THE FOLD WOMAN: TINA FORDHAM

THE FOLD WOMAN: TINA FORDHAM
November 3, 2014 The Fold

Could you give a brief description of your career to date?

I’m the first and only Chief Political Analyst to work for a major Wall Street institution, and have been with Citigroup since 2003. Prior to that, I started up the financial markets business for Eurasia Group, a New York-based political risk consultancy; we launched around the time of 9/11, when interest in geopolitics surged. Until then, there was very little systematic political analysis available that was tailored to investors. I’ve also served as Senior Adviser in the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit. Before starting my financial services career, I spent much of the 1990’s doing field work and research in numerous countries in Eastern Europe, including Czechoslovakia, Russia and Azerbaijan. My first-ever job was in an independent record store, the legendary Streetlight Records, in San Jose, California, in 1986. That was a cool job too.

 

What do you like most about your job?

I love having to work out the implications of political developments in real-time–a huge challenge. But it’s why I love working in the financial markets. And I like to think I help my clients solve problems.

 

TINA FORDHAM fold woman

Tina wears the Arlington dress in burgundy and black print

 

What advice would you give to your younger self when you were starting your career that you wish you had known?

My longstanding philosophy of work hard and be nice has got me a long way. If I had to give my younger self advice, it would be to trust your instincts. They’re usually right.

 

What is the most important life lesson you have learned from another woman?

Former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a hero of mine, said that there is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women. I think that’s an important operating principle and try to adhere to it.

 

What does a typical day in Tina Fordham’s life look?

I start each day at 6am with a review of the headlines, so I’m prepared to talk to investors about current developments that might move the markets. Then I get my two daughters ready for school. After that, I might go to see investors, to an event at Chatham House, my office in Canary Wharf, or Heathrow. I travel a lot for work.

 

THE FOLD WOMAN TINA FORDHAM

Tina wears the Houston blouse in white and Le Marais straight trousers in navy

 

Maintaining a good work-life balance is very complicated nowadays. How do you relax and de-stress after a long working day? 

I’ve recently become a running addict; a long run in Primrose Hill and Regent’s Park is wonderfully head-clearing. I also love to spend time around people who have positive energy; that also recharges the batteries.

 

Do you feel it is important for women to present themselves in a particular way for work?

Women have so many options when it comes to professional attire, I don’t think that presenting oneself in a particular way is necessary. I do think that wearing colour boosts one’s spirits and that we should banish baggy black trouser suits to the back of the wardrobe.

 

You have a very varied role that involves lots of travel and frequent public speaking and television appearances. How do you make sure that your outfit is always appropriate for your different engagements?

I have a formula: a bright-coloured dress, red lipstick and heels. Saves time and always looks good. I try to remember not to wear the same dresses on television; a friend once said to me, “You’re wearing your CNBC dress”. It made me realise that I need to mix it up a bit. I also like to wear jewellery by Babette Wasserman, an independent designer based in London  http://www.babette-wasserman.com/. Her stuff is a delightfully quirky.

 

TINA FORDHAM Fold Woman

Tina wears the Arlington dress in burgundy and black print

 

And finally, what is your favourite piece from The Fold AW14 collection?

The burgundy Camelot dress, without doubt. I already have 3 other Camelot dresses though. Then again, as Mae West said, too much of a good thing can be wonderful.

 

Photos from Amelia Allen Photography.

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