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- Goldman Sachs announced the members of its 2021 managing director class this week.
- It was the bank’s largest and most diverse class yet, with 643 names.
- Insider took a closer look at six rising stars who made the cut — and what it took for them to get there.
Now that the dust has settled and Goldman Sachs announced its largest managing director class in history this week — 643 new members in all — there’s one question on every industry watcher’s mind: Who made the cut?
Among the new designates is a group of thirty-somethings with killer resumes who are poised to lead the prestigious Wall Street bank into its next generation. They’ve conquered the big leagues in the NFL, to the big leagues of global finance — and now, we’re revealing a few of their impressive backgrounds to you.
Those who managed to reach this point are rising stars in their respective fields, with stellar credentials both in the office and away from work. One is former chief of staff to ex-Goldman President Gary Cohn, a veteran of the Trump administration, while another is a 30-year-old black belt. They’ve spoken openly about their views on leadership, from confronting feelings of “imposter syndrome” at work to recognizing the responsibility of mentoring the next generation.
Victorious new MD promotes made their feelings of elation known this week after learning they’d landed the platinum title.
Take Jumi Barnes, for instance. The global head of investment-banking digital platform engineering was among the newly-anointed MDs, and took to LinkedIn to share that she was “extremely grateful to God” for having notched the achievement.
“Such an honor to be named Managing Director at Goldman Sachs… I’m grateful for the village that raised me and for all the support and opportunities along the way,” she wrote in a post that’s been liked more than 15,000 times.
At Goldman Sachs, the managing director title is just one step below the firm’s all-powerful partnership. The road up the mountain to MD is fraught with politics and power-brokering, as Insider recently reported.
Here are a few young leaders who just scaled the summit.
Jemma Wolfe & Stephan Lambert
Jemma Wolfe, 32, and Stephan Lambert, 30, were appointed global co-heads of strategy for Goldman’s consumer and wealth management arm earlier this year.
And that’s a big deal because it puts them in charge of finding ways to grow Goldman’s increasingly important consumer and wealth businesses, such as through acquisitions.
One major purchase that Goldman announced earlier this year is GreenSky, a home-improvement installment lender for which the bank will pay $2.2 billion entirely in stock. Upon the deal’s closing, Greensky is set to become part of
service Marcus, which itself is part of the CWM division.
“In their new roles, Jemma and Stephan will work closely with many of you and Firmwide Strategy to evaluate growth opportunities, whether through organic builds, partnerships, acquisitions or strategic investments,” Tucker York and Stephanie Cohen, co-heads of consumer and wealth management, wrote in an internal memo announcing the appointments in January, which was viewed by Insider.
Wolfe joined Goldman Sachs in the firm’s markets coverage group, which sits within its investment-management division, in 2012. As she rose through the ranks, she eventually became a vice president on the firmwide strategy team in 2019, which at the time was led by Cohen.
In that role, Wolfe spearheaded Launch With GS, a brainchild of Cohen’s which provides capital support to diverse entrepreneurs. Two former Goldman Sachs employees who declined to be identified but who knew Wolfe said the rising star and Cohen appeared to share a mentor-mentee relationship.
Lambert was previously an investment banker focusing on deals within the financial-services sector. He joined Goldman first as an intern in 2013 and then as a full-time analyst the following year, according to his LinkedIn page. Forbes named him to the finance section of its annual “30 Under 30” list earlier this year.
He’s worked on numerous acquisitions by Goldman over the past several years and participated in the debut of Marcus, which has since grown through developments such as the rollout of the Apple Card.
Lambert was also an instructor and second-degree black belt at Yong-In Martial Arts, located in Lake Bluff, Illinois, before he enrolled at Duke University in 2009, his LinkedIn page indicated.
In time for Black History Month last year, Sean Legister, a newly-promoted MD in the firm’s alternatives capital markets and strategy group, spoke to Jake Siewert, Goldman’s former global head of communications, on the “Exchanges at Goldman Sachs” podcast.
In the course of the February 2020 interview, Legister and Siewert shared an open dialogue about Legister’s family history and how he’s faced feelings of “imposter syndrome” at times throughout his career.
“When I got here from Amherst College, I suffered from massive imposter syndrome,” said Legister, now 32. “I was this athlete from Amherst College who’s Black who looked around and didn’t necessarily see a ton of people like me, and the ones who were went to Ivy League schools and studied finance or math or economics.”
