218: Melanie Pickett of Northern Trust: Leadership Constants in a Changing Asset Management World

Melanie Pickett is Executive VP and Head of Asset Owners, Americas at Northern Trust, based in the Chicago area.  She oversees the Alternative Asset Servicing Group and directs the firm’s strategy , growth and delivery of all firmwide products for asset owners and allocators in the America’s region. She was named 2021 Top 40 Women in Fintech and the 2021 Global Banking & Finance US Business Woman of the Year. She previously was Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director of Emory Investment Management at Emory University and prior to that spent over 10 years at Morgan Stanley.

After we trace her path into her current role, we dive in to how the function of an alternative asset servicing group is changing to meet shifting client demand as well as to cater to new product types. We look at the emergence of human centered design and the impact of AI and machine learning and then turn to the rising volume of ESG related data and its accuracy and comprehensiveness.

This leads us to diversity, and we refer back to Melanie’s long career to look at the improvement metrics around diversity in financial services, and we reflect on some of the supports that have made a positive difference in mentoring and leadership.

Staying on the topic of leadership and managing teams, Melanie refers to the adage of A players hiring As, and B players hiring Cs, we look at the formative phase that the early years in financial services can be, and overall study the impact of a very strong team and how leading one can be a high point of one’s career.

Series 5 of 2023 is sponsored by With Intelligence, which connects investors and managers to the right people and data to raise and allocate assets effectively.

The music in this podcast series – provided by Julia Kwamya – is available on her album on Spotify: Feel Good about Feeling Bad https://open.spotify.com/album/7lTQWSHeaVo3xHuF9q8ilv?si=uvGJZX7FQ9-2wX-0e951ZA&nd=1