We spoke with Robert Charbonnier, lead financial officer in Global Credit Finance and a member of the Steering Committee in the Veterans Network (VetNet), one of State Street's employee resource groups. Robert has served in various capacities throughout his 20 years of military service, responding to several natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and is now supporting the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through this pandemic.
What was the path that brought you to the professional role you occupy today at State Street?
I was recruited into the Army Reserves at the age of 17 and was enlisted as a vehicle mechanic. Thanks to the Army, I was fortunate to graduate from college in finance and economics with little debt, although I owed the Army eight more years of service in a reserve status. In 2004, I got a job as a fund accountant at a small company that was acquired by State Street a few years later. I was nervous at first, but soon realized that working for a bigger company gave me an opportunity to develop professionally through different roles. I have held multiple roles in reporting and finance across different lines of business. As a lead financial officer in Global Credit Finance, I am the finance point of contact for the business. I am prepared to help out with any financial issue or question the business has. My role has expanded to include the Portfolio Solutions and Foreign Exchange sales and Trading teams within Global Markets. I also ended up staying with the Army past my eight-year commitment and still serve today. I am currently a Lieutenant Colonel and the deputy head of logistics for the Massachusetts Army National Guard.
Tell us about the goals and achievements of VetNet at State Street.
I am on the Steering Committee for the Veterans Network.
This network is comprised of military veterans and supporters. Our mission is to foster fellowship among
the company's veterans, advocate for our veterans, promote veterans' professional development, assist with onboarding and transitioning of military hires, and be a resource for the company on military-related topics. We also promote the model State Street has in place to support transitioning veterans. Our key achievements include assisting with internal mobility for our veterans, hosting professional development events, participating as panelists for other networking and recruiting events, and organizing Veterans Day events in November.
What is the value gained from attracting diverse talent?
A football team cannot win with 11 quarterbacks on the field. It needs people with different kinds of expertise and physical attributes to throw, block, catch and run in order to score points. I believe the same holds true at work and in the military. In business settings as well as the military, I always try to have a devil's advocate in the room when making a tough decision. This person may represent the status quo in a meeting where we are discussing fundamental change or they may be a voice of caution where the decision is leaning toward taking a large risk. Without having these voices in the room or giving these ideas a seat at the table, I could shut out a potentially valuable idea or risk a worse outcome.
Our Mission Is to Foster Fellowship Among Veterans Working at State Street
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Lead Financial Officer Global Credit Finance State Street