At a time when Wall Street firms have had few success stories either in relative or absolute terms, the accomplishments of Goldman Sachs' fixed-income sales unit stood out in terms both qualitative and quantitative.

"I can say publicly that the business I represent has had a record year," Goldman partner and managing director Stacy Bash-Polley says. "I feel very proud of this accomplishment, though it is not something we celebrate given what has gone on in the industry."

Interaction, both external and internal, were a key to achieving that success, says Bash-Polley, who co-heads fixed income sales at the firm. At the height of the financial crisis, Goldman's senior leadership stepped up internal communications, always keeping the tone "calm and reassuring." Lunches for managers, meetings with sales teams, and plenty of time on the trading floor all went into the mix.

Bash-Polley also made structural changes, such as pulling sales people outside of product silos. "I wanted to think through the boundaries around products, think the way clients were thinking."

"Stacy has led the sales business during extraordinary times - keeping her people focused, motivated and positioned to deliver outstanding results," says Harvey Schwartz, co-head of Goldman's securities division "She has a unique ability to think qualitatively about our industry and client landscape."

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