By Steven Mancillas Jr. ’21

Crediting her loyalty to her company as a reason for success, Mary Benson ’85 was eager to share her wisdom with Mays Business Honors students as a part of the 2018 Mays Leader Forum.

“Mentorships are a great thing… they don’t even need to be formal,” was a central point of her lesson throughout the lunch. Benson is the head of Global Pricing for Invesco Asset Management. She is responsible for corresponding with numerous offices both domestically and internationally about global pricing strategies. She joined Invesco in 1985 after she received her bachelor’s degree in accounting from Texas A&M University.

In reference to full-time interviews and internships, Benson emphasized the significance of the office environment to students: “Always feel comfortable with the culture… Trust that gut feeling.”

Having spent almost three decades with the same firm, she used her example as a success story for forming a healthy relationship within the office – specifically with her supervisors.

When Benson opened the floor to questions, students were curious about what she was passionate about outside of her work. She quickly responded with details about her dedication to the Invesco Women’s Network. Each year, the company hosts a conference in Atlanta in which female senior leaders are paired with less experienced staff for structured mentor relationships.

Benson advised the students to outline goals with potential mentors to allow for the conversation to grow dynamically toward a given endpoint. Having been mentored by many senior officers during her time at Invesco, she also mentioned that “you can be somebody’s mentee and not even realize it.”

Students took note of her convictions about having a mentor. “Ms. Benson shared the importance of finding a good mentor,” said business honors major John Clayton ’20. “In particular, I was struck by how influential informal mentors had been in her life. She encouraged us to find people to look up to even if they don’t officially mentor you.”

Regarding Mays’ initiative for global citizenship, Benson also encouraged students to experience diversity in friendships. “Understanding the culture of a given part of the world will automatically put you ahead in your dealings with that group of people.”

Students came out of the lunch impacted by the wisdom that Benson had to offer them. Business honors major Mason Walker ’21 commented, “Hearing how her career unfolded and what she does day to day was an insightful look into a career I may pursue. Going forward, I aim to synthesize the lessons she imparted on us to help me determine what career path to go down.”

PPA student Olivia Vandiver ’18 derived from the lunch incredible insight about finding mentorship within a career. “Her advice on setting expectations of the mentorship always starts with the mentee writing out goals,” she said. “This advice and insights will stick with me and will help me find my own personal mentor in a career.”