Samantha Huggins is a Managing Director and Head of Equity Sales Trading for Developed Markets in EMEA at CitiGroup, overseeing a team in seven European countries. She is also a member of the EMEA Equity Executive Committee. Outside of her immediate business responsibilities, Samantha sits on the Steering Committee for Citi Women in Markets as well as the Markets Recruiting Committee.
She joined Citi London in 2009 and prior to that was with Merrill Lynch in both their London and New York offices, transferring to the United Kingdom in 2004.
What inspired your move between New York and London?
When I walked onto the trading floor in New York, one of the first things that I said to them after I got the full time job was that I wanted to be considered for any international opportunities. Sometimes even the best managers don’t consider people because they think they’d never move. Raising your hand and putting yourself out there so people have your name on their radar is essential! I ended up in London and I’ve been here for 11 years; it’s a fabulous city with so many exciting opportunities.
What is the most memorable hurdle you’ve faced to date and how did you overcome it?
Throughout your career you’ll hopefully have a number of mentors and supporters. One of the hardest things is when those people leave, whether it be leaving your desk or the particular industry. When you’ve had someone that has been that huge supporter, for them to leave can be quite tough and very scary. Sometimes you think that you’re not going to be as good at your job without that person to help you. So that’s happened to me several times in my career and each time I thought the world was ending. But each time it opened up a whole host of opportunities.
If you look at an issue as a cataclysmic disaster, then it will be a cataclysmic disaster. However, if you have comported yourself with excellent professionalism throughout your career and been singularly very good at your job, that person going shouldn’t affect you – aside from you missing them. You can carry on being that consummate professional and it can even lead to a promotion.
What do you think about women being stereotypically labelled as the ‘emotional’ ones?
In my opinion it’s incredibly important to be emotional; you take that emotion and you channel it into emotional intelligence. Sometimes that’s something that can be found lacking in finance and as women we bring a slightly different emotional intelligence to the table. Harness that, take ownership and be able to operate knowing that you have that skill that you can continue to develop. You don’t have to be a tyrant to get things done – use that emotional intelligence to motivate people around you by making them feel great about the goals at hand.
It’s something that I pride myself on having cultivated over the years. It’s really an asset so never look at it as a hindrance to be emotional. Learn how to channel it to be advantageous to yourself and the firm. And if you do feel like having a bit of a cry on the trading floor, try to go to the bathroom! Cry, wipe and return renewed because truthfully, we’ve all been there.
Given the challenging nature of the job, as it involves travelling and possibly some late nights, how do you balance your work alongside family and social life?
A lot of times people raise their hands and they’re like ‘Sam, can you have it all?’ And my reaction is always ‘Oh God, I really hate that question’ because there are several answers. I think I have it all but there’s certain people who would probably look at my life and think ‘how incredibly sad!’ I have an amazing life and I feel very, very blessed to be excited about getting out of bed every morning. During the week I don’t have time to socialize and that’s fine for me because the week’s about getting everything that I need to done. Aside from answering a few emails, my weekends are my own.
Some of my friends will tell you that you can have it all just not all at once. It moves through different stages of your life and sometimes you may have to sacrifice. There’s usually family, friends and work, or for some people, husband, kids and work and you need to rotate them so one of them doesn’t get over looked. So you make different decisions in your life about what’s most important and what you have the most time for.
It also depends what part of the business you’re in. In my part of the business you have a very intense working day when the markets are open. After they close, I do the rest of my Managing Director job into the evening. In the Investment Banking arena, I have friends who will be sitting at a vacation home and they’re taking calls on a Saturday and Sunday because deals don’t stop. You can still structure a deal on the weekends, whereas, transactionally we can’t trade when the markets close. Different parts of the financial industry dictate your weekend obligations and weekly hours.
This was one of my favourite interviews out of the few I've done so far because I was in awe of how confident and well composed Samantha was. One of the most important things I took from her was the power of composure, something I will write about in the weeks to come. However, I really hope you all enjoyed this! Let me know what you think. :-)