Marie Chandoha | Crain's Phoenix

In this ongoing series, we ask executives, entrepreneurs and business leaders about mistakes that have shaped their business philosophy.

Marie Chandoha


Marie Chandoha is president and CEO of Charles Schwab Investment Management, Inc., the investment advisor to Schwab Funds, Laudus Funds and Schwab ETFs™ and one of the largest money market and index fund providers in the industry.

The Mistake:

My story happened very early in my career. I was working at a Wall Street firm. I was part of a small group, sitting in a meeting when my boss said, “I’m going to be putting Neal (another person) in charge of this group.”

I remember sitting in that meeting very disappointed because I wanted that job. It felt like a gut punch. I thought I’d been doing a really good job. I thought I was more effective than the colleague who got it.

The job was never posted. It happened through a conversation between the boss and Neal.

I thought about it. It did take a few days of mulling over. I was really disappointed. [I tried to figure out] a constructive way of at least letting him know?

I called my boss and said, “The next time that job opens up, I’d like to be considered for the job.”

Neal left after about a year. My boss called me and said, “You mentioned you’d be interested in the job.” I said yes, and I got it. The job was never posted.

Raising your hand creates opportunities.

The Lesson:

It was a great lesson early on: Taking control of your career and making it clear to your boss about what you’re interested in doing. Raising your hand creates opportunities.

I thought I was doing a really good job. I felt like if I did a good job, I’d be tapped on the shoulder. I do see this with women. They’re waiting to be tapped on shoulder, to be recognized and be given opportunities. 

It’s something I've seen in my 30 years of leading teams. I do see men more likely to raise their hands, express interest in a bigger role, while women [are] more quiet about that, waiting to be tapped on the shoulder for a bigger role.

I try to encourage all employees to take control of their careers. You have to express what you’re looking for, have those conversations with leaders.

What I realize now being a manager, many times a job opens up and you’re really thinking about who could be good for the role? It’s those conversations with those employees [that help]. It makes it easier for managers to think who’s good for the job, and who’s already expressed interest in the role.

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