When Kathleen Murphy took over as Fidelity Investment's president of personal investing in 2009, she decided to listen more and talk less — a strategy that's not usually her style.

"I very intentionally decided that I was going to go slow to go fast," she said at a Financial Women's Association event Tuesday evening at the law offices of Sidley Austin in New York. "They had been hugely successful without me, so learning about what made the place tick, and how I could help after understanding the culture more was important."

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