FinTech Female Fridays: Meet Senior Vice President at Citi, Sarah Mogill
Sarah Mogill started her career in a technology rotational program at JPMorgan where she rotated through 3 roles as a software engineer, business analyst, and quality assurance analyst. This 2-year program gave her a crash course in the software development life cycle and different responsibilities within it, which led her to the realization that she wanted to continue her career as a Product Manager so she could be close to technology, but a little bit closer to the business: "I found myself wanting to craft requirements based on metrics and customer feedback, define a multi-year roadmap, project future outcomes, and work to gain buy-in from partners." she says.
After transitioning to Product Management, Sarah was able to dive into the deep end by taking ownership of several large-scale projects. "It was at this time that I was introduced to the ever-so-unfortunately-popular: imposter syndrome. I had a hard time getting through my own mental hurdles until I spoke to my mentors and read “Lean In” by Sheryl Sandberg. It was helpful to understand that this is a feeling that most people unfortunately experience, and what matters is not that you’re going through it, but how you will overcome it." Sarah went on to lead the build and launch of Spending Summary, a spending analysis tool available on the Chase Mobile app and chase.com for tens of millions of customers so they can view their internal and external spending by category across all accounts over time. This was the first product in the Chase ecosystem that combined transactional data from credit cards, debit cards, and external accounts. Sarah also supported the launch of Aggregation on the Chase Mobile app and chase.com so customers can link their external accounts to their Chase profiles to see their holistic financial picture in one place.
After gaining incredible experience and spending a few years in Product Management, "I understood that successful Product Managers must be able to support both execution and strategy in order to create great customer experience and business value. My experience to that point was mostly on the execution side where I was able to gain valuable experience and confidence in the role, however, I knew that I lacked the strategy exposure that I needed to progress forward." This led Sarah to Betterment, where she was a Product Manager in the Cashflow space and was fortunate enough to work with an incredible and talented team.
Sarah is now the Strategy Lead for Financial Planning in U.S. Consumer Wealth Management at Citi. "Yes, this title is a bit of a head scratcher. When you break it down, I am responsible for amplifying the value of Financial Planning as a product to both our advisors and to our clients. " This means that Sarah is able to create and manage a roadmap for a digital book of work, and an internal operating model for their advisors, bankers, and relationships managers.
Sarah believes that her biggest impact in FinTech so far and the one that she is the most proud of is supporting and building up those around her. "I have been incredibly lucky with the managers and mentors that I’ve had both early on in my career and recently that have gone out of their way to teach me, put me up for opportunities early on, get me out of my comfort zone, and push me to achieve. I now feel that it is my responsibility to pay it forward to those that come after me. " Sarah is proud to have mentored several young women through various programs and connections including high school students interested in technology, college students in technology majors, and coworkers in need of advice. "I would not be in the position that I am currently in unless others pulled me up, and now I am so happy to be able to pull others up, and I know they will do the same for those that come after them. " Sarah adds.
Looking back, Sarah is thankful that the managers she had early on in her career truly molded her into the person that she is today. "One of those managers was on my first rotation as a Business Analyst in Credit Card at JPMorgan. Two months into the job, he asked me to run a training class for 30 engineers to teach them about the authorization engine that supports the Chase credit card platform. I immediately questioned myself and my ability to do it, and even if I understood the platform myself! He supported me through the preparation for the training and gave me constructive criticism along the way. The training ended up being successful and the feedback that I received was positive. My manager knew to push me out of my comfort zone because he knew that I was capable, even if I didn’t believe that myself. I take this lesson with me as I work every day to guide my team towards success in their personal growth, career development, and creating great experiences both for our clients and advisors."
More on Sarah
Where you currently live: New York City
Living arrangement: I live by myself in Chelsea.
Hometown: Carlisle, PA
Favorite hobby: Trying new restaurants and workout classes in the city - all about balance!
Favorite show to binge: Succession - better late than never
Media Recommendation: Snacks Daily podcast. “The Best One Yet” is a podcast posted everyday Monday-Friday that shares the top 3 business stories of the day. This podcast was independently created, then bought by Robinhood and named “Snacks Daily” and just went private again, renaming to “The Best One Yet.” The Podcasts are usually no longer than 20 minutes and present the information in, you guessed it, a “snackable” format. It is the perfect combination of digestible information and quirky personalities from the hosts that sometimes makes you forget it’s educational.
My favorite part of the podcast, and the part that I find the most inspiring, is actually how the hosts Nick and Jack kick off every single one of their episodes: by saying that “this podcast is going to be the best one yet.” And they mean it. They have created thousands of episodes and yet before each new episode they set the goal of making it their personal best. It inspires me to do the same everyday.
What's the best job decision you ever made? What's the worst job decision you ever made?
The best decision that I ever made to make the transition to Product Management. I love the role because it allows me to be the hub to many spokes, and wear several hats at once. I do best when I am busy and for all of the Product Managers out there - you know we are always busy! Alternatively, the worst decision that I’ve made was done unknowingly and before my career started - and that is that I didn’t major in Computer Science.
