If Sabina McCarthy, vice chair of wealth management for Merrill Lynch, could tell her younger self anything at all, it would be summed up in two words: be patient. This underrated virtue, she says, has served her well both in work and life.
After graduating from Wheaton College outside of Boston, McCarthy worked as a management trainee for Marine Midland Bank. She later put her career on hold to raise her children, but, following her divorce, she re-entered the workforce. Her brother was working at Merrill Lynch and asked if she was interested in becoming a financial advisor, a career she says she found to be "exciting."
"In many ways, it is running your own business," she said. "The idea of starting the business under a fantastic brand umbrella sounded really great to me."
McCarthy's career has also been closely intertwined with raising her children. Her three kids were not an infrequent site at the office. She fondly recalls them helping her with tasks such as mailings, where they earned a penny for each envelope they licked. She says she also found different ways to be enterprising. When her son played hockey, which meant a lot of travel, McCarthy networked in her surroundings and ended up developing fellow hockey parents and equipment suppliers as her clients.
Her career at Merrill has taken her everywhere from San Diego, where she served as a resident director and complex sales manager, to Palm Beach, where she worked as a district sales manager. In 2008, she returned to the New York area, and has held her current position since this past February.
McCarthy served on the Global Wealth and Investment Management Diversity and Inclusion Council during its early years and is currently a member of the Merrill Lynch Women’s Exchange and its advisory.
These efforts matter, “because it’s a good business decision,” she said. “[There are] numerous statistics around the success of businesses that have diverse leadership and workforces. It’s not just a nice thing to do. If we want to capture next-generation clients, we want to be sure the teams are comprised of multi-generational and that they’re [diverse in race and gender] to ensure that.”