Commercial Banker, Tech & Disruptive Commerce Group
Mimi Ghosh believes in dreams.
She's fascinated by the power of a visionary to imagine a different reality—and bring that idea to pass. That's why she entered the world of startups: From healthcare to communications to how we read the news, startups continue to transform everyday life, giving people an ever-expanding array of options and choices. Ghosh wanted to be part of that process.
A few years after graduating from college, she joined J.P. Morgan's Technology & Disruptive Commerce (TDC) Group, which focuses on high-growth, disruptive companies working in technology, media, and consumer products. Today, she helps to build and develop the company's strategy for supporting startups—and, in the process, empowering innovative entrepreneurs and their world-changing dreams.
What does success look like to you?
My definition of success has changed over time. In the past, I would have defined success through money and material goods. However, with more experience, I would now define success as having a clear purpose for your life–spending your short amount of time on this earth to make an impact. External markers of success, like money, awards, job titles, and houses will come and go, but feeling good about who you are and what you are doing each day is the greatest gift you could give yourself.
Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
I'm inspired by women who forge their own path in life, like Diane von Furstenberg, creator of the iconic wrap dress. The daughter of a Holocaust survivor, she grew from humble beginnings to become a trailblazer in business, fashion, and her efforts to empower other women.
My fascination with world-changing people began with my parents, who emigrated to America in the 1960s, leaving behind family, friends, and their homes in search of a better life through which they could help others in their community.
I am especially inspired by my mother, a fiercely independent woman who was born in the wake of India's independence from colonial rule. She started her life amidst great civil turmoil and uncertainty, but still found ways to express her rebellious personality and impressive organizational skills. At two years old, she trained a wild monkey to be her pet.
Her father was a renowned doctor, who regularly toured the country during her childhood, forcing his family to move every few years. This fueled my mother's sense of adventure and her ability to quickly adjust to new situations. To this day, she maintains friendships with women she met as young girls in each city she lived in.
In those days in India, families depended on their patriarch for survival. When my mother was in her late teens, my grandfather died and my grandmother rushed her into an arranged engagement, thinking that it was the only way to protect her. My mother—who was just 19—walked away from the arranged marriage, moving to America in the hope that she could find happiness on her own terms.
She met my father shortly after coming to New York, and they built a life together. She became an editor at a publishing house, a job she enjoyed for over 40 years. In our large extended family, she became known as the most fashionable relative, a glamorous woman with a keen seen of style. Her uniform of bold print wrap dresses and pantsuits would have looked ridiculous on most but she always seemed to be able to pull them off with flare.
She brought the same ambition and drive to motherhood. From her childhood, she was always known as the organizer, the one who planned activities for the family and corralled her much older siblings into finishing their chores faster, exhorting them to “Never leave 'till tomorrow what you can do today." She taught me the same lesson, pushing me to be ambitious and strong, to never settle for mediocrity, and to always follow my own dreams—just as she did.
What do you consider the most valuable piece of advice you've ever received and where did it come from?
Shortly after I joined J.P. Morgan, one of my clients introduced me to Diane von Furstenberg and she shared two pieces of advice that I've now incorporated into my daily life. The first was to use your power—regardless of your current experience or title—to help others. Everyone has something to share—or, as she put it, a “magic wand" to uplift others around you. Whether it is through introducing people to each other or advising an intern, setting aside some amount of time each day to focus on helping someone else will bring balance to your life—and eventually you will be able to reap those karmic rewards yourself. Your “magic wand" soon becomes a boomerang, bringing goodwill and good fortune back to you.
The second piece of advice was to expand your network, in particular by reaching out to individuals outside of your current spheres of influence. Find individuals who did not grow up in the same town or attend the same university or work in the same industry as you. Not every person you reach out to will be receptive or become a friend, but you will learn something from each attempt. By extending your hand to others, you will be pulled into a much larger world.
What made you choose your current career path?
I initially started a career in finance, thinking my first job would be brief and just a way for me to pay off my student loans before figuring out a career path. However, once I started, I found the work to be exciting and a great fit for my talents and interest. I've gone from working in investment banking, where I primarily worked with Fortune 500 companies, to my current job in the Technology & Disruptive Commerce Group, where I play a part in helping innovative founders and industry game-changers turn their dreams into reality. Entrepreneurs have the genius—and courage—to go where others have not gone before and develop solutions to problems that most of us are unable to see past. For many of them, the key to success is surviving long enough to put their products—and dreams—in front of consumers. That's where I come in.
Working for and alongside visionary founders never gets dull and I'm excited to start each day here. I've finally found my purpose.