Debra Walton Named Woman of Vision

Deb Walton_homeCongratulations to our friend and Generation W speaker Debra Walton, Chief Content Officer, Financial & Risk for Thomson Reuters, on being named Thomson Reuters Woman of Vision. This honor is part of the Anita Borg Institute’s Women of Vision initiative that emphasizes the need for women and men to see role models as an example of what’s possible and as an inspiration to excel in their own careers.

“Mentoring is one of the most important ways to pay it forward,” said Debra in her profile for the event’s site.  “During the course of my career, I’ve had numerous mentors—some of whom weren’t even aware they were fulfilling that role for me—and incredible sponsors, the people who talk about you when you’re not in the room. Mentors and sponsors have been pivotal to my success in business, and now I take my role as a mentor and sponsor to others very seriously.”

Here is an excerpt from her profile:

Growing up in a small town in rural Australia, Debra Walton could have never imagined how far she would rise as an inspiring leader. Now a veteran of the financial services industry, her first career success came when she landed a job in the bond market—without knowing a thing about the industry.

“When I was asked to go to New York City to pitch a deal, panic was my first instinct,” Debra remembers. “How could a 24-year-old ‘bush kid’ from Australia hold her own in the big city, much less pitch a deal? But my excitement about the thought of going there and of what the experience might bring was stronger than the worry, so I took the plunge. As a result, I not only secured the deal but was asked to move to New York City to run the partnership.”

At 25 she co-founded a publicly traded Australian company developing data and analytics solutions. What was the biggest challenge she had to overcome?

“My own lack of confidence that I could do these things. I was clearly stretching myself, stepping out of my comfort zone and taking risks. My worry about it stemmed from the ‘imposter syndrome.’ It’s about feeling as if we aren’t capable of handling the opportunities we’re given—that our lack of skill or background will be discovered. We need to recognize, and know that it’s perfectly normal if we are really stretching ourselves.”

Continuing to step up and stretch herself, Debra eventually became the first female partner at Cantor Fitzgerald and a founding board member of the Cantor Financial Futures Exchange. Later, she founded and served as CEO of Nucleus Network.

In 2003, Debra joined Thomson Reuters, where she is now chief content officer, Financial & Risk. She oversees a global group of nearly 4,000 people, working to develop and manage the company’s information and analytics offerings. “It’s fascinating to be at a company that’s embracing technology and innovation to help our clients succeed—and where women are thriving and encouraged to play major roles,” she says.

A passionate and inspiring leader, she encourages her team to own their challenges, serving as a guide—and an inspiration—to help them meet their goals. Debra is also executive sponsor of the Thomson Reuters Women’s Network and the Leadership Program For Women, which brings diversity and inclusion training into the firm’s leadership development programs.

Click here to read the entire profile.