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As is well-documented, Eva De La Rosa continues to pave the way for Latinas on Wall Street. Since joining BlackRock last year as managing director and head of iShares marketing for the Americas, De La Rosa strives for excellence, an attitude she says was seeded by her parents as a young woman growing up in Los Angeles.
Hispanic Executive recently caught up with De La Rosa to answer some questions about her mission at BlackRock, her passion for investing, and her work to narrow the wealth gap for communities of color. She also spoke about the success of BlackRock’s “Count Me In” self-identification efforts and broader DEI work to retain and recruit top talent for the asset management firm.
What motivated you to come to BlackRock? Your résumé is already so accomplished, so what was the next step you were looking for?
At BlackRock, I’m a managing director and head of iShares marketing for the Americas. BlackRock is a global leader in exchange traded funds (ETFs), and our iShares ETF brand is one of the most recognized investment brands on Wall Street.
My team’s mandate is to scale distribution strategies of the iShares brand across paid, owned, and earned marketing channels dedicated to reaching existing and new BlackRock clients, such as institutional, wealth, and individual investors. I have admired BlackRock over the years for its mission to help clients experience financial well-being, a mission that’s aligned with my personal values and which brings meaning to my work.
On a personal level, I’m a first-generation college graduate, and I didn’t have access to financial literacy resources, so I had to learn the importance of managing my own finances, including budgeting, establishing a savings plan, paying off my student loans after graduating from Stanford and Duke, and investing for the long-term.
My current role is an opportunity to pursue my combined passions for lowering barriers to investing, the customer experience, and marketing. Our iShares ETFs facilitate access to investing regardless of where someone is on their financial journey.
What components of leadership are a must for you to be successful in your role? What kind of growth have you undergone since coming to BlackRock?
Since joining BlackRock nearly a year ago, I’ve been proactively learning, listening, and networking at the firm. We run a complex asset management business, and as someone with previous experience in financial services and consumer packaged goods, I bring a different point of view.
I went on a listening tour for several months to actively learn about the business, discuss employee ideas, address challenges, champion our employee talent, and share my own perspective. I believe that actively listening and communicating with honesty and transparency are critical leadership traits, and this is key to driving diversity of thought, innovation, trust, and results.
Additionally, having emotional ownership and being passionate about performance are central to how we operate at BlackRock. These principles are embedded in the culture and align with my values. This has allowed me to focus, simplify, debate, and question in ways that are viewed as positive, both as a marketer for our iShares business and more broadly in how I operate across the enterprise.
Should more Latinas make their way to Wall Street? What should they know about working in the space—and at the intersection of finance and tech?
In my experience, a career path is not typically straight and narrow. I’ve also learned the importance of taking calculated risks and betting on myself throughout my career. I invest in my own growth, I work hard, and I pay it forward to help others along the way. In turn, I’ve had great support and advocacy throughout my career, and some of my strongest advocates have been outside of the Latino community. This has taught me important lessons in meritocracy, leading by example, and delivering quality results consistently.
As a first-generation Mexican American raised in predominantly Latino neighborhoods in Los Angeles, I did not have a grandiose vision of myself working on Wall Street growing up. I’m naturally curious, and I strive for excellence. I was raised by my parents to always behave with integrity. I’ve held these values closely throughout my life and they led me here.
The principles that BlackRock upholds as a firm align with my own values, and as Latinas on Wall Street, I believe we should seek to identify and work at firms that respect our values. Our diverse experiences and varied educational backgrounds are a competitive advantage on Wall Street, particularly as we continue to forge the integration of technology and finance to narrow the wealth gap in communities of color.
At a time when investing is more accessible to younger and more diverse generations, Latinas can play a role in advocating for individual investors and serving as the customers’ voice on Wall Street.
You’ve been very passionate about DEI, and I’d love to hear about the progress you’ve seen since coming to BlackRock.
Throughout my career, I’ve embraced diversity of thought and experience as a competitive advantage. The One BlackRock ethos rests on the conviction that working collaboratively, without silos, will create the best outcomes for all our stakeholders—our clients, employees, shareholders, and the communities where we operate.
At BlackRock, I can champion the important work of building community, inclusivity, and career growth fostered by our employee resource groups. Our global employee networks are dynamic communities built on shared experiences, intersectionality, and allyship. We have experienced a significant increase in our network membership with over 90 percent of our employees participating in at least one network. They are culture carriers for the firm, offering employees and allies the opportunity to enhance and shape our company.
As a business leader, I also champion diversity recruitment and collaborate with internal partners to recruit highly talented people to BlackRock who can bring unique perspectives and creative ideas.
How can organizations like BlackRock continue to retain more diverse talent?
Retaining top talent is a key focus of BlackRock. In 2022, we launched the “Count Me In” campaign to raise awareness on self-identification. The campaign reached 93 percent of our global workforce across twenty countries, inviting employees to voluntarily share their gender identity, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity, disability, military/veteran status, socioeconomic background, and local cultural identity.
The data is critical to ensure we have the right resources to meet our employees’ needs and help them thrive in their careers.