The treasurer role at the Financial Women's Association of San Francisco was reserved for more experienced individuals, but a young Laura Martinez wanted it nonetheless.
"Being treasurer pushed me out of my comfort zone," Martinez recalls. "Prior to that experience, I likely would have turned down a risky opportunity, insisting that I was too young for a demanding role. [The position] gave me the confidence to take on similar roles in the future."
Today, Martinez is the human capital leader in PwC's Assurance consultancy, and partner in its asset and wealth management consulting practice.
With more than 25 years of experience auditing and specializing in serving investment companies, partnerships, hedge funds and private investment advisers, Martinez is partner for two multinational asset management companies and serves as a quality review partner on several of the firm's largest mutual fund clients.
Having made partner in 2004, Martinez still credits her professional success to mentors and senior managers she worked with along the way.
"Early in your career those people are peers, managers, mentors and coaches, and you need to build relationships and be open to their coaching and guidance," she says. "I would encourage young women to learn as much as they can, credentialize themselves and build strong relationships within the industry."
Martinez works to see more diversity in the industry's management ranks too.
"It's key to engage all levels in the firm, from our partners down to our youngest professionals, to get them involved in driving sustainable impact."