Head of Global Capital Markets, Bank of America
Beyond mountains, there are mountains. This Haitian proverb is one of Lisa Carnoy's favorites. She quoted it last April at a Harvard Business School forum where she described the anxious three months she spent at Merrill Lynch in late 2008 as the firm prepared for its sale to Bank of America.
Pregnant with twins and unsure of her own future at the company, Carnoy still had to convince her team to stay focused on clients despite the fact she could not promise anyone their long-term security at the new firm. She took solace, and shared with her team, that if you take small steps toward goals without being daunted by how many steps it may take to reach them, "you will persevere. Don't be daunted by the fact there's this very tall mountain in front of you."
Persevere she has. Carnoy, who started at Merrill in 1994, has emerged as a strategist behind some of the largest IPO and block-trade deals since the financial crisis, through her Global Capital Markets team at BofA.
Her division's work on the carve-out of Pfizer's Zoetis unit helped produce the largest health care industry spinoff in a decade and the largest IPO ($2.2 billion) since Facebook's offering. And BofA Merrill was joint bookrunner on an $11 billion debt issue by Brazil's Petrobras, which was a record-size offering for an emerging-markets issuer, and the fifth-largest dollar-denominated corporate debt sale ever. According to the league tables from Dealogic, BofA Merrill was among the top three institutions in leveraged loans, investment-grade corporate debt, asset-backed securities, convertible debt, mortgage-backed securities and syndicated loans in the first quarter.
Carnoy is a trustee of Columbia University and chairs BofA's Columbia recruiting team. She also is the executive sponsor for the Women's Leadership Council within the company's global banking and markets group. This year she received the Merit Award from the Women's Bond Club, and she is a strong supporter of Jumpstart, a national nonprofit focused on children's literacy.