, waiting to be tapped on the shoulder for a bigger role.

I try to encourage all employees to take control of their careers. You have to express what you’re looking for, have those conversations with leaders.

What I realize now being a manager, many times a job opens up and you’re really thinking about who could be good for the role? It’s those conversations with those employees [that help]. It makes it easier for managers to think who’s good for the job, and who’s already expressed interest in the role.

Follow Charles Schwab on Twitter at @CharlesSchwab

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