One turning point in Mary Callahan Erdoes' career came when she had to lead a morning conference call to review the markets worldwide. With a fixed-income background, Erdoes knew little about the other asset classes, so she gathered five people she respected from various areas and, she recalls, "quickly threw out the notion of trying to sound like an expert on everything." Instead, Erdoes became the person who asked all of the questions that others were too shy or embarrassed to ask.
"It was also public speaking indoctrination like no other," she says. "Today, the call is held every morning. We can't start our days without it."
This ability to learn on the fly served Erdoes well as she worked her way to the upper echelons of one of the world's largest banking companies. Described as a consensus builder with extraordinary leadership skills, Erdoes has been mentioned as a potential successor to JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon one day.
Erdoes, 43, joined JPMorgan in 1996 as head of fixed income for high-net-worth individuals, foundations and endowments, and by 2005 was the CEO of JPMorgan Private Bank. In 2008, Erdoes became CEO of Global Wealth Management and last year was promoted to her current position. She also sits on JPMorgan's executive and operating committees.
Erdoes' work ethic is legendary; she is known to work 12-hour days, and family time sometimes means bringing her young daughters into the office with her on weekends.
Erdoes' advice on balancing career and family: Don't try to be perfect. "A client once told me that there really is no such thing as work-life balance," she wrote. "Rather, what you should strive for is work-life integration. It's amazing how that one tip completely changed my outlook on work and family."