Vice President of Credit and Risk Management, Marco Financial
40 Under 40 Category: Underwriting
Alisa Rusanoff started her career in investment banking at Martel Capital, working on M&A and capital-raising initiatives for a diverse list of mid-market clients. She then joined a public interval fund based in New York where she oversaw portfolio analysis and was an Investment and Valuation Committee member.
Later on, Alisa focused on the trade finance industry, working with several clients on analysis, management, investor communication and alternative financing structures. A few years later, she co-founded Newbridge Global, a trade finance boutique focusing on supply chain, accounts receivable financing and asset-based lending solutions for SMEs. Most recently she joined an early-stage startup, Marco Financial, to help build a fintech platform providing working capital for Latin American exporters.
Alisa has published several articles on ESG, economics, fintech and has spoken at various conferences. She has been a guest lecturer at NYU, the New School Venture Lab, and the GC4Women Certificate Program, whose mission is to support female founders.
What is your definition of success?
Happiness and success are extremely subjective notions and can be defined by each individual in their own unique way. The most important factor here is not to live up to society’s definition of “success,” but define success for you at your specific point in life. Ten years ago, I would have probably given a different answer, with success being rooted in career ambition and monetary achievements. Now I believe that, even though success is sometimes viewed as the destination itself, it is rather about the journey - a path full of ups and downs that bring knowledge, experience, creativity, and change. Success is the strength of overcoming challenges in the wisest, most efficient and ethical manner, learning from your mistakes and taking care of those people close to you. Success is moving forward and upwards step-by-step, taking the stumbles in stride and focusing on what actually matters.
I don’t measure success by monetary achievement alone – after all, I’ve seen a lot of high-net worth people that aren’t necessarily self-realized and/or happy. A question should be posed – if we lived in the world with no fiat money, would you still do what you do? What brings value and a feeling of self-fulfillment? How do you balance your life and train both sides of your brain? Only by not losing your own self one can truly be called successful.
When it comes to our industry, what is important for me is what types of investments we work on. How can we focus on finding ESG opportunities? What value-add can we bring to the table when facing our customers and trying to resolve their financing needs? How can we help small business to grow? Success is a combination of factors and often not simple, but the satisfaction derived from defining your personal success and working to achieve it is unparalleled.
What advice do you normally give to the junior talent you mentor?
In addition to junior underwriters and analysts I have worked with, I trained several female entrepreneurs through the non-profit organizations I am part of; I have taught such finance classes as corporate finance, financial structures, risk management, financial modeling, and others. I absolutely adore and appreciate the feedback from people that are eager to learn, change, ask questions, think rationally and critically.
The two pieces of advice I have personally taken in are the following:
Be curious: anything you are interested in might help you succeed; anything you are passionate about could materialize in the real world and be monetized. Never stop learning and always read a bit more than required in college, do a bit more than required at work, have a habit of learning something new on a regular basis.
Own it: own your imperfections, your language barriers, background stories - take your disadvantages and turn them into your strong unique sides; but also own your mistakes and be responsible. There’s nothing more courageous in the workspace like accepting your error and taking responsibility. Many thanks to Diane Von Furstenberg for this wisdom.
Lastly, find what you enjoy when doing your job – people are different and can be fond of different things while keeping your reputation your highest priority.