6 Empowering Quotes On Entrepreneurship From Carla Harris

Texas Conference For Women 2019

AUSTIN, TEXAS – OCTOBER 24: Carla Harris of Morgan Stanley speaks on stage during Texas Conference For Women 2019 at Austin Convention Center on October 24, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images for Texas Conference for Women 2019)


Mar. 27 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

Discover Proudly Amplifies Diverse Voices
Share to XShare to FacebookShare via EmailShare to LinkedIn

As Vice Chairman at Morgan Stanley, Carla Harris knows a thing or two about leadership. She’s spent decades offering guidance to up-and-comers in the corporate world. Her advice boils down to hustling smart and remembering your roots. 

She’s spent decades offering guidance to up-and-comers in the corporate world. She also encourages budding entrepreneurs to lead with authenticity. Gain insight from her extensive experience and positive attitude through her quotes. 

Who Is Carla Harris?

Source: Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images for Pennsylvania Conference for Women

Carla Harris speaks during Pennsylvania Conference For Women 2017 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Oct. 3, 2017, in Philadelphia.

Before rising to vice chair of wealth management at Morgan Stanley, Carla Harris hailed from far more humble roots in small-town Jacksonville, FL. Her mother was a school cafeteria cook, and her father was a grocery store clerk—and both instilled the value of education in Harris from an early age. Although she attended segregated schools, young Harris pushed herself academically and graduated high school as class valedictorian.

She earned a scholarship to Harvard University, where she thrived in coursework and interned in investment banking. After Harvard Business School, Harris accepted a full-time analyst role at Morgan Stanley. She leveraged her grit to smash barriers facing both women and African Americans on Wall Street. Her authentic leadership style, attention to mentorship, and relationship-focused business building quickly garnered notice. 

Article continues below advertisement

On Taking Your Seat At The Table:

“Get yourself in the room by building relationships and addressing the elephant directly, but also show you have something to contribute.” 

Harris told BizJournals that gaining access to important conversations is non-negotiable, especially for those from marginalized communities. She advises others to speak and act intentionally before and after they get their foot in the door.

On Being Yourself:

“No one can be you as well as you can be you, Never submerge what is uniquely you.”

“It is a competitive disadvantage if you are not authentic. Your authenticity is at the heart of your power.”

Harris believes that part of a person’s edge is that no one else can be you. She encourages others to take advantage of what makes them who they are, as it’s often precisely what you need to stand apart. 

Article continues below advertisement

On Being Confident:

“While everyone else is ducking, you have clear vision. Now is not the time to keep your head down. The issue with that is you submerge your voice, and you become irrelevant, and you put a big target on your front and back.”

When working your way through the corporate world, it’s easy to feel discouraged or that your ideas aren’t enough. Harris believes it’s important to shine your light because people will take advantage of your timidness if you don’t. 

Article continues below advertisement

On Helping And Encouraging Others:

Working in the corporate world can often feel incredibly competitive. Harris told TakeTheLeadWomen it’s important to remind professionals to bring others along with them on their path to success. It’s clear Harris values and advocates for women in the workplace and supports others doing the same. “We cannot let the next generation of leaders reinvent the wheel. It is essential for you to share what you have learned with other people,” she said.

Harris sits atop the investment banking world but says her barrier-breaking path began with simple and honest steps. By embracing identity, seeking wisdom, and leading with values, any leader she believes anyone can activate their potential. Let her words propel your own journey.

The author’s content and opinions have not been pre-reviewed, approved or endorsed by Discover.

Ambition Delivered.

Our weekly email newsletter is packed with stories that inspire, empower, and inform, all written by women for women. Sign up today and start your week off right with the insights and inspiration you need to succeed.


Latest Workplace News and Updates

    Link to InstagramLink to FacebookLink to XLinkedIn IconContact us by Email

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    Black OwnedFemale Founder