Women's History Month 2019 Profile: Marissa Lepor

Marissa Lepor, Investment Banking Associate at The Sage Group

How would your peers describe your personality?

I wanted this to be objective, so according to one of my best friends Emily, I’m “Ambitious.  Bold. Discerning. Analytical. Brilliant.” I’ll take it. 😉

When did you consider yourself a success? How did this make you feel?

At this stage of my life, success seems harder and harder to measure—in school, we get grades; in life, we don’t.  I focus on setting goals that require me to learn, evolve, and positively impact others around me and in the world at large.  One of my New Year’s resolutions in 2019 was to write something I did that made me proud of myself each day in a journal. Rather than measuring “success” in big life moments (promotions, marriage, children, etc.), I focus on day-to-day successes (stood my ground at a meeting, met a new friend, swiftly navigated a misunderstanding, volunteered at a charity, bought myself a present, made it to an early workout, tried a new restaurant).  These little successes are arguably just as, if not more, important. And after all, it’s the little successes that validate pursuing the big ones.

What is the biggest challenge you have come across in your career and how did you handle this?

My career is just beginning, and I still have a lot to learn.  Learning and completing more advanced tasks while also staying on top of my day-to-day responsibilities continues to be a focus.  But, the more I prove to others (and myself) what I can do, the more responsibilities I get. I’m lucky to work with people who encourage me to challenge myself and support me through each endeavor—that’s the best (and most fun) way to learn.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?

I’m quite lucky, as my job is a unique intersection of my interest in business strategy & finance and my passion for fashion & beauty.  Staying motivated comes quite naturally, especially for a girl who once wanted to be an artist, fashion designer, and a firefighter. Each day is intense in its own way, and whether I’m working with the other intelligent people at Sage or with our inspiring and entrepreneurial clients (most companies we work with are founder-owned), I’m always strategizing, learning, and creating, which is engaging and exciting.

What are you most proud of?

Although I’m very career-focused, I’m most proud of the relationships (friends, family, co-workers) I’ve gained and developed over the past 25 years.  Making new friends and staying close with the old ones doesn’t just happen; it’s a constant effort, but it’s definitely worth it. I’m lucky to have such amazing friends in my life, especially some truly FABULOUS women, who support and inspire each other to strive for excellence and pursue their dreams.

What inspired you when you were younger?

As a young girl, I was inspired by many people, including my parents, my grandparents, Queen Elizabeth I, and Barbie.  My parents are both extremely hard-working people who support each other. They both love their jobs (most days), and taught me the importance of balancing a career with positively impacting the community and always putting family first.  My grandparents all overcame significant obstacles in order to provide me with the life I have today—my Dad’s parents escaped persecution in Russia, and my Mom’s parents survived the Holocaust. Their perseverance and courage inspire me daily.  Queen Elizabeth I truly defined an era and ruled with class, dignity, and discretion. Barbie is just fabulous. I know Barbie can be controversial from a female-empowerment standpoint, but I think the concept of being whoever you want to be (even if it just means changing your outfit), is quite inspirational.

What nail color makes you feel most confident?

Chrome silver - it’s bold, chic, classy, and slightly unexpected.

What is a piece of advice you would give to young women?

I recently heard Barbra Streisand speak at a women’s leadership conference—she had some pretty awesome advice:  Nothing’s easy, but nothing’s impossible. Trust yourselves, and trust your opinions, and stop apologizing for your opinions.