Gennell A. Jefferson
Senior Vice President, Strategic Business Development
GE Asset Management, Stamford, Conn.
Gennell A. Jefferson finds inspiration in the words of late civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., “Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase,” as she moves forward in the upper ranks of financial services. She is the most senior African-American female at GE Asset Management, a global investment firm with $116 billion in assets under management as of Dec. 31, 2014. As the firm’s head of business development, she is responsible for implementing strategies to support activity in new markets, including establishing and managing partnerships with emerging financial services firms. The role represents an incredible professional growth opportunity for Jefferson, who has never shied away from taking on big challenges. She had spent the previous 20 years in corporate banking, holding senior roles at several investment banking and advisory firms such as Banc of America Securities and Lehman Brothers.
Jefferson thanks her parents for making her education a priority and encouraging her to pursue technical disciplines. She holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, and an MBA in finance and marketing from the University of Michigan. She credits mentors and sponsors for investing greatly in her career progress, most notably Dmitri Stockton, president & CEO of her firm. His visionary leadership and support has allowed her to help the organization accomplish its strategic objectives and help members of the community to grow and develop in the process.
Jefferson is most proud of her role in expanding business opportunities for women- and minority-owned firms in the financial services industry and developing a diverse talent pipeline for GE through recruiting at leading colleges and HBCUs. She quotes poet and author Maya Angelou: “You shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”