Senior Manager, Compliance and Risk Management
As a college student, Maria Greenwell studied business management and majored in marketing. The finance world wasn't exactly on her radar, but several of her friends were working at T. Rowe Price. "The culture just stood out," recalls Greenwell. "You can see it from day one. It was such a collaborative environment where everybody is always willing to jump in and help you succeed in your career."
That "day one" was 16 years ago. Since then, Greenwell has been anything but bored. "I actually started in retirement plan services, and then I moved to technology from there." Now she's senior manager, Digital Governance in Compliance and Risk Management. We recently spoke with Greenwell about her experience as part of T. Rowe Price.
How would you describe your role? First, tell us a bit about a typical workday.
We monitor digital properties for the firm's websites and mobile applications to ensure compliance and accuracy of our investment vehicle information. Basically, we proactively identify and resolve any compliance issues found across our digital platforms. Then, for any new client experiences, we sit on project teams to help them understand our compliance obligations and how we can present the performance data.
We're looking at the client experience and how they'll go through that flow, ensuring the designers understand what the compliance requirements are and how to present information compliantly. So, for example, when developing a shopping experience, we make sure all required performance information is displayed. We also make sure we're not emphasizing certain investment vehicles over others as the clients go through a flow, and that we're not offering advice unless we have the appropriate disclosures and required documents available to our clients. We're also constantly working on obtaining a high level of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act to ensure our content is accessible to all clients. Our experiences are built with a client-first approach.
What are the skills you need to succeed in your role?
A successful person in this role can dig into rules and regulations to provide accurate guidance to business partners. It's also important to have a foundational knowledge of how our investment vehicles work. A sense of urgency is also key since we're dealing with digital properties that can be highly visible. It's critical that any compliance issues identified are escalated and resolved quickly. Strong negotiation skills and creative problem solving are also essential. Sometimes you need to figure out solutions that are not immediately obvious because we need to balance compliance and risk concerns with practical business decisions.
How is T. Rowe Price different from other investment companies?
We always put our clients first. That's first and foremost what drew me to the company and what keeps me here.
We don't have formal training in my current role, but I always know who to call. That person will help me get to where I'm going to make sure that we can resolve whatever issue we're working through. Our culture is also special because relationships and collaboration drive how we work.
Speaking of that, let's talk more about work culture. What type of person thrives at T. Rowe Price?
Anybody willing to learn and, obviously, willing to put our clients first and help others will succeed here. I've had so many mentors who have helped me navigate my career at this firm. I've been through many different departments over the years. I feel like I've been able to be successful because so many people helped me, wanted to help me, and took the extra step to go out of their way to do that for me.
Do you volunteer or participate in any working groups at T. Rowe Price? Can you tell me about your experiences?
[In 2018] T. Rowe Price launched the women's business resource group called WAVE. I was the committee chair for communications, and I still run WAVE's GlobalNet site, which serves as our internal social media channel.
Our mission is to support the firm by increasing its ability to attract, develop, advance, and retain talented and principled women. We do that by targeting development programs to support women's advancement like mentorship programs, advocacy programs, and training them on how to interview. I wanted to join WAVE because I wanted to help women who are more junior in their careers like so many helped me. So often, women won't apply for roles—and I'm guilty of this too. When I posted for [my previous roles], if I had just seen the job description on paper, there would have been no way. I thought, "I don't qualify for this." But I had a mentor who said, "You're going to be perfect for this role. You're going to succeed in it." So our goals are to push women to say, "Put yourself out there and go and interview for it." Because you miss 100 percent of the shots that you don't take.
Knowing what you know now, what kind of advice would you give your younger self as you began your career?
Be thoughtful about what you want to do in your career – consider what activities you enjoy most and what roles would provide you more opportunities to do those things. Think about how different paths could get you to a “goal" position. Sometimes that means taking a step back or a lateral move to put you in the best position for your future goals. Overall, it's important to take risks and go for roles that may be outside your comfort zone.