Larissa Dudley, Vice President, Engineering, Goldman Sachs, shares with WiFA her mentorship experience, advice to her younger self, her passions, and much more.

Tell us a little bit about yourself
I was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia and like many Australians after I finished university I left for London to travel and see the world with some of my friends. I joined Goldman Sachs 13 years ago in London and have been lucky enough to have worked in their London, Bengaluru, Singapore and Hong Kong offices. My dog Bruce has more passports than me, currently he has 3 as he has joined me in all of my moves. I have now been in Hong Kong since 2018 and live with my husband and four- year-old son, and Bruce.

Mentors play an important role in the developments of many careers. Did you have a mentor? If so, what did you look for in that person?
I have not had one constant mentor throughout my career but many trusted advisors along the way. My father was very influential in my decision to do a business degree as I very much looked up to him being an entrepreneurial businessman. Then along the way, managers, family friends, and friends have helped mentor and advise me. In mentors, I look to people that I can learn from, that I admire, respect and trust. Trust is key in any mentor / mentee relationship to me because without it the conversation lacks impact and meaning.

Think back to when you were starting out your career. What advice would you give your younger self?
1) Don’t always be in such a rush and always need to have a plan for “the next thing” 2) Mark Twain was spot on when he said, “Comparison is the death of joy”. Don’t waste your energy comparing yourself to others, we all have unique paths and experiences that shape and impact us and you are where you should be. 3) Sit up straight at your desk more, you will go to a chiropractor in 2021 who will finally fix that sore neck you have had for years; look after your posture!

This year has brought tremendous upheaval and disruption to all aspects of our lives. How are you and your company continuing to promote diversity and gender equality despite these massive changes?
Both this year and last year have been extremely disruptive and challenging not only for most people and organisations but in particular women. You just need to read McKinsey’s Women in the Workplace study, Sept 2021 to see some of the data and statistics around the toll the pandemic has and still takes on women. As co-lead of the Goldman Sachs Hong Kong Women’s Network I have been incredibly proud of our committee and members for finding ways to connect virtually and maintain that sense of community. All of our diversity networks at the firm have managed to pivot quickly to adapt to zoom and have continued to not only host diversity and inclusion events internally but also maintain partnerships with organisations like WIFA to remain engaged externally also.

Goldman Sachs has also been incredibly supportive in terms of flexibility to people that need it and offering a special covid-19 leave for caregivers.

Aside from work, what are your other passion?
My family and loved ones, travelling, reading, politics, continuing to learn, food, giving back, and being active in the community!