Dina DeAngelo
Director, Pictet & Cie

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Always play the long game. Knowing which battles to fight and which to leave on the table has been key to my success. Learn to handle your emotions and keep them balanced. That is more a life lesson, but extremely important in the workplace. Finally, collaborate. Collaboration is powerful in whatever form it comes in. Be part of it.

About Dina

Dina DeAngelo is one of the most renowned private wealth bankers in Europe. She grew up in Connecticut and began her career at Bessemer Trust Company in New York and moved with them to London in the early 1990’s before heading Rothschild’s international private clients’ division. She has been a Director at Pictet & Cie, one of Switzerland’s largest private banks, for the past 10 years and is one of the bank’s most senior female executives. 

She is a frequent speaker on issues facing entrepreneurs and the next generation inheriting substantial wealth and is often featured in titles such as the Financial Times, WSJ and Vogue. She sits on the board of several charitable organisations and lives in Wiltshire (UK), with her two children.

Questions

How did you get to where you are today?

I began my career in New York City. I was hired to work in the international division of a US wealth manager. They manage large fortunes for families and entrepreneurs mostly in the US, but they had several relationships outside of the US and I had some language and cultural skills that were needed to progress that business. I was a keen learner and progressed quickly to travel around the world for them. I was posted to the United Kingdom early on in my career to spearhead the international work and continued to grow as a banker. The posting was made permanent after a few years, with no prospect of returning back to the US so I had to make big decisions early on about the direction my career might take. I took the decision to remain permanently in the United Kingdom and my career went from strength to strength. 

What key learnings would you like to pass on to the next generation of women?

Private banking is a wonderful career for women. It plays to all of our strengths – relationship driven, strong communications skills, strong investment skills, instinct, creativity. Women in general need to find their voice in their careers and in their workplaces. Once you find your voice, use it well. In this business, we never stop learning so we need to be flexible and adapt as things change – the industry, the employer, the clients. Things constantly move forward and you have to be able to move forward with all of those things. Initiative is key – strive to be the one who takes initiative – don’t wait for someone to hand you something – that does not happen. Be an innovator. If you think you have a better way to do something, share it and bring everyone along with you. Make sure your employer knows exactly what you bring to the table and know your strengths and weaknesses. If you are part of a team or are building a team, find people to round out the experience and have skills that you lack. In this way, you all move forward together. If you make a mistake, which I have done many times, learn from it and move on. Don’t linger on why, what, how. This all adds to the rich fabric that becomes you and your career and appreciate all the steps along the way – good and not so good. Women also have a major key advantage in the natural grace they bring to business. A key differentiator that is often overlooked.

How do you manage to balance work and personal life?

Becoming a master at multi-tasking is a key. I have the added complication of living well outside of London on the Hampshire/Wiltshire border so I am a commuter. My days are indeed very long and being organised is just a necessity. Having two children, two dogs and various smaller and larger creatures over the years just adds to the overall mechanics of daily life. I have been extremely lucky to have kept my nanny who began with us when the children were babies. The continuity of care has been instrumental to my career and of significant benefit to them. This was without a doubt the single most important investment I could make in my career. Lizzie is a well loved part of our family and always will be. I worked throughout my pregnancies and came back to work 6 months after with each one. I was constantly available and connected to the Bank and to clients during the time I was at home and this was critical to my success. After returning to work, I made sure I was present for all of the major milestones in children’s lives and many of the minor ones as well, juggling responsibilities as I went along. I was clear with the Bank what they could expect from me during my maternity and my departures and returns were always seamless.

Having said all of that, there are days when things just go wrong. Transport doesn’t function, flights get cancelled, work takes over and it gets chaotic. I have learned over the years that I just have to do the best I can when things are like that, prioritise the issues and there is always another day. I strive for perfection – especially early on in my career – I felt it was what was expected and what I became known for. I set the bar very high for myself but have learned that you cannot always keep that bar so high.

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What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

I have a few…. The first piece of advice is to always play the long game. Knowing which battles to fight and which to leave on the table has been key to my success. Learn to handle your emotions and keep them balanced. That is more a life lesson, but extremely important in the workplace. Finally, collaborate. Collaboration is powerful in whatever form it comes in. Be part of it.

How do you think fashion can make women feel empowered?

Fashion has always been an interest of mine. In my early career, women always dressed in suiting and not very interesting suiting at that. I did not feel like putting on a uniform every day to go to work so I experimented with dresses and separates and colour. I noticed that colleagues would comment and more importantly, clients would comment. Today, I wear a variety of things and sometimes I even wear suiting – I just make sure it is tailored to perfection.  When things fit well and you look great, your confidence will be exactly where it should be.

What do you love about DeMellier and what is your favourite DeMellier handbag?

I work with many entrepreneurs so I follow people who are creating and forging interesting paths. I have followed the DeMellier brand and its founder for years and love the journey Mireia has made and where she is taking the brand in the future. My most treasured DeMellier bags are my Tan Suede Vienna and Black Grain Berlin, and I love the new Vancouver. It manages to be modern, classic and chic all in one.

What are your favourite beauty products?

I try to keep that pretty simple these days – Cera/Ve cleanser and Tatcha for the rest. Minimal make-up but Hourglass is a staple! Adam at Josh Wood for cut and Josh himself for colour. They are the dream team.

What is the best book you have ever read?

Out of Africa – Isak Dinesen

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What is your favourite travel destination that you would recommend most?

Nantucket, Massachusetts

What are your handbag essentials that you cannot live without?

 My bag is very important. It is not only used to carry essentials, but carries some precious life memories. In my case, a stone that my son painted when he was 3 and a pin cushion my daughter made. I have very long days which often entail travel and evening events. I am not able to get home to change bags, so I need a handbag that will look perfect in the day and transition to any evening event effortlessly. 

On occasion, I get severe migraines so my bag houses my meds for that – key to getting through the day when it happens.

Finally, tell us something people don’t know about you!

I was a figure skater in my teenage years. I follow England rugby with a passion and support the New England Patriots (American Football!)

 

Photography by Constance Victoria