• Complex Director, Managing Director
  • UBS – International
  • New York City
  • Number of Advisors: 52
  • Branch AUM: $6 billion

Catherine Lapadula is a hard-charging woman who says she is doing what she loves and sitting where she always wanted to sit—in the manager's seat at UBS's international wealth management operation in New York City.
"Right out of college, I went to visit my father on the trading floor" in 1987, Lapadula says. "I always knew he was trading stocks, but I never really thought about it. Once I saw it, I knew that's where I wanted to be. I went to a temp agency and said I wanted to have a job as a receptionist for a trading firm. And they got me a job working the floor."

Lapadula spent 18 years at Citibank on different trading desks, rising to bank supervisor before she was recruited to UBS. Today, she supervises a growing team that covers 33 countries. She recruits up to nine new advisors a year and loses few.

She credits that low turnover rate to her management style. "I'm dedicated, direct, and driven," Lapadula says. "People know where they stand with me."

Lapadula sees her job as equal parts teacher, coach, leader, and sometimes compliance officer, "but my main job is knocking roadblocks out of the way for my players," she says. When one of her advisors needed a software program for international institutional trading, she had it on his desk that Friday. "If I stayed at no, I'd never have gotten to where I am," she says.

Lapadula, a mother of three ("four if you count my husband," she laughs), runs three or four times a week, which keeps her stress in check. Asked when she first realized she was a good manager, she says, "I'm still not sure I am. You have to prove it every day. It's a constantly progressing job and it taxes you to the max."

She intends to make her unit better, but not necessarily much bigger than its current size. And she expects the competition will thin out. "There are going to be fewer players in the international marketplace,'' Lapadula says. "Some companies are doing this more as a hobby, and they won't be able to keep doing that."

ROLE MODEL: “My father, for his work ethic. He…worked as a truck driver during school and was a trainee at Merrill Lynch at 33 with two adopted twin girls.”

FAVORITE QUOTE: Jean Luc Picard:  “Things are only impossible until they aren’t.”

FIRST JOB: Dockhand catching throw lines from sailboats for tips in Port Washington, N.Y., her home town.

SOCIAL MEDIA: There’s a German word only used by women: Jaein. It means: yes/no. Social media is phenomenal, but it’s growing faster than the rules that govern it. I don’t have Twitter or Facebook. The rules are different in each country we are in, so we can’t use it.”