Perspectives from Notable LGBTQ Leaders
Mary Baccash, managing director in the Cross Markets Group within the Investment Banking Division, and Michael Broadbery, global head of Global Markets Compliance and co-chief compliance officer of Goldman Sachs & Co, were recently named to the Crain’s New York Notable 2022 LGBTQ Leaders. In this Q&A, Mary and Michael discuss their respective career experiences and industry perspectives.
Mary, in your time covering real estate clients at Goldman Sachs, you’ve executed billions in M&A activity and capital markets transactions. What do you enjoy most about this work?
Mary: Hands down, it is definitely the people. On a daily basis, I interact with people who are driven and passionate about what they do: Board members, CEOs, CFOs, developers, and entrepreneurs from across the country. They push you to work harder and smarter and they trust you with some of the most important decisions they will make for their companies and their employees. I am constantly learning and being challenged by this job, which is what keeps me excited to be here. I am proud of all of the clients I have been a part of helping over the years.
Michael, your career has spanned across continents. Can you share your experience managing differing compliance protocols from country to country?
Michael: I have been at the firm for 19 years, working in London for 3 years, Hong Kong for 11 years, and New York for 5 years. Learning about and experiencing cultures across the world has helped me understand how to run an effective global program, navigating both the regulatory and cultural differences between different regions and countries.
Mary, can you tell us what trends you’re seeing in the Real Estate, Lodging, and Gaming?
Mary: Rising debt costs are beginning to flow through to capitalization rates creating some downward pressure on commercial real estate prices both in the public and private market. And while expectations for rent growth across many asset classes are high, the odds of recession are something to watch. Volatility will continue to create opportunities in 2022.
Michael, what about what you’re seeing within Global Markets and your work in mitigating risk?
Michael: As the world becomes more data-driven, we are increasingly focused on leveraging metrics to inform our decisions and help us be proactive about risk mitigation. Our goal is to constantly improve our program to be comprehensive, effective, and sustainable.
Can you point to a period in your career that helped make you an expert in your field?
Mary: There was an 18-month stretch where my team and I led five real estate IPOs, which in the REIT space, are not that common. That was quite a run. I also remember the day a few years ago when I was given my own list of 45 clients. The first few mornings that I woke up with no calls in my calendar were a little scary but luckily that changed quickly!
Michael: Developing subject matter expertise and investing in my relationships with other professionals has been critical to my career growth. When I first joined in London, I was an expert in Distressed Lending Compliance. This role necessitated many business trips between New York and Asia, and I connected with the head of Asia Compliance on one of those trips. It was this relationship that led to my move to Hong Kong as the head of Asia Pacific Securities Division Compliance. By developing subject matter expertise in distressed lending compliance, I gained the opportunity to travel to other locations and make key connections that led me to my current role.
You are both leaders in your businesses as well as engaged leaders and members of the Firmwide LGBTQ+ Network. Can you describe how these roles enrich or inform one another?
Michael: People who feel included and accepted perform better in their professional roles. I believe that by supporting the LGBTQ+ community, I am also helping LGBTQ+ professionals in Compliance feel more comfortable and empowered to effectively fill their roles as risk managers. Greater diversity also means more perspectives, ideas, and talent at the firm; by promoting a network that gives opportunities to underrepresented individuals, I feel that I am doing my part to expand the talent in Compliance and, more broadly, at GS.
Mary: The network afforded me opportunities to be a leader earlier than I would have been otherwise. I had strong and visible role models that built my confidence in my professional pursuits and client coverage. I am grateful to be able to be a mentor and leader to others now. It is one of the most enriching parts of my job. I have really enjoyed the recruiting aspect of the network, meeting folks earlier in their career who are unsure of how or if they can be their authentic self at work.
How did you navigate identifying as LGBTQ+ at the start of your career? How did you come out at work?
Mary: During my summer associate internship, I did not disclose that I identified as LGBTQ+. When I came back as a full-time associate, I was engaged to be married and wanted to share my excitement. I can still remember the day, during my first few weeks of training, that I took the ferry over to 200 West Street from Jersey City to meet with my manager for coffee. I was nervous to tell her that I identify as LGBTQ+, but she was so supportive of my soon-to-be wife and our wedding plans that I was immediately put at ease. Since then, I have never looked back. That same enthusiasm she showed me is what has met me at Goldman Sachs for just about every subsequent conversation. Now, more than a decade later, I am so grateful for such a supportive, diverse, and inclusive place to work.
Michael: In order to effectively connect with other people, you have to learn how to fully be yourself, because that allows other people to understand you and gives you the confidence to do your work well. When I first joined GS, I was only out to my team and a few coworkers; I wasn’t hiding my identity, but I also didn’t feel comfortable talking about being gay, especially at work. Over time, and with the support of my colleagues, I became more comfortable with unabashedly being myself. I am now a firm believer in bringing my whole self to work—and this mindset has enriched my life and helped me grow in my career.
How have you seen the work place change for the LGBTQ+ community throughout your career?
Mary: More than anything, I think my approach to my own LGBTQ+ professional identity has changed. As I continue to have positive experiences within GS and with client interactions, my confidence in my own identity grows. It is so important to have leaders who are truly visible and allies who are inclusive. Moreover, the last 10 years have also been a really exciting time for LGBTQ+ rights and I am so proud to work at a place that is a leader on so many issues—such as being one of the first Fortune 500 companies to come out in favor of same sex marriage. As I raise my three young kids, I hope that they will also be able to experience continued progress.
Michael: When I started my career nearly 30 years ago, the world was a very different place. When I was a young and out gay professional working on the trading floors of the world’s largest banks, I felt out of place. However, with the allyship of my colleagues—and by connecting with other members of the LGBTQ+ community in the financial world—that feeling of not belonging eventually dissipated. I am now determined to make other members of underrepresented groups feel more integrated. I hope that, by hearing my story, they can learn from my experiences and feel more included. We are also at a pivotal moment of being allies to the trans community both in and outside the firm. As an out, gay professional, I feel a great responsibility to support my out trans and non-binary colleagues.