“There was just this element of a fish out of water,” he added.
Legister started at Goldman Sachs in 2010 as a summer analyst in the securities division, according to his LinkedIn page.
As an undergrad focusing on English and Black studies at Amherst, Legister played football and ran track. A career in finance, he said on the podcast, was unexpected.
Legister also spoke about his family history, with his parents having immigrated from Jamaica. Going back to the island nation over the years has served as a gut-check about the realities of life away from the prosperous nature of the global finance industry, he said.
“Having worked on Wall Street for the last eight-and-a-half years, I’ve seen exorbitant amounts of wealth,” he said.
“But going home and again, seeing my family members — it’s 2020, and my grandmother doesn’t have running water. So there are elements of understanding my family’s humble beginnings that kind of keeps me grounded and keeps me pretty humble.”
After sustaining an injury in 2015, Justin Tuck traded in his New York Giants jersey for a suit and tie.
Tuck, a former NFL footballer and two-time Super Bowl champ, joined Goldman Sachs’ private wealth division in 2018 after obtaining an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.
The 38-year-old father of two, who has also played for the Oakland Raiders, was born in Kellyton, Alabama. He started down the path to becoming a professional football player while a student at the University of Notre Dame, and his formidable game later helped propel the New York Giants to two Super Bowl victories against the New England Patriots in 2008 and 2012.
In a 2019 article posted to the Goldman Sachs website, Tuck pointed to similarities between athletics and his newfound career in finance.
“It’s all about relationships,” he said. “Dealing with personalities in locker rooms helps. The correlation between an NFL locker room and a desk or client meeting is much higher than I would have anticipated.”
The former Goldman Sachs employee whom Insider spoke to described Tuck as magnanimous to junior staffers.
“JT’s known that, if you are near him — if you are in the cafeteria line and Justin’s there, he’s going to buy your meal,” this person said. “People would be like, ‘Oh, JT’s going to breakfast. Go down and grab a smoothie.'”
Lalit Gurnani, 31, has been with Goldman Sachs full-time since 2011, first as an analyst within its firmwide strategy division and later as chief of staff to ex-Goldman President Gary Cohn, a veteran of the Trump administration.
In 2014, Gurnani headed west, joining the investment bank’s storied technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT) team in the firm’s San Francisco office. Ever since, he’s advised on deals like public offerings for Redfin and Twilio, plus multi-billion-dollar
mergers for businesses like Aurora, a self-driving startup, as well as lodging company Sonder and data and analytics firm Planet Labs.
Earlier this year, Insider named Gurnani to our annual list of Rising Stars on Wall Street. In an interview in September tied to his Rising Stars selection, Gurnani spoke about mentoring the next generation of talent — a hot topic on Wall Street after banks like Goldman came under fire tied to juniors’ complaints of draconian working conditions.
“Giving these analysts, these associates, these junior VPs almost a platform to go and be their best selves, is really exciting to see in person,” he told Insider.
Gurnani defined mentorship as being able to champion junior bankers in presenting at client meetings, pitching for new business, or delving into deal sectors they’re personally interested in.
“If I hadn’t been forced to almost step up a little bit earlier in my career, I don’t think I’d be where I am today,” he added, citing mentors as being key to his own career development.
“To me it’s been important because it’s what kept me at Goldman for over a decade, and it’s really exciting seeing people grow up in their careers and be able to accomplish bigger and better things.”
Shireen Sharma, an investment banker in the firm’s TMT group, teamed up with Goldman Sachs President John Waldron and partners Kurt Simon and David Dubner this year to advise AT&T on the spin-out of its WarnerMedia business to Discovery for roughly $130 billion including debt, as Insider reported in May.
That deal is expected to close mid-2022, pending shareholder approval.
Sharma also advised AT&T on the formation of DIRECTV, a joint venture with private-equity firm TPG, to manage AT&T’s US video business. That partnership, which was announced in February, was set to value the newly-formed business at roughly $16 billion, according to a Bloomberg News report.
Prior to joining Goldman Sachs in 2015, Sharma was an associate in TMT investment banking at Barclays, based in New York. Before that, Sharma was an analyst and associate at Swiss bank UBS, based in Sydney, Australia.