Executive Director | Morgan Stanley
By Gabrielle Alfiero // Photography by Sheila Barabad
Whether meeting with clients or with a nonprofit’s board of directors, Claudia Marmolejo always has an eye on helping others.
“I don’t think anyone is an island,” she says. “We are all here thanks to the help of others.”
In her role at Morgan Stanley, this belief becomes practice. Marmolejo joined Morgan Stanley’s legal team in 2006, and in June 2015, she became the chief operating officer of a team that was once her internal client, moving to the client development group in the wealth management division.
She was interested in the position because it allowed her to work directly with senior management, financial advisors, and their clients or prospective clients.
Today, she focuses on each client’s unique situation to showcase the strength and depth of resources that Morgan Stanley offers. Marmolejo facilitates collaborations between financial advisors and thought leaders from all areas of the firm to meet each client’s financial objectives.
For instance, when a wealth management client wants advice on mergers, acquisitions, or divestitures, Marmolejo helps connect the client with the investment banking division.
“It’s about finding interconnectivity, partnering people, driving innovation, and excelling on execution, and, as a result, we deliver a more beneficial outcome,” she says.
Giving back is an important impetus for many clients. Marmolejo points out that families and family offices with high net worth are increasingly interested in creating a legacy through philanthropy, impact investing, and next generational transfer of wealth. “However they want to contribute, we make sure to find a way for them to do so,” she says.
Likewise, Marmolejo is committed to giving back to her own community. Beyond her role at Morgan Stanley, Marmolejo dedicates herself to philanthropic efforts, focusing on social justice and Latino-related issues.
Marmolejo brings two decades of business experience to nonprofit boards, which value the advice and skills she brings as a financial and business advisor.
Marmolejo serves as a board member of Latino Justice, a nonprofit that protects the rights of Latino communities through advocacy and education of the legal system.
She also serves as a board member of Turnaround for Children, which improves public schools in poverty-stricken areas by creating a more conducive learning environment for children. She witnesses firsthand the impact this organization has in transforming “chaos to incredible order.”
And Marmolejo recently joined the board of trustees of El Museo del Barrio, which showcases the work of Latin American artists.
In addition to her philanthropic pursuits within her community, Marmolejo serves as cochair of Morgan Stanley’s Latino Employee Networking Group, which supports the professional development of its 1,500 members.
As cochair, she serves as an active mentor to many junior colleagues at Morgan Stanley.
“As nonprofit board members, we aspire to make a difference, to collectively support these communities, and to dedicate our resources and skills to areas that matter to us, to meaningfully effect change,” she says. “The nonprofit world is increasingly implementing governance, risk management, and financial discipline akin to that of the corporate world. I work with others to take the best practices from the business arena into the not-for-profit environment as they face increasingly similar challenges.”
She sees this as a great way to give back because of the impact her own mentors have had in her career development.
“Nonprofit organizations have benefited from disruptive and innovative leadership on their boards stemming from gender and cultural diversity,” Marmolejo says. “Corporate boards could benefit by further leveraging this inherent resource to navigate game-changing environments like those present today.”
“Claudia Marmolejo recognizes the importance of making an impact—not just for herself but for others. Through breakthrough leadership, positive change is accelerated, whether in the corporate or philanthropy worlds.”—Mick Lopez