Meet Amy Yan, WBC Board Member
Read her Q&A to learn about building relationships and navigating a successful career.
- What made you want to be on the board of WBC and how does the work inspire/motivate you?
I joined the board of WBC to gain first-hand experience working for a non-profit focusing on women’s empowerment. The club sponsors a range of opportunities to blend professional development with community outreach. Whether it’s mentoring college students, helping women enter the financial sector with internships and job placement assistance, recognizing future leaders through the Rising Star Program, or encouraging industry experts to strengthen and share their skills through networking forums, the WBC has had a profound impact on the financial industry and on my life. These contributions motivate me to improve, expand, and promote WBC so that more people can benefit from this network and offerings.
- Can you tell us more about your career path and share some of the risks you have taken to get where you are today?
I moved to New York City from California after graduation, leaving behind my family and friends to work in Financial Services with talented colleagues and inspiring companies. By spending much of my professional career at one firm—not to mention, within the same group—I contradicted the traditional Wall Street model that advocates diversification. While some might see committing to the same product as risky, it has pushed me to take on different roles internally and externally to accommodate an evolving industry and ever-changing management team with different styles and expectations. As economic cycles, regulation and accounting changes continue to alter the financial landscape, I have learned that success requires more than simply knowing about my company’s products and services. I focus on building and sustaining relationships that can adapt to and withstand the unknowns of tomorrow.
- What makes you passionate about financial services and what opportunities do you see for the future of the industry?
I am passionate about being in an industry that can shape the economy and, by extension, multiple facets of society—both at individual and organizational levels. In the years ahead, I believe financial technology will continue to play a crucial role in extending credit, providing liquidity, and managing risk, allowing companies with financial flexibility so that they can grow and better serve their clients.
- What is the best career advice you have received?
The advice can be summed up as follows: Ask, “What can help others meet their goals, and how can I contribute to their success?”
- Be an expert. I must know the industry, the players, the firm’s products and services, and even my own capabilities.
- Play to my own strengths. I have become more aware of the areas in which I may be stronger (or weaker) in particular industry practices, markets, product awareness, research methods, analysis, and so on.
- Be available. I am continually reminded that relationships aren’t always convenient, working on our terms or in our timeframe. Authentic relationships require time and energy, so I commit to helping when and as needed.
- Be consistent. Trust is vital in any relationship, and while it’s possible to develop trust in various ways, being consistent—in my words, in my actions, in my practices—has been instrumental in my ability to build and sustain others’ trust.
- Listen. To help others succeed, I must understand their interests, their needs, their short- and long-term goals, and their concerns. Often people will provide this information directly, but sometimes they reveal these things indirectly in what they do (or don’t do). By listening in multiple ways, I am able to learn what’s important to them.
- Ask questions. Even when I think I fully understand, I ask questions to verify that I am seeing things as others do. I may solicit more information or paraphrase what the other person has said to make sure I understood correctly. Asking questions ensures my efforts remain closely aligned with others’ interests.
- Work hard to make things happen. There have been times when the stars have aligned and the timing and resources have worked in my favor, most times, however, I must be consistently and actively involved in the process—often in the unglamorous, gritty, behind-the-scenes tasks, and usually when I already feel stretched too thin. Nevertheless, these are the times that others use to decide if, in fact, I have their best interests and success in mind. By working on others’ behalf even when things are not easy, or convenient, I have been able to build and sustain genuine relationships with individuals throughout the industry.
- Advocate for them. Expertise should help us know the questions our clients should ask, the things they should consider, the concerns they should have, the steps they should take… even when they don’t know. By asking tough questions, supporting difficult actions, providing honest assessments and, when necessary, saying things that others may not want to say, I remain committed to providing the tools, resources, information, and guidance my clients want and need to make the best decisions they can.
- Who inspires you and why?
My mother inspires me the most. When I was in elementary school, our family moved to the States. That move required my mother not only to leave her family and friends, but to spend almost two decades working in a Chinese grocery store to pay the bills—all so I would have a better education and, ultimately, better career opportunities. She is my role model when I consider how to balance my family’s needs with the demands of my profession, and I am grateful that she continues to be an active participant in both my life and, now, my daughter’s.
- One word that describes you?
- One word that describes WBC?
- Favorite social platform?
- Instagram, because I love to tell stories through photos
- Favorite vacation destination?
- The Greek Isles
- Favorite activity?
- Exploring NYC with my daughter
- First thing you read in the morning?
- Breaking news and emails from overnight
- Book that all WBC members should read?
- The Eight Pillars of Greek Wisdom by Stephen Bertmen
Amy Yan is a managing director in Global Capital Markets at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Based in New York, Amy is responsible for the origination, structuring and execution of rates and currencies risk management solutions for Fortune 500 corporate clients. As a board member co-chairing the Marketing and Communications committee, Amy leads a team that is committed to upholding WBC’s mission, elevating its brand, and expanding its reach to better serve its members.