Reaching New Heights

Managing director and head of global transaction services Maureen Jarvis reflects on big leaps and prospects for growth at Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Photo by Nadia Molinari

In the more than 20 years that she has been with Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA Merrill), Maureen Jarvis has worked on four different continents, climbed from the foreign-exchange sales department to become the company’s managing director and head of global transaction services in Canada, and taken four years off to raise her two daughters. Advantage got the opportunity to sit down with Jarvis to discuss her wealth of experience and to glean a few words of wisdom.

Maureen Jarvis’s Career Milestones

Starts at Bank of America in foreign exchange sales

Moves to Melbourne, Australia, to manage client-access products for Bank of America’s Asia region

Moves to Sydney, Australia, to serve as the payments product manager for Bank of America’s Asia region

Relocates to Europe to lead the European network-expansion product

Moves into a role driving global-financial-institution product strategy

Leaves BofA Merrill for four years to focus full-time on her family

Returns and is named the director of Canada product management

Is promoted to the position of managing director and head of global transaction services for Canada

What first attracted you to BofA Merrill?
Back in 1990, I was working for a Canadian bank, focusing on managing retail operations. I was interested in working for an organization that had a global footprint, and soon after I joined Bank of America, I forged ties with colleagues in the company’s transaction business in Europe and Asia. That became a springboard to a very interesting journey.

What did you learn from working abroad in Australia and Europe?
I was ready to explore work outside of my home in Canada and was looking for a challenge. I wanted to broaden what I was doing and develop new skills. In Asia, I worked on projects across the region to provide additional in-country transaction services to our clients. And in Europe, I partnered with external banks and helped to grow the transactional-services network. I feel very fortunate that I was given so many opportunities to experience different areas of focus within the company.

How has BofA Merrill grown over the 24 years that you’ve been with the company?
I’ve been through six major mergers and acquisitions that have directly impacted the businesses I’ve been involved with. When Bank of America merged with Merrill Lynch, it opened up a lot of opportunities for global transaction services and our network of clients around the globe. Today, I manage a talented team of treasury sales officers who provide best-in-class solutions to our clients doing business in Canada, [and I work] with our regional partners to provide solutions that meet our clients’ treasury needs, wherever their business takes them.

How are you helping the company continue to grow?
I recently heard a great analogy: transaction services is the nervous system of a company. Without efficient execution and management, a company can’t function or grow. As trusted advisors to our clients, it is critical that we understand how their organizations function and provide solutions that optimize their “nervous system.” The results are positive for our clients, our company, and our shareholders.

How do you provide those opportunities for your team?
I think it’s important to recognize everyone’s unique talents. It’s equally important to help develop skills around these talents and to match them to the right roles. Throughout my career, I have been able to shadow really great leaders and see how they empower their teams. As a leader, I think it’s critical to give my team the tools and guidance they need to drive the business.

How do you manage your own personal growth?
I see every new opportunity as a learning experience. I work on growing my network and my knowledge. I recognize that life presents us with a continual learning curve. I also maintain a healthy lifestyle, enjoying outdoor sports such as running and cycling as well as staying actively involved in my daughters’ budding ice hockey careers.

“Great mentorship is critical to career development and growth. I empower my team members and ensure they have the necessary tools so that we can drive results and grow the business together.”

What is one of the most important lessons you’ve learned at BofA Merrill?
I’ve met so many amazing people and experienced many different cultures, which really helped me to grow and cultivate an appreciation for diversity. When I moved to Asia, my regional role required me to work across 13 different countries with very diverse cultures. I learned that there are many different ways that people interact and do business with each other. And adapting to how BofA Merrill culturally operates within different countries was a really important milestone in my career. An equally important milestone was deciding to take a career break to be with my children [before rejoining] BofA Merrill.

What’s next on your career path?
Over the time I’ve been with BofA Merrill, I’ve learned that I’m not afraid to take on new opportunities. I’m a lot more adventurous than I thought I was. That has been a significant realization and has made it a lot easier to take big leaps. Every opportunity presents a new, exciting challenge. But now that I’ve been home for five years, I love being a Canadian here in Canada. I’ve made a personal and professional commitment to stay, and I’m happy to drive the transaction-services strategy for the country I have always called home.