TJ Haynes-Morgan has worked in audit and risk assurance management for 25+ years, but her career path has been anything but risk-averse. Growing up with family and church as her anchor, TJ has achieved success through a series of calculated risks and leaps of faith, from taking an international assignment in London and a 26-year career at Citi to starting a new role as Head of Compliance Assurance at Raymond James and subsequently promoted to Chief Audit Executive at Raymond James. Current role: Protecting organizations from risks Your bio described your role as “responsible for the Internal Audit department and the independent assessment of governance, risk management and various controls across” Raymond James. In simple terms, what does that mean? What is the main mission of your job? There are many roles that bring organizations to life. My role is to identify risks and assess mitigating controls that could keep any of the lines of businesses or functions from achieving their goals by making sure Raymond James maintains an adequate control environment aligned with regulatory expectations. Our executive committee and board of directors need assurance that the controls we have in place are operating effectively. What are some example of risks you are protecting against? Data privacy or cyber security are two common examples in financial services. Financial services companies are constantly managing these risks and, as an auditor, I have to think about the impact of risks every day. Of course, you cannot protect yourself from all risks – you have to find an acceptable risk tolerance level. What characteristics does someone need to be successful in a role like yours? You have to love people. You have to be inquisitive and enjoy digging into policies, procedures and regulatory requirements. You have to be able to communicate, listen to varied opinions, make sound judgements regarding risks, their impact to the organization, and help the organization by making good recommendations to improve the overall control environment. What is your favorite part of your job? Being able to see how the work I do protects the firm is rewarding. I never get bored because of the opportunity to work with the many different business units, and there are constant challenges to keep me engaged. Coming out of the pandemic, there are new areas of focus. With so many of us working remotely, as a leader, I am focused on preparing myself and my team to continue to adapt our processes for continued mobility and flexibility as we return to the office. What is most challenging? In the Audit function, the right people have to come to the table for discussions – and that means people with diverse experiences and ideas. You want to make sure people are staying relevant by stretching and reaching their goals. Early influences: Seeing successful people who look like you Is there someone or something from your upbringing that influenced you from an early age? Growing up in Dallas as the oldest of eight children, all close in age, family was critical. Living in the south, we were a church-oriented family, and spending a lot of time at church grounded me. It gave me a sense of confidence and belonging in who I was and the richness of my family heritage. There are many ways to be successful – whether you work for yourself or someone else. What was your very first job, and what did you learn from it? At about age 15 or 16, Mr. Grady went to church with us, and it was one of my early exposures to another person of color who owned his own business. I worked at his chicken restaurant during the summer, and it was very eye-opening. He had worked at another franchise and gained experience then opened his own business. Learning this made a huge impact on me. It helped me understand that there are many ways to be successful – whether you work for yourself or someone else. It’s important that successful people help other people – so they can see people who look like them. Career path: Building on every experience and taking chances You have 20 years of experience in global financial services covering banking, consumer finance, internal audit, and compliance risk management. What can other people learn from your career path? I didn’t think during college, “I want to be an auditor.” But when I started working at The Associates (later acquired by Citi), my career path unfolded as opportunities presented themselves. I started to build on a strong foundation – and with every experience, I built upon that foundation. I enjoyed interacting with individuals in the organization. My first job after college was as an assistant CFO for a local business, I sat in an office, alone, and worked with numbers, so I knew early on that I needed engagement with people. I was able to carve out my career by being thoughtful and taking the collection of experiences to advance to the next role. Mentors and advocates along the way helped me. I am a big explorer – I was able to relocate with my job at Citi from Dallas to Baltimore to London to New York/New Jersey, and now I live in Florida with Raymond James. I started in Dallas with The Associates, and I stayed there through its acquisition by Citi. Going through that acquisition was an amazing experience, I met new people, and it prompted my interest to stay with them for 26 years. Part of my success has been the result of taking chances. Why did you decide to leave Citi and go to Raymond James? After a rich career at Citi, I got to a point of reflection – what do I want to do with second half of my career? Do I want to do something different or continue with this organization? It was a very hard decision, and I reached out to my network to ask people who had long careers at one firm and then left about their experiences. It became exciting to me to think about doing something different and applying my skillsets to another company. Raymond James is not as large as Citi – the organization prides itself as “an alternative to Wall Street” – and that was really intriguing to me. Tell me about your international assignment in London where you served as EMEA Consumer Audit Director, with audit responsibilities for consumer businesses across 19 countries. What did you gain from that experience? I wanted an opportunity to live abroad – the most successful people around me at the time held global roles and many of their career paths included international assignments. I moved to London in 2007 with responsibility for the audit function for the consumer business across EMEA (Europe Middle East Africa). In the US, at the time, we frequently limited our thinking of diversity along color and gender lines, but in the international setting, it was so much broader than that. These are individual countries, and each has its own unique history and sense of pride. Think of your career as “I have an opportunity to gain a great experience, despite the hiccups, and they will make me stronger.” What advice do you have for young women who are starting out in their careers? Don’t be afraid to take chances, and don’t worry about failing. Think of your career as “I have an opportunity to gain a great experience, despite the hiccups, and they will make me stronger.” Also, take care of people. Success is not achieved by a single person, there is a team around you, and there are people you rely on to be successful. If you encourage their growth, you will be successful, too. Personal passions: Bringing people together through mutual respect Tell me about your position as a member of the Board of Directors for Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding. What is the Center’s mission, and why is it important to you? Tanenbaum promotes justice and builds respect for religious difference by transforming individuals and institutions to reduce prejudice, hatred, and violence. Their mission is combating religious prejudice through programs focused on mutual respect, regardless of religious preference or non-beliefs. They provide resources to educators to teach about mutual respect and anti-bullying. They also advise organizations on how to create and maintain mutually respectful workspaces and polices for diverse employees with various needs. The health care program developed by Tanenbaum, supports the health care industry with training and materials to support equal healthcare for all. Equally as important, Tanenbaum works with religious peacemakers around the globe as they work to broker peace in various conflict zones. The world needs more mutual respect, and Tanenbaum brings people together for the common goal. https://tanenbaum.org/ Is there anything on your “bucket list” you’d be willing to share? I have additional places to explore around the world and right here in the U.S. I also have to learn to play the piano. I bring my upright piano with me every time I move, I won’t part with it, and one day I will sit down, practice, and play a song for my family.