Published on September 05, 2013

Jacksonville native Carla Harris helps define terms of success

By: Ashley Gurbal Kritzer, Reporter- Jacksonville Business Journal

Jacksonville native Carla Harris will use her insight as a woman on Wall Street to lead the National Women’s Business Council.

President Barack Obama appointed Harris as chairwoman of the council Aug. 12. Harris, vice chairman of global wealth management, managing director and senior client adviser for Morgan Stanley, is a 1980 graduate of Bishop Kenny High School and is on the board of directors for St. Vincent’s HealthCare.

Harris jumped right into her new role, chairing her first meeting two days after her appointment. The council provides advice to Obama, Congress and the Small Business Administration on issues affecting women business owners.

On Wednesday, Harris told the Business Journal that she was looking forward to the committee’s focus on women as entrepreneuers and innovators, and that her corporate background will be “completely applicable” to the initiative.

“After 26 years, I’ve seen a lot, with respect to business models and good business practices,” Harris said.

One of the keys to success for anyone in business, Harris said, is managing your professional image.

“How people perceive you will directly impact how they deal with you,” she said. “Understand that you can train people to think about you in the way you want them to think.

In a corporate environment, that’s by understanding the adjectives associated with the success of the chair you’re sitting in or the chair you want to sit in.”

But entrepreneurs, she said, have to take that one step further, as they have the freedom — and responsibility — to define their own terms of success. What Harris calls “the chaotic environment” of the last few years, fueled by the recession, have created an environment in which women entrepreneurs and innovators can thrive.

“It’s really a great time for women to assert themselves,” she said, “and really have an opportunity in leadership in all kinds of places.”

Read the article in the Jacksonville Business Journal.