Marty Chavez, former Vice Chairman and CFO at Goldman Sachs, joined the Bridgewater community to share his story in a conversation with Brian Kreiter, Bridgewater’s Chief Operating Officer. Chavez shared two key pieces of advice based on his personal experience: “Be careful who you pretend to be,” and remember that “we all hold the keys to our own prisons.”
Chavez reflected on his lifelong desire to bring his full self to the workplace (long before “authenticity” was at the forefront of the conversation), and how that manifested in his career path and choices. He reflected not only on the need to find companies that were welcoming for LGBTQ+ identifying people, but also on the internal work necessary to be comfortable bringing his true self to the office.
“We all hold they keys to our own prisons” was at first a personal reminder — and later a piece of advice passed on to others — that barriers exist not only externally, but also within each individual’s lived experience. He encouraged our audience to examine what barriers sat within themselves, and how their work or lives might feel different if they explored ways to mitigate them.
Chavez acknowledged that everyone faces points in their career where it feels easier to assimilate, and that doing so can often have short-term benefits. The key, he said, is to monitor how those choices play out over time. Chavez's advice, “Be careful who you pretend to be,” is about the risks of trying to fit a certain mold, and then unintentionally losing oneself in the process. The flipside, he argued, is the joy that comes with finding success at the highest levels in ways that don’t sacrifice values and identity along the way.
In addition to the company-wide discussion, Chavez met with Bridgewater’s LGBTQ+ and Hispanic/Latinx affinity networks for a roundtable discussion. Attendees were able to ask additional questions, dive deeper into Chavez's perspective on specific topics such as career development, and further get to know him in a more intimate setting. Participants particularly noted the many similarities between Chavez's advice and Bridgewater’s own culture — where a critical element is the promise that the identity of every employee will be welcomed and embraced.