Joseph Borrero – Fellow Spotlight

Joseph Borrero

Vice President

Goldman Sachs & Co.

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 am a Vice President in the Compliance Division at Goldman Sachs. I am part of a team that conducts independent investigations and testing of the firm’s compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, as well as, internal policies and procedures. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, I was a litigation attorney at Paul Weiss and represented clients from a variety of industries, including financial services and media and entertainment.

My journey is similar to many in the CUP family. It begins with parents who came to New York not speaking English but with a desire to work hard and put their children in a position to seize opportunities that they never had. My father worked two and three jobs on top of being a NYC police officer and my mother delayed her education and career to care for my family. Knowing the sacrifices that my parents made, I try to work as hard as they did, seize the opportunities they provided, and hope I do not mess up their legacy.

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

I am profoundly inspired by the 2017 CUP Fellows class. Their professional and civic achievements are awe inspiring. Their capacity for empathy is limitless. They are nimble and innovative in their approaches to civic engagement. They are wise and selfless. They think deeply about the issues affecting their communities and also take practical steps to ensure positive change. I learn from them every day. As if that was not enough to inspire me, they are the most hysterical and best dressed group of people I know.

This inspiration plays into my professional career through a desire to achieve excellence in order to live up to the example set by the Fellows.

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

Early in my career, following a meeting with senior members of a client, a mentor pulled me aside and asked why I did not speak up during the meeting. He said by not speaking up on issues you are knowledgeable about you are doing a disservice to yourself and the client. It was a critical lesson to understand that if you were prepared and knowledgeable on the issue your voice needs to be heard even if you are not the most senior person in the room. Moreover, diverse voices and viewpoints are essential for a good decision making process and an effective leader must encourage those voices.

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

If you want to be an effective leader then you must build trust among those you hope to lead. In order to build trust you have to actually listen, demonstrate that you value your team’s opinions and contributions; and, finally, be willing to open up and share a bit of yourself with your team.

One other bit of advice that I try to remember, especially during the really stressful parts of a day, is don’t be a jerk.

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

At this time when the nation’s discourse is often divisive and vulgar and groups seem to prioritize winning and retribution over cooperation, I have thought often about the following leaders, thinkers and doers.

Nelson Mandela for his ability to see beyond anger and hate to seek reconciliation and understanding with his oppressors.

Senior Management at Goldman Sachs, including Edith Cooper, Lloyd Blankfein, and Dane Holmes for their forward thinking in fostering a respectful conversation about race in the workplace.

Tarrus Richardson for his selflessness and vision that helped to start CUP and for promoting a profoundly simple and astonishingly effective approach to change, which is to meet someone and ask “what can I do to help you.”

Yogi Berra won 10 World Championships, which is the most of any player in baseball history, and did so with grace and genuine humility (a rare trait among leaders).

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

I was introduced to CUP by a number of former Fellows that I greatly respect and what stood out in those conversations was the passion in which they spoke about CUP and their experience. Half way through the 2017 Fellows program, I wholeheartedly share their passion and enthusiasm for the organization and the Fellows program.

In addition to the network that CUP has provided and the opportunities to make an impact on a wide variety of civic endeavors, the Fellows program has given me a number of practical skills and tools that I employ on a daily basis in my work at Goldman Sachs.