Head of Capital Financing, Latin America, HSBC
Katia Bouazza has built HSBC's Latin American franchise into an investment banking powerhouse. Bouazza was the only woman on the team that established the business 12 years ago. She now serves as its head of capital financing and leads the Latin American business from her office in New York.
She also has global responsibilities, serving on HSBC's capital financing executive committee in London. Notably, she's the only woman on the committee.
Bouazza, who joined HSBC as an associate two decades ago, has made it a priority to encourage junior-level women to stay in finance and advance their careers. She frequently participates in employee panel discussions, providing advice about how to balance the demands of work and family life. "I want to ensure we are building a strong pipeline of leaders from diverse backgrounds, and look forward to the day when I'm not the only woman at the table," she says.
Bouazza attributes her success partly to her sense of adventure — at work and in her personal life. She recently learned how to kitesurf, an experience she describes as liberating and scary. "Your whole body and mind is engaged," she says. "You need to be fully focused on the activity to avoid injury so it forces you to disconnect with daily responsibilities."
Kitesurfing, she says, helped prove to her two daughters that she is "still cool" and to herself that she can still learn a new sport.
But the fun factor aside, building courage was part of her motivation too. Working in the competitive field of investment banking takes a strong sense of character, she says. So she's constantly looking for new ways to step outside of her comfort zone.
"Who knows what you will see me doing next?" she says.