Patsy Doerr
Patsy Doerr

Patsy Doerr—Global Head of Corporate Responsibility and Inclusion for Thomson Reuters—had every intention of becoming a doctor. But when she graduated college, she wasn’t quite ready to settle into what she knew would be a long road ahead.

So, she didn’t continue pursuing medicine. Instead, she tried a few different jobs to find her direction. One of those was an analyst in the equity research department of a bank.

Doerr ended up loving this type of work so much that she chose it as her career path. This led her to JP Morgan’s training program, a six-week crash course in financial services and investment banking. This course also helps its students figure out which areas most interest them and suit their specific skill sets, and because of this program Doerr discovered she enjoyed sales training and business development.

After it ended, she held a few talent development roles—first at Deutstche Bank, then at Credit Suisse—and also earned her masters in adult education and organizational development. After a little over five years at Credit Suisse, Thomson Reuters approached her to lead their corporate social responsibility team. As part of this new role, Doerr was charged with creating and launching the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Institute.

“In the past, environmental, social, and governance teams have been considered ‘nice to have,’” explains Doerr. “They’ve been afterthoughts instead of key areas of a business’ growth. Diversity and inclusion was lumped into HR, community relations into the communications team, and so forth. But that’s all changing now, and the leadership at Thomson Reuters knew they needed to make these issues their sole priority and set up a department to do so.”

To learn more about Doerr’s career path, keep reading.

What’s Your Favorite Part About Your Current Job?

I’m a people person, so I really enjoy getting my team members’ buy-in on ideas, working together to make the ideas happen, and then getting the rest of the company excited about them.

For example, when I worked at Credit Suisse, they relocated me to Hong Kong to develop and lead the talent section there. I had to gather the leaders of all 14 countries represented in the company, put together a task force to help understand each office’s individual needs regarding hiring and employee development, and then delegate assignments to different team members. Before all this, a talent department didn’t even exist there, so we actually got to build out a department and put the key players in place. I loved it.

What’s an ESG Initiative You’re Particularly Proud Of?

The launching of the Diversity and Inclusion Index! This tool ranks companies on a number of scales—sustainability, community, responsibility, staff diversity, and more—and gives them a score. Investors now use this to determine where they want to invest their money, and it’s causing some big changes.

I’m just so inspired by ESG because it means making the world a better place by bringing more diverse voices to the table, leveling out the playing field when it comes to equal pay, investing in sustainable practices, and bringing opportunity across the globe.

What’s One Thing Anyone Can Do in Their Company to Make Sure It’s as Inclusive as Possible?

No matter what position you might be in within your company, you can make an impact simply by leading by example. Invite a colleague you might not know well to coffee or look outside your immediate circle when working on a project to bring in different points of view.

What’s Your Favorite Piece of Career Advice to Give Others?

Just say yes. It’s often much easier to talk yourself out of something than to talk yourself into it. But, in my experience, saying yes is the best way to find your passions, build meaningful relationships, and embrace your confidence.

(Full Disclosure: Thomson Reuters is a current client of The Muse.)