What is the most important lesson you have learned from a mistake you’ve made in the past?
I am a people-pleaser by nature, which makes it is very hard for me to tell my managers if I am unhappy. Even though I have always trusted and had great respect for my managers, in my mind I never wanted to be a burden, so I constantly tried to hide the challenges or disappointments that I faced. Now that I am a people manager and have talked to other colleagues/friends that have benefited from having these difficult conversations, I realize that it is actually the job of a manager to support their team through the good, but more importantly to guide them through the bad.
Do you have any productivity hacks?
Anybody that has worked with me before knows me partially for my to do list. As we all know, any given conversation, meeting, or message can result in countless tasks to take on. Whether I’m working from home or in the office I always have my notebook to write down tasks from these conversations, and use it as a running list. My list may be different than others because it includes not only work items but personal items as well. While I would love to say that 100% of my focus during work is work, we all know that that is not realistic. And when I’m in a meeting and my mind wants to remind me that I need to renew my passport before my next trip… I write it down! With the amount of time that we spend working, I find it necessary so sometimes merge the two rather than trying to keep them entirely separate. Also, nothing is better than the feeling of crossing something off of your to do list!
6:40am: My alarm goes off and without hesitation, I turn it off knowing that my alarm will…
6:42am: …ring again. This time I have slightly more consciousness to realize who I am and what day it is, before I turn it off again knowing that soon my alarm will…
6:45am: …ring again. Now that I am actually awake, I remember that I have a Solidcore class at 7:05am and quickly put in my contacts, put on workout clothes that mostly go together, and walk a block to class
7:05-7:55: Solidcore class makes my body hurt in ways that make me question if the machine is a workout machine or a torture device
8:05-9:00am: I am back in my apartment with my cold brew in hand getting ready for the day with a yogurt while listening to my two favorite podcasts: “The Best One Yet” for business news, and “The Daily” for world news
9:00-10:15am: I begin working from my apartment. On Monday mornings I usually start by catching up on any emails that trickled in over the weekend, and reorganizing my calendar around the conflicts that have been created. I categorize all of my meetings by color - with different colors indicating the project / type of meeting that it is. My multi-colored calendar is almost always back to back for the entire day with several overlaps, and I lovingly refer to this as my game of Tetris. I begin conversations with my partners that I work with identifying where we left off last week and what is needed for the week ahead
10:15-10:30am: I hold a brief standup meeting with my team to review what we plan to tackle in the day ahead, and cover any questions that we can review as a team.
10:30-7:00pm: My day includes meetings covering project work, field engagement strategy, business case review, 1:1 meetings with my team, presentations to key stakeholders, and somehow sneaking in lunch where possible.
7:30pm: I grab dinner with a friend who happens to be a former coworker. I am so fortunate for the friendships that the result of working together. The trust, support, and respect that I have with these friends have helped me through several difficult questions that I’ve juggled - both work and personal, and I value them deeply. I feel strongly that you do your best work when you are close to who you work with by knowing them as people before work partners.
9:30pm: I end my night by unwinding with my favorite: a fiction novel that almost always comes from Reese’s Book Club. I’m currently reading Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I love escaping to these fictional stories at the end of the day to help turn off my brain before going to sleep.
5:30am: My alarm goes off and without hesitation… (I’ll save you the same painful details from Monday morning)
6:00-6:50am: I attend Barry’s Bootcamp for a mix of cardio and strength training, and I’m instantly woken up as a result of the red lights, great music, and overall intensity.
7:00-8:00am: I get ready for the day again by listening to “The Best One Yet” and “The Daily” for my news, have my yogurt, and head out to catch the 1 train down to Tribeca because I’m heading into Citi’s headquarters for the day. My group at Citi is currently operating in a Hybrid work model where we split time between the office and home.
8:30-1:00pm: I have my morning of meetings that include in person meetings with my team. In a couple of the meetings we take advantage of the whiteboard in the room and sketch out possible operating model for new features and options for marketing given our digital roadmap.
1:00-4:00pm: After grabbing lunch with the team, a couple of us head to one of the Citi branches to meet with a few Advisors, Bankers, and Relationship Managers. A big part of my job is identifying pain points from the field that use our products. We start by having a conversation in a large conference room surrounding what is going well but more importantly, what could go better. Throughout the conversation we identify potential solutions for these pain points and discuss how these can fit into our roadmap. We then join a client meeting to observe as an Advisor uses our product live with their client. We are so grateful that teams take time to include us in their day because the learnings that we take away will fuel our roadmap make the necessary strides in the right direction for our clients.
4:00-7:00pm: Return to the office to finish of they day’s meetings, document the day’s learnings from the branch, and discuss who will own what in translating the feedback into requirements.
7:15-9:00pm: Go out for drinks and dinner with a couple coworkers after a long but productive day.