Courtney Geduldig is Executive Vice President, Public Affairs for S&P Global. She is responsible for leading global government relations, internal and external communications, corporate responsibility, brand, digital, creative and corporate events.
Ms. Geduldig joined the Company in 2013 and previously served as Managing Director, Global Government and Public Policy. Prior to this role at the Company, she was Vice President of Global Regulatory Affairs at Standard & Poor’s.
Before joining the Company, Ms. Geduldig was Managing Director and Head of Federal Government Relations at the Financial Services Forum. From 2008 to 2011, she served as Chief Financial Counsel to Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), handling a wide range of issues and played a key role in advising Senator Corker on the “Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.” Ms. Geduldig also spent two years as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Banking and Finance at the U.S. Treasury Department.
In 2013, Ms. Geduldig co-authored the book “Where the Jobs Are: Entrepreneurship and the Soul of the American Economy.” She is on the Public Affairs Council Board, Atlantic Council Board, Positive Coaching Alliance Board, BritishAmerican Business Transatlantic Policy Steering Committee and is a member of the Maryland State Bar.
Ms. Geduldig holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of Baltimore School of Law and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, College Park.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I learned early on that being a team player is a key element to becoming a leader. Growing up, I had the privilege of watching my mom coach a college athletic team and could see first-hand the benefits of working together as a united front. As I’ve grown in my career I’ve made it a priority to institute a collaborative office environment that leverages each team members’ strengths to accomplish both short and long-term goals.
How has your previous employment experience aided your current role?
I spent the better half of my career working in politics. Jumping right into such a dynamic industry straight out of school quickly showed me the importance of thinking on my feet and adapting rapidly to different working environments. As I transitioned into a more corporate role and took on my current position at S&P Global, I saw parallels between the public and private sectors.
Being in the trenches of a huge corporation, we have our own rhythm of how we operate, and we’re always trying to better understand how to work with a variety stakeholders and gauge their needs. While coalition building and consensus is challenging at times, especially while managing through a large transition period, I have been fortunate to be able to leverage many of the tools from my previous life in government.
What have the highlights and challenges been during your current role?
I prefer to view challenges as opportunities. As a global company, we are always looking for new ways to enter new markets. This of course comes with its own set of rules and regulations that we are constantly trying to navigate. Along with this comes managing different stakeholders and expectations when attempting to leverage our unique capabilities and skill sets at the center of excellence outside of the U.S such as taking advantage of relationships or cultural awareness to open opportunities in new markets that are mutually beneficial We realize however that it’s small victories that make the greatest impact in the long run.
With that being said, overcoming obstacles to create opportunity and providing creative solutions is definitely a highlight. Being given the opportunity to constantly grow and evolve is something I will never take for granted. One of the greatest joys for me at S&P Global, however, is the pride I have in watching my staff progress into managers, leaders, and business partners that affect real change. Aside from the progress my individual staff members have made, seeing the public affairs group as a whole embed itself into the core business at S&P Global has been the most rewarding for me.
What advice can you offer to women who want a career in your industry?
The greatest advice I can offer women, and men for that matter: don’t minimize the role you can play and the value you can add based on your job description. Always think of how you can bring yourself to the next level, before you’re technically there. The value you bring and your capacity to take on stretch tasks should be evident through your proactivity and your work ethic.
Secondly, I think we can all use a reality check at times – no one is above any task. We’ve all fetched coffee for people before, and will likely have to again. We all need to roll up our sleeves, get to work and continue to be a team player, learn and ask questions no matter what title you have.
My final piece of advice is for women. For some reason, women still have a higher threshold for entry into government and financial roles. While these industries remain dominated by males, I encourage you to continue to break through and show your worth through unique perspectives and skillsets you bring to the table. Sometimes your ability to read a room will be the key to solving the business issue in question.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your career to date?
