The Women of Baird- Sharon deGuzman
Managing Director and Senior Portfolio Manager
21 years at Baird
For decades, women have been building rewarding careers at Baird, with no limits on their ability to advance in the organization. In this series, some of our most successful women talk about how Baird has helped their careers and talents to flourish. Here, Sharon deGuzman, a Senior Portfolio Manager with Baird Advisors in Milwaukee, discusses how other women at Baird have helped her both personally and professionally, and the chaos of having triplets.
Why did you choose a career in financial services?
I took finance and economics classes in college and found them fascinating. That’s what drew me into financial services. And it’s such a critical element in most people’s lives; you’re making a difference for people and institutions so that they can make their lives or communities better. My kids ask me what I do all day, and I say that overall I help people achieve their financial goals.
Why did you choose to do what you do at Baird?
I joined Baird in 2000 from another financial services company in Milwaukee. When you’ve worked at a place where the culture changed, you appreciate the Baird culture even more. One key is the employee ownership; when you come at your job as an owner, you’re always trying to make things better for your clients rather than just punching a clock. When the client wins, everyone wins.
What is your favorite part of your job?
We’re taking care of clients, helping them navigate the financial markets and achieve their financial goals. I feel like that’s a really great part of the job – creating relationships with the clients. I also really enjoy working with our team, watching team members take on more responsibilities and grow as leaders. We’re in a very competitive business and we get measured every day, so our team has to stay focused on doing a good job for our clients every day. It brings a lot of energy to our team to always think about how we can get better.
I also enjoy staying updated on the markets. I am always reading about what’s going on. In both the stock market and bond market, there’s a constant energy that impacts what’s going on, and I find that fascinating.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten and who gave it to you?
My husband has such a great attitude about everything in life. He likes to say, “Don’t worry about what you can’t control.” It’s very grounding, and it’s a wonderful outlook that refocuses me every day.
Mary Ellen Stanek has been so instrumental in my career, both professionally and personally. She’s been a working mother like me, and one of the most important things she told me was, “Invest in a good system of childcare for your children and think of it as a long-term investment.” She has pushed me outside my comfort zone and to take risks – I know she’ll be there to support me in any possible way!
How do you like to spend your time outside the office?
You’ll usually find me either inside a gym or at a field watching some type of sports. My kids are very active in sports, and it’s been great way to connect with the other families. We’ve made a lot of great friendships that way. We also love to travel as a family. One of my most memorable trips was to the beaches of Normandy – it was really impactful to think about the people who had given up their lives, and it gives you a deeper appreciation of everything you have.
Tell me something about you that has surprised people.
People are surprised that we have five children, including 15-year-old triplets. Our house is total chaos, but it’s so much fun watching them all interact.