My career has taken me on a journey through many countries. I was born in Kalisz, a small city in west Poland. I always wanted to study abroad, so after finishing high school, I applied for a visa to get to university in Germany. During the studies, I worked in a bank in the AML/Compliance department where my journey with preventing money laundering started. After completing my master’s, I joined one of the Big Four accounting firms in Frankfurt and was advising and auditing the biggest German banks on their AML and Compliance policies and processes. Later on due to personal reasons I moved to Croatia, but worked in Austria as a deputy group compliance officer for one of the largest Austrian banks, responsible for 11 countries.
When I learned that Goldman Sachs was starting up an office in Poland, I jumped at the chance to go back after maternity and for the first time work in my home country. I got hired as part of a small group to build the firm’s Warsaw office from the ground up. Over my past five years here, it’s been exciting to be part of the growth. We started with 16 people in Operations, and now the office is at 600. I also sit on the 45th floor of a prestigious building in downtown Warsaw.
Going in to Goldman Sachs, work-life balance was important to me. This was my first job back after taking maternity leave, so I knew going in that it would be a challenge. Investment banking can sometimes be perceived as an “around the clock” sort of job. But that’s not how it works at this firm. There are processes in place to make sure people get a chance to rest and recharge. You have a team around you, so you’re not doing things alone. I was also clear and direct about my needs with my managers. To be an effective part of the global team and to manage the EMEA team, I would need some flexibility. Now, I am able to come into the office early on particular days so I can leave a bit early to pick up my kids from school.
Collaboration is a driving force in my role. Because my team supports several countries, I have to stay current on regional legal nuances in places like Germany, Italy, France, and England. I also work with different teams in Bangalore, Salt Lake City, London, and beyond. Each week, we have calls to make sure we’re sharing knowledge, best practices and doing things the same way. In our daily huddle, my whole team here in Warsaw meets to check in on key items, such as any urgent onboarding requests, risk issues, deals, or trades that are happening today to make sure nothings slips through our fingers.
As co-head of the VP Advisory Council in our Warsaw office, I help organize events to meet the needs of other leaders here and help drive the local office strategy. We regularly bring our vice presidents together to share ideas, raise issues, take training, and get updates from local leaders. Sometimes, we invite senior leaders from other offices to come visit for fireside chats and roundtables.
Each year I also run one of the firm’s Community TeamWorks initiatives. In the Warsaw office, we support many volunteer projects, including with animal and homeless shelters and facilities that help disabled children. In 2019, I ran a seminar for teachers from smaller cities in Poland. My goal was to show them what it’s like to work for a financial firm like Goldman Sachs. That way, they can go back and inspire their own students, especially girls, to consider a career in finance in a global multi-cultural environment.
In my spare time, I enjoy reading books (since I haven’t lived in Poland for 13 years I’m catching up on the Polish crime novels), playing tennis, and spending time with my family. The other day, we baked and decorated mini cupcakes for the holidays. My kids loved it. I’m not so big on baking and cooking myself, but I love eating Continental food, especially Italian, Croatian and, of course, Polish.