Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO J.P. Morgan Asset Management

When you see somebody doing well in his job, does that make him a shoo-in for the most powerful list? No, right? Why? Because he just did what he had to do, and many people are actually able to do that. Of course, unless he is handling a large company that’s been growing its businesses or partnerships all over the world.

Such is the case of Forbes 86th most powerful woman in Mary Callahan Erdoes, chief executive of J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

J.P. Morgan's Mary Callahan Erdoes

J.P. Morgan’s Mary Callahan Erdoes

For those who are unfamiliar, J.P. Morgan Asset Management is a division of JP Morgan Chase and an asset manager for institutions, individuals and financial intermediaries. These assets include equity, fixed income, cash liquidity, currency, real estate, infrastructure, hedge funds and private equity.

Ooh, all about money. And with $2.2 trillion, J.P. Morgan Asset Management is the sixth largest in money management operation in the United States according to data compiled by Pensions & Investments.

But wait, aren’t we supposed to talk about Mary Callahan Erdoes? Well, you are right. I just tried to give you some background of Erdoes’ responsibility to have a better grasp of her position. Pretty huge, huh?

So, how did she end up with all of these?

Education? Experience? Hey, many people possesses these as well, so? Proving that she’s really good at what she does, Erdoes back in 1996 joined J.P. Morgan Asset Management as head of fixed income for high-net-worth individuals, foundations, and endowments – and worked her way to her current post in September 2009.

Hmm… see? There’s a time when you just got to persevere in one place for a long time while showing your mettle, your contributions. Service, in one word. Just like how customers demand us of good service, employers would naturally want that quality performance too. That’s when you become a real asset.

Talent Management

Remember? It’s your people that would make or break you; and so, this has been Erdoes’ most important role and greatest strength – hiring and growing the right people.

As she said, “You worry just as much about great performance as you do about underperformance, so we spend a lot of time making sure we know why we’re getting great performance. Are we getting it for the right reasons or for lucky reasons? You never want lucky reasons.”

Just a real hard worker.

Did you know that she starts her day at around 5:30am? Well, it begins with the scanning of overnight financial news to calls with Asian and European executives to match it with their time zones before running the 8am global asset management call. And for the rest of the day, she’s been monitoring her team on five computer screens in her office on Park Avenue in New York.

Indeed, she’s really been doing her homework – now, that’s power right there.

What’s your take?