Blog maker

THE MANUFACTURER Chris Pagano asks the right questions

After high school, Chris moved to Staten Island and attended CUNY College, where she earned a degree in history while working three part-time jobs. After graduating, she turned to a job at a museum, but given the low pay of nonprofit work, she took a second weekend job invigilating financial services exams. Eventually, she landed in an oil company. During the restructuring and sale, Chris was “blown away” by management’s decision to give nearly all employees at least one year of severance pay. “That money so early in my career changed my life,” says Chris, who used it to “pay for my education, pay off my debt, and make decisions that, for the first time, weren’t just based on ‘economy”.

This example of how to “lead with generosity” changed her trajectory, and she carries that lesson with her in her own leadership.

Once she was no longer employed by the oil company and had some breathing room to find an upcoming role that really suited her, she came across and applied for a position at Morgan Stanley. She interviewed for the position of Executive Assistant to the Director of National Sales Operations. During the interview, she had to wait three hours for the interviewee, who was dealing with a fire drill. Impressed by her tenacity, he sent her to the next round of interview. Turns out the hiring manager was born and raised a few blocks from CUNY College in Staten Island. They bonded over it, Chris says, and their “similar accents.”

Since then, Chris has grown in his wealth management role, always ready to take on new challenges, continuing to ask lots of questions and developing deep relationships built on trust. As his manager’s role expanded, so did his. “I’ve never stagnated because there are new projects, challenges and things to learn every day,” says Chris, who is grateful for the many opportunities to be at the decision-making table.

“The first time I sat in the meeting room at 1585 Broadway in New York City,” says Chris, “I couldn’t believe I was part of the conversation, learning from generous people who didn’t look up to me. like I wasn’t supposed to be there. Eventually, she recognized her strengths. “It started with wanting to make myself useful to the team before really knowing what I could bring to the table.”

Today, while maintaining the organization and efficiency of the business, she is the go-to person for “questions with no easy answers or to come up with an idea,” she says. “I get a lot of curve balls.”

Whether the problem presented is small or large, his approach is always the same: capture as many details as possible before determining the resources to devote to it. “The more detailed you are, the more material you absorb and the more you can contribute,” Chris shares. In fact, “the power of details is underestimated and generally, in the end, always appreciated”.