Meet Ann Turetsky
Want to know how Diversity & Inclusion is embedded in the fabric of everything we do? Hear more from our employees about their experiences.
Can you tell us a bit about your story?
I grew up in the Bronx, in a neighborhood just outside of Parkchester. I graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and went to college convinced that I would be a science major. In college, I changed direction to focus on legal and political communication and ultimately decided to go to law school.
During law school, I spent a summer interning in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG) office on an Army installation in Frankfurt, Germany, and that set me on a path I would never have imagined. I was commissioned as an Air Force officer after law school, and I went to the Air Force JAG school and officer training in Alabama before heading out to my first assignment at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. JAG gave me the opportunity to do exciting legal work while traveling around the world, including living in South Korea and Saudi Arabia. Each change of station was an opportunity to learn new things, meet new people and explore a different part of the world.
After leaving the Air Force, I was a litigation associate at two large law firms for several years before moving on to financial crime roles at JPMorgan Chase and Bank of New York Mellon. I joined Societe Generale Americas (SG) in early 2016 and currently manage the Compliance policy team. I still enjoy using my skills to give back to the community by taking on various matters through SG's pro bono program.
What does "bringing your whole self to work" mean to you?
It's exhausting to try to be something you're not or hide something that makes you who you are. I want to be judged by the work I do and what I bring to the firm, not on my ability to conform to an irrelevant mold in order to "fit in." It is important that everyone is able to share their views and contribute openly, for our own benefit and for the company. I don't believe you can achieve your full potential without bringing your whole self to work.
The Air Force has three core values that were instilled in me during my time on active duty: integrity first, service before self, and excellence in all we do. I still strive to exemplify the Air Force's core values by always acting with integrity, doing the best I can for my colleagues and the SG community, and by ensuring that the best interest of the organization is top of mind. I also look at organizations and their people through the lens of these values – I enjoy working with others who share this approach.
Over the course of the past few years, what changes have you seen?
In general, I've seen more focus on training related to inclusion in addition to diversity, which is very important because the two go hand-in-hand. If you're not talking about inclusion, you're not supporting your people. Inclusion is also not always intuitive, so raising awareness is really the first step. I'm glad to see that SG is focusing on it; the trainings focusing on inclusion were eye-opening, and I'd encourage people to participate.
Since its founding in 2017, the Veterans Employee Resource Group (ERG) has aimed to build awareness of the strong and unique qualities that veterans bring to the table. I am honored to serve as the head of the ERG and keep up the momentum.
What would you like allies to know?
Veterans bring unique qualities to an organization: a strong work ethic, integrity, loyalty to an organization, and refined leadership skills. Veterans are also self-starters who know what it means to take responsibility and be held accountable. The importance of teamwork and camaraderie is paramount – we need to work together to be successful. Those skills are often difficult to highlight on a resume, and sometimes people in the corporate world don't understand those aspects of the professional military experience.
I also think people may not realize how diverse the military is and how many opportunities there are. For example, although the military is historically male-dominated, I worked with women who held the most prominent positions on the base. My first Installation Commander (the officer responsible for all base operations) was a woman who was widely viewed as being on the path for General. She started as an aircraft maintenance officer and worked her way up and was ultimately promoted to Major General. On the same base, the Security Forces Commander was also a woman who rose up the ranks and was promoted to Major General.
Another thing about the military is that people are constantly moving from one location to another, so veterans are uniquely adaptable to change – your home, co-workers, boss and even your day-to-day responsibilities frequently change. From the moment you take on a new position, you have to get up to speed quickly, and then you're thinking about how you can build on your predecessor's great work: Where can I take this? How can I improve what was done before? No place is perfect, and there's always room for improvement, so each time you take on a new role, you want to continue to explore best practices and make things more efficient.