A Blackstone managing director had a big 'aha' moment and it changed how she viewed her career

Promotions don’t come easily, and Joan Solotar learned this the hard way.

Solotar, senior managing director at Blackstone Group, recently shared some career advice for fresh grads at the University of Albany, her alma mater.

She talked about her background, her insecurities about breaking into investment banking with a degree from a state university, and how she worked her way up at the private equity giant.

In particular, she highlighted how important it is to be vocal at work, and not to place limits on yourself.

Here is Solotar (emphasis ours):

“With the education you received, you have the tools to compete with anyone. Don’t doubt yourself. Don’t be intimidated. If you commit to learning, and working hard, the only limit to what you achieve is you — not somebody else from some other school — you. I strived to be someone that others wanted on their team, willing to run through walls if that’s what it took to get the job done, attentive to detail, a team player and carrying a positive attitude. But I initially didn’t ask for the promotion, I assumed it would just come. It wasn’t until someone more senior than I was said that if I didn’t ask, no one would know it was that important to me. That was a big ‘aha’ moment in my career. While it’s not in my inherent nature to ask, I learned that I could and that no one was put off by it, they were glad I was motivated.”

This isn’t the first time Solotar voiced her concerns on the lack of women in executive ranks. In 2013, she wrote a piece in the Harvard Business Review to help her daughter and other young women “get ahead of the game.”

Solotar joined Blackstone in 2007 and was tapped as head of multi-asset investing and external relations last year. Prior to that, Solotar was a managing director and head of equity research at Bank of America Securities.

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