Never stop asking questions. This is the key to becoming a trusted partner. Working for cabinet secretaries and senators, I realized quickly that no one wants to be misinformed. If you don’t know the answer to someone else’s question, be honest, and then go find out. Providing inaccurate information to both your superiors or your peers will provide a short-term solution, and a long-term problem.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
This one can be tricky, especially for working parents. The older my children have gotten, and the older I’ve gotten, I have developed a better perspective on what exactly this entails.
When I was young, I devoted at least 70% of my time to my career. Now, I try to be more flexible, even if it means working odd hours to be there for my kids 100% of the time and complete all of my work after hours. I try to be as smart as possible with my time, and carefully navigate time with my kids.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Right now, we’re really focusing on revamping our CSR and S&P Global foundation strategy, which will emphasize the need to include women in the economy. A key part of our strategy is evaluating women in leadership positions and making sure the labor participation rate is increasing.
Taking a step back, we are also examining the root of the issue: access to education. We’re committed to helping women get the education they need so that they have equal opportunities in the workforce. We’re working to share our plans publically for the first time in the coming months.
How can we encourage more women to start their own business?
This was a topic I thought about extensively while writing my book, “Where the Jobs Are: Entrepreneurship and the Soul of the American Economy.”
As we conducted research and developed content for the book, we discovered that women at different points in their lives have dreamed of starting their own businesses. I think the key to bringing this dream to life is providing access to education. By providing women with the right skills and teaching them how to manage a team, we can help them break through and start a successful business, in turn accelerating economic growth.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Having outstanding mentors and bosses has been a real differentiator for me. During one of my first interviews out of law school I was asked what I thought my salary should be. When I gave my answer, the woman I was interviewing with told me I should go out and ask around, and evaluate what I should be asking for – I thought I had completely overvalued myself. Turns out, I was wrong. Once I came back with a new salary, I was told that I had previously and wildly undervalued myself. Always know your worth. It’s important to have a mentor early on in your career to make sure you understand your value.
That’s why I’ve chosen to take on the mentor role at this stage in my career. I recently had an eye-opening experience while mentoring a military fellow. I think we tend to suffer from the “mirroring effect” as mentors – meaning we look to help those who are just like us. While working with our military fellows, I’ve learned so much about the ways we relate to one another, learn, and grow – even if you don’t initially see yourself in your mentee. It was an incredibly enriching experience.
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
My mother recently passed away from cancer and while I always admired her as a woman, mother and working woman in a male dominated field, it was not until she became sick that I realized how many other young women’s lives she had impacted in a very selfless way. These women she had coached, mentored, parented through such important years were giving up time in their own lives with their own families to drive her to chemotherapy and sit with her in the hospital for days and weeks. They spoke to my brother and I and had eloquent moving remarks at her funeral. I really had no idea how impactful one life could be in changing so many others with no regard for the long extra hours that were put in that were uncompensated. I have yet to see that in another woman. I do see the seeds of that in younger women who want to give back more than they want to be heard. I admire Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and other young women who run for office because they believe in something and want to stand up for people who can not stand up for themselves. And I admire my sister who at 26, raises her own minimal salary to lead high school students as a youth minister because she is driven by her faith to help young people find theirs.
What do you want to professionally and personally accomplish in the next year?
Professionally, we still have a lot of work to do to share our brand to our stakeholder audiences in the right way. I’m looking forward to tackling this in the coming year through evolving our digital presence, better understanding data analysis and leveraging technology in the right ways. I am excited to coach my team to evolve their own thinking beyond where they were a year or two ago.
On a personal level – while my kids are always my number one priority, I am particularly focused on helping them develop in the coming years as they transition from teenagers into adulthood. My main goal is making sure they get through the next these critical years safely and productively and making them independent, contributing members of society.
What are the top three tips you can offer to an entrepreneur starting out?
My three key tips for up and coming entrepreneurs are as follows:
- Ask for advice
- Find a mentor and network
- Give back and find a career you love
By taking advantage of all opportunities and valuing the experiences of others who have been in your shoes at one time or another, entrepreneurs can find the answers and openings they need to succeed.