Ep. 2 – Investment Banking Leader Assia Morris: Be bold. Be strong. And never forget who you are.

Assia Morris is feisty, beautiful, smart, spiritual, loving, and strong. She’s a mixture of traits we would normally think of as being at odds, yet somehow they all roll up perfectly to make one whole Assia. A successful banker who believes in guardian angels. A chronic disease sufferer who has boundless energy. A woman so accepting of who she is that she asked me not to include the (extremely impressive) details of her extraordinary career because “It does not matter what I do but what I am.”

In an Instagram world, I can’t help but be in complete awe of a woman so confident in her self-worth that she doesn’t do any sort of bragging to seek approval and validation from the world. I’m not 100% there yet, which is hard for me to admit. I’ve always admired people who can strongly, confidently, and unapologetically be their true self in every situation. It takes a huge amount of acceptance, vulnerability, and courage to open up publicly, knowing there will be outside judgment about who you really are. And that’s why I invited Assia Morris on the show: I was looking for authenticity lessons to up my leadership game.

What makes Assia’s leadership story unique is that she remains authentic and is proud of the attributes she has that make her unique: she has succeeded not in spite of, but because of, her cultural diversity, gender, and living with a chronic debilitating disease.

Assia is – defiantly and unapologetically — Assia, no matter where she goes or who she’s with.

No wonder her Level Up Your Leadership advice is this: Be bold. Be strong. And never forget who you are.

In this interview with Assia, we discuss:

  • How her co-workers deal with her authenticity at work.
  • How she was able to stop her manager from writing down the same personality critique on her annual reviews (that she wasn’t going to change, anyway).
  • How her relationship with clients benefits from her honesty with them.
  • How Assia managed to stay egalitarian and free while being raised in a predominantly-Muslim country — and how that shaped her entire value system.
  • How living in a “third-world” country made her hungry to go out there and prove herself.
  • How knowing multiple languages was an asset in her leadership toolkit.
  • The types of managers who are most and least conducive to bringing your authentic self to work.
  • How Assia integrates her personal life characteristics into her work life.
  • What it’s like to suffer from an auto-immune disease and still work and raise kids.
  • How learning to become a coach was a way for Assia to give back.
  • Why women do AND don’t need mentors (and why women shouldn’t just be “grateful” that they have a job in the first place).
  • How to stand out for opportunities to advance in the organization.
  • How to tailor your job to make it more fitting to your strengths and passion.
  • The Skills you can develop to help future-proof your career.
  • How exhausting it can be to wear inauthentic “masks” to work (and how good managers can see through them, anyway).
  • How to not just be a great manager but — more importantly — how to be a great leader.


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