Learning and Communications Officer
Cara Garcia-Bou's early career began in the art world, in marketing and communications at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. "Working at the museum taught me how art, artists, and cultural institutions have an important and sometimes overlooked role in the positive growth and development of cities and neighborhoods," she recalls. "I think it's important for the business community to leverage its resources to support and partner with arts organizations and the nonprofit community, and I knew I could learn a lot by working on the other side of that partnership."
For nearly two years, Cara has been the learning and communications officer at the T. Rowe Price Foundation. The Foundation supports nonprofits in three key areas: youth opportunity, financial well-being, and creativity and innovation. "I love to draw and paint," she says. "Now, my notebook is for work, but it's filled with sketches as well."
What inspired you to join T. Rowe Price?
I was excited about the fact that the firm is a huge arts funder in Baltimore, but overall, working for an organization committed to being a responsible corporate citizen was, and continues to be, really important to me. I've witnessed firsthand that T. Rowe Price takes an active role as a member of the community. From the time I interviewed, the firm has demonstrated its dedication to uplifting not only its own employees but Baltimore's citizens and those in the other cities in which it operates.
How would you describe your role? Could you tell me a bit about a typical workday?
The T. Rowe Price Foundation is the firm's philanthropic arm, and the team is awesome. We're a small but mighty team, and we do a lot of big things. My primary responsibilities involve helping the Foundation to be a learning organization. I help facilitate processes and set up systems to help us learn how we can measure and explain the work that we do. The second part of my role is communicating internally about the Foundation's work and mission and communicating externally to the nonprofit community and our grantees.
What skills or training do you need to succeed in your role?
There's a lot of focus on what people call "soft skills" like empathy, listening, and reflecting. You have to be open to feedback and making adjustments and changes. You also need writing, communication, analytical, and project management skills.
Still, there is always room to grow. I'm pursuing my M.B.A. at night, with the support of T. Rowe Price. My goal is to take my nonprofit and for-profit experiences and help advance better partnerships between the sectors.
Let's talk about the T. Rowe Price work culture. What type of person thrives there?
Someone that's excited to share their ideas and work collaboratively. When you start a new job at a new company, there's this pull between wanting to fit in and stand out at the same time. In my experience at T. Rowe Price, I have felt empowered to share my ideas and opinions. The company really values diversity of thought. I feel like people want to hear everybody's voice at the table, and I think that's pretty special.
How does having people from diverse backgrounds make the culture at T. Rowe Price stronger than competing firms in the financial industry?
I know this is totally corny, but we're human, and we're made up of a sum of parts—our lived experiences, family history, cultures, traditions, values, and approaches to work. We have different successes and failures, goals, and fears. We carry these with us at work, whether we want to or not. These differences foster diversity of thought. Overall, I believe that teams with diversity of thought that represent different lived experiences and views of the world are stronger and better for it. It helps people point out each other's blind spots.
The business resource group (BRG) community is an incredible support network and another way that T. Rowe promotes diversity. My family is from the Dominican Republic, and in the Latinx BRG, I meet people with similar stories, backgrounds, sentiments, and experiences. Even if I'm not talking to them every day, I feel like I can reach out to anyone at any time, whether it's like, "Hey, do you know where I could find XYZ?" or "How did you navigate your career at T. Rowe Price?" Everyone is open to talking.
What's the biggest takeaway from your career at T. Rowe Price?
From day one, whether it's presenting to the T. Rowe Price Foundation board or internally to a handful of colleagues, I've had a ton of amazing opportunities to learn how to present complicated projects or scenarios that I've had to make succinct and digestible. So often, it's had me shaking in my boots. But when it's done, I think, "Wow! I'm thrilled I got to do that."
Knowing what you know now, what kind of advice would you give your younger self as you began your career?
I would say take note of what you like to do and what you don't want to do. Finding the thing that energizes you will be more productive than spending energy on things you don't like.