Pledge 1%’s #WomenWhoLead series celebrates female leaders who are paving the way for the next generation. While our featured leaders come from a variety of backgrounds and industries, they are united in their efforts to promote equality for all women in the workplace. We’ve asked them to share a bit about their journey to success, as well as lessons they’ve learned along the way.

What is your name and title?

Beth Rustin, Founding Partner at Jamesbeck.

Briefly (1-2 sentences) describe your current role.

I am a Founder and Partner of Jamesbeck, a retainer-based executive search firm that specializes in recruiting senior level talent for investment management companies. We employ fifteen people, of which twelve are in the US.

How did you get here? Please share any quick stories from past work experiences.

I began my career in banking but decided that I wasn’t a big company person. At the age of 25, I found my way to Institutional Investor, a top notch financial media company, where I learned so much about the industry that I currently serve. After seven years there, I went into executive recruiting and after seven years with a firm, co-launched Jamesbeck in late 2002.

In your opinion, what’s the #1 decision or move you’ve made that has helped advance your career?

I took a risk in starting my firm in the midst of a recession but we had conviction and starting in a slow period allowed my partners and me to get our processes and systems in place before the market turned. We were ready when that happened a year into launching Jamesbeck.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned this past year?

Breathe and be grateful for good health, family and supportive friends in life and business.

What’s the number one challenge you face as a woman in your industry?

I work in a field where many male competitors socialize with their clients over dinner, drinks, sporting events, etc. I never felt comfortable doing that as a woman.

Do you have any mentors? What does mentorship mean to you?

I had a mentor at Institutional Investor who is still a dear friend even though we see each other only a few times a year. She taught me how to be a strong woman in business and to not always agree with clients but to challenge them when appropriate. She showed me that having opinions and a voice is not disrespectful but that clients can benefit from my insights (as long as I could back it up!).

What advice do you have for women who are just starting their career?

Don’t leave the workforce to have a family. Do both and tell your employer that you are committed to your career even if it comes with a family!

What is one thing companies can do, big or small, to help create an environment that advances women into leadership positions?

Give them the flexibility to work from home when their children are little.

What is one thing you hope to accomplish in the next year?

Take a real trip! I miss traveling!

Is there a cause that is particularly close to you? If so, why this cause and how did you get involved?

I am passionate about philanthropy and give to many organizations but I am on the Board of Trustees for The Educational Alliance, a NY-based agency that serves a variety of underserved populations in lower Manhattan. A dear friend of mine brought me onto the Board when she was the organization’s first Chairwoman in 2013. Ed Alliance provides a lifeline and various educational programs for New Yorkers of all ages including seniors who often times fall through the safety net. I see the impact we have on ordinary New Yorkers and it feels very good to be a part of it.

When did your company join Pledge 1%? What does your impact program mean to you?

In 2018. It shows our entire team from Partners to Administrative Assistants that we are a firm that wants to give back and we have everyone in our firm select organizations to support.

What do you like to do outside of the office? Any interesting (or unique) habits or interests?

I love to eat, drink wine and hang with my family and friends. And I love SoulCycle and Forward Space for staying in shape!

Are you reading/listening to anything interesting at the moment? Please share your most recent favorite book or podcast!

I just finished a great book called Hidden Valley Road and I am a podcast junkie. Lately it is all politics, all the time, like Pod Save America and The New Abnormal.

What’s been the one (or two!) things that have helped you navigate this past year? Any tips or tricks to dealing with remote work?

I typically start my day taking a long walk and listening to The NY Times Daily. Having this routine has been calming and is a great way to start my day. I miss my colleagues so rather than call them, often times call them on Teams Video so I can actually see them while speaking!