Financial Services

Women in Investment Banking: Challenges and Opportunities


Written by Finalis

Last edited on Feb 28, 2023

3 min read

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The pandemic has changed much about how our world operates. It has fueled the Great Resignation, ignited conversations about the workplace, and inherently changed the business world.

For some, this has presented an unexpected opportunity to leverage years of experience and relationships to embark on a new path of entrepreneurship.

In this episode, Daniela Messina, Founder and Managing Member at Portside Capital Solutions, shares her story of founding her own company, building a future on your past experience, and challenging the status quo. Join us as we discuss:

  • Where to find opportunities during periods of economic instability
  • How to transition from a corporate job to entrepreneurship
  • What COVID has fundamentally changed about the way we do business
  • The role of women and minority founders in investment banking startups

More information about Daniela Messina and today’s topics:

How COVID Has Changed the Way We Do Business

It’s now clear that the global pandemic—with its broader societal consequences—have significantly altered the way that we do business both in the United States and across the globe.

One of the things that we saw was the need to stay connected, in the face of workplace shutdowns and reconfigurations. Everybody was forced to become an expert in all things telecommunication. Zoom has become a verb, and we’ve all become far too familiar with FaceTime.

We’re all a little more open to meeting new people and forging new relationships, and to a large extent, COVID has been the catalyst for those changes.

“If I tried to launch this business before COVID happened, it probably would have taken me a little longer to be quite honest.” — Daniela Messina

But after the initial “connection” high wore off for most of us, we were left with a feeling of “what next?” and “How long is this going to last?” What is doing business in this “new normal” going to look like?

From Daniela’s point of view, it opened more doors where people were more available, more willing to connect, and more hungry for connection.

The Corporation to Entrepreneur Shift

As someone with an extensive background in the corporate world, Daniela brought a particular set of views and skills to her entrepreneurial decision. When you’re working at a global organization with a ton of resources, you have everything available at your fingertips. Everything you need to succeed is right there where and when you need it.

“It's always great to see people in person, I love connecting. But there is also a level of efficiency with getting your work done, being productive, and your clients knowing that.” — Daniela Messina

But when it’s time to venture out on your own, those safety nets and resources are gone. And it’s times like those when Daniela is extra grateful for her relationship with Finalis, because we were able to provide her with answers.

What did she need to do in order to be successful? What is it going to look like down the road? What does “a successful startup” actually mean?

Giving Back

Now that Daniela has launched her own company, and is seeing tremendous success, she’s free to focus on what really drives her, which is helping attract more women and minority founders to the profession.

She’s on the board of the Association for Corporate Growth and co-chairs the Women’s Connection committee. Their goal is to help place more women and minority founders on public and private boards, as well as identifying more women for leadership opportunities across the industry.

Because at the end of the day, if your leadership team is homogenous, you’re missing out on the extraordinary wisdom, knowledge and perspective that diversity brings.

You can find this interview and many more by subscribing to Pencils Down on Apple Podcasts, or Spotify.

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