Emmanuel J. Velasco – Executive Leadership Program Spotlight

Emmanuel J. Velasco

Vice President

Goldman Sachs

You’ve achieved a great deal of professional success – briefly describe your journey, noting both personal milestones and obstacles you may have faced along the way.

I joined Goldman Sachs in 2010. I honestly thought that I would be working in Non-Profit or in the Government but at that time those jobs were difficult to come by immediately after college.  On my first day of my career I remember being fascinated by the people and the pace of the people in HCM. Everyone was brilliant and I was eager to learn from them.

I have had the great fortune of meeting so many new and motivating people at the firm and also the opportunity to hold different roles and responsibilities along the way. I’ve had many ups and downs in my career and I think that is natural, healthy, and really the only way to grow professionally. If everything is going perfectly then I think one has become too comfortable and it’s time for a new challenge

In terms of highlights I really hone it down to the people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting along the way. The relationships built and the mentorship/advice received throughout my career. I enjoy my work because I feel vested in the people I’m surrounded by.

What inspires you? How does that inspiration play into your professional life?

I take pride in finding ways to improve the experience for others and making my colleagues and superiors look great. Whether it’s a report designed, speaking points or a deck created; I always want to look for a way to re-invent and improve. I get quickly bored by redundancy and I challenge myself to find new ways to approach processes and projects.

Briefly, describe a transformative moment that helped to shift your approach to your career.

The first time I sat in comp committee for the Securities Division as an HR representative. I was there to track changes in the room and answer questions when spoken to. I remember being anxious and beyond excited for the opportunity. It was nothing short of stressful but to me it was also exhilarating. I think that at that moment I felt like I belonged in the organization and realized that this is where I wanted to be.

What has been the most valuable professional advice and or lesson you've received?

I remember a class in college; International Political Finance. Probably the most challenging professor I ever had. He repeatedly stressed how to find ways to personally motivate yourself and challenge yourself to improve and strive for excellence both personally and professionally. At the end of the day there will always be someone who knows more than you and to me that’s also another driver.

What leaders, thinkers or doers do you admire most? Why?

My father. To me he is the ultimate role model and there really is no leader or celebrity who compares to him in my eyes. He immigrated to the United States from Ecuador and did everything possible to create a better life for his family. He sacrificed and dedicated a lot for our family. Long shifts at work, night-time English classes, etc. He always found a way to make things work for us. Tremendous work ethic and most importantly always present with our family.

What initially drew you to join CUP and what impact has CUP had on your professional life? Any specific examples/stories?

To be frank I knew very little about CUP at first but I was fascinated by the programs offered when I started reading more about the organization. I then began to quickly find colleagues, friends, and family who have benefited or interacted at some point in their lives with CUP. I’ve found the webinars and the panels during our retreat to be fascinating. Listening and interacting with some of the industry leaders has been some of the more influential moments from the CUP experience.