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Myrna Ghanem

Myrna Ghanem

Myrna Ghanem, Senior ESG Client Specialist at S&P Global, Inc.

  • Location: London, UK 

  • Title: Senior ESG Client Specialist 

  • Company: S&P Global, Inc. Sector: Financial Services 

  • Degree: MSc International Affairs, NYU

How does your usual day look like?

I start my day somewhere between 6am and 7.30am. It honestly depends on the weather. When it’s nice, it’s closer to 6am so I get up and do a super quick 2k run around my house. When it’s your classic London weather, I prefer to exercise in front of my YouTube fitness channels. Then it’s a quick shower, get dressed, and a lot of hydration: a glass of water, hot water with lemon and ginger, and my signature Earl Grey with honey.

The cliché bit comes next, but I’m glad I actually stick to it: I write down things I’m grateful for, and then I read the Daily Stoic, and a chapter or so in whatever book I am reading. In the mornings I prefer non-fiction. Then most days of the week it’s off to the office where I make a to do list (I like lists!) and get to work.

If I’m working from home, I am usually walking on my treadmill while answering emails and doing internal calls. In the afternoon I usually have a lot of calls. I make exceptions for Friday so that I can get more work done and wrap up the week. I tend to have a bigger lunch than dinner. For dinner, I prefer a homemade salad, whatever show I am watching on Netflix, and at 10.30pm it’s off to bed. I scroll through Pinterest and Instagram for a bit (guilty!), then I read fiction (preferably fantasy, crime, or a good rom-com) before going to bed.

What are the things you like the most about your job?

My team, and the hope that the work I am doing is actually making some investors and corporates think ‘huh, I need to make a change to protect our people and our planet’. I am not a consultant, so I can’t advise clients, but I like when they come to me and share their thoughts on their decision-making.

Building relationships is really the most important thing.

What are some of the skills you utilise the most in your day-to-day at work?

Time management, organization, and keeping my cool when clients get upset. There are days when it’s back to back, and my inbox is piling up, but my goal is always to be able to finish by 5pm (I do sometimes need to stay later, but I try to manage my time in a most efficient way).

What was one of your happiest days in your career and why?

I won our Impact Awards a year ago. It’s nice to be recognized and to have something to remember that what you did mattered to people at the company and externally.

What was the toughest career decision you ever made?

It happened before my career started really, but choosing not to go to law school. I wanted to be a human rights and international law lawyer, but I realized it would take years and land me somewhere with a lot of politics and bureaucracy with not that much power to make a positive change and likely just a lot of frustration and little money. So I just paved a different way (and am still doing so) to get to where I want to be.

What is something you had to learn to become better at your work?

I learned that not everybody works the same way, and you need to sometimes deal with colleagues or clients who you may not see eye to eye with. The key is learning how to ground yourself and manage your reactions given it’s the only thing within your control. Not everybody’s work ethic is the same.

How did you get to become an ESG Specialist?

I actually started at S&P in their Graduate Program. It’s an 18-month scheme, and after that you join the commercial team. Now I am quite a determined person, so when my time was up, I knew that I wanted to join the ESG team. I had a colleague who had just joined the team and thankfully our work ethics and styles were aligned, so when a position opened up she referred me to her manager who is thankfully now mine.

What's the one piece of career advice you have for anyone interested in following your footsteps?

Sometimes you need to get your foot through the door even if it means you’re not in the right room yet. I knew I wanted to do something on the ESG/impact/CSR level, but even with a Master’s degree, I started in a graduate program where I was one of the oldest people, just because I knew this was the company I wanted to work with. Also networking really is so important. And when you find yourself in a position to help, make sure you pay it forward.

What's your number one productivity hack / when or how are you most effective?

Take a break! When I feel overwhelmed and like I have a lot to do and little time, I take a step back, go for a walk or make myself a tea, then I sit down write down everything I need to do in order of priority, and slowly get through it.

A good Spotify playlist also always helps.

What makes you gracefullyBOLD?

I am still learning this and working on it, but reacting in the most human way possible.

Colleagues, clients, people in general will sometimes get frustrated or angry with you, but how you respond to them is what you turn them into, so if you are kind and patient and graceful, they are more likely to take a deep breath and instead work with you instead of against you.

This is how I work nowadays especially as a service and data provider that deals with all kinds of money-making institutions.

How do you spend your weekend or downtimes?

Earlier this year I started a short 5min podcast called soul. I spend most weekend writing down things I observe in myself and in people and turn it into a short podcast episode. It’s about all things we can do in our day to day to nurture our soul.

I especially love my Friday nights as I tend to make food and watch a movie at home.

Every now and then I will still channel the 21 year old in me and go out late, but I’ve found peaceful weekends are my favourites.

What would have been your alternative career path or alternative University degree?

I would have liked to study engineering or something more on the data side. Being able to build an engine or run code seamlessly sounds really cool. It’s never too late though, I might still do it.

How do you deal with stress and build resilience?

First, I embrace my feelings. If I need to cry from the stress, I do it. The most important thing is, once my “cry-baby phase” (as I call it) is over, I sit down and think of solutions. This is the “solution phase”. Sometimes that’s where I also speak to my mother or sister or a trusted friend who can help me out and ground me.

Who is a female professional that inspired you along your career journey? What did she do / say / or what are the character traits and professional skills she uses.

Definitely my mother. She is a full-time doctor, entrepreneur and business owner, mother and wife, caregiver, and just downright wonderful human being. She’ll never admit to this, but I know she’s treated patients, especially kids, pro bono just because she believes it’s the human thing to do. And more.

If you could time-travel and meet any leader, who/where would that be?

It’s difficult to pick just one. It would have to be someone who went through hell and still believed in the love of humanity. Nelson Mandela and Anne Frank come to mind (albeit Anne was not a leader, but her legacy leads).

The one question we didn't ask you but you'd like to answer?

  • Question: Where would you like to go next (career or life-wise)?

  • Answer: Definitely somewhere with more impact. I love my job and company but we are the enablers and some time in the future I definitely see myself doing more on the investment side and eventually maybe start my own business in something impact and ESG related.

One word answers & quick fire round. Let's go!

  • Your superpower: Healing

  • Favourite restaurant: sticks n sushi

  • Favourite fashion brand: anything from my mom/sister’s closet (I like hand me downs) #sustainability

  • Favourite beauty product: Hyaluronic acid (the Ordinary)

  • Favourite perfume: Miss Dior, Rock & Roses (Dior)

  • Book recommendation: The Prophet – Khalil Gibran

  • Next holiday destination: Egypt

  • Your hobby: Pub Quiz/Trivia

  • Who inspires you: everybody I have ever met

  • Tea or Coffee: Tea

  • Red wine or White wine: Red wine

  • Morning bird or Night owl: Morning bird

  • Cat person or Dog person: Dog person

Thank you Myrna for sharing your journey & wisdom with us!

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