5 questions

5 Thing I've Learned: Jody Gunderson

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Jody Gunderson

Jody Gunderson
’86 BSB

As a managing principal and member of the investment committee for CarVal Investors, Gunderson manages investments in asset-backed securities globally, including residential mortgage-backed securities, commercial mortgage-backed securities, and collateralized loan obligations. CarVal Investors is a leading global alternative investment manager focused on distressed and credit-intensive assets and market inefficiencies. For her “5 Things I’ve Learned,” Gunderson shared the traits you need in a risk-taking environment and the type of leader she strives to be.


1. Leverage Your Personal Brand

Discover your unique way of contributing and leverage those strengths as a brand. It’s a way to carve out a space and be known for something. Since people grow and develop over time, it’s important to keep your personal brand up to date and reflective of your current capabilities and special ways of creating value. Having a strong brand will make you a go-to person.

2. Have A Growth Mindset

This is the notion that our basic abilities— how smart we are, our talents—can be developed through hard work and perseverance. In other words, our intelligence and abilities aren’t fixed at some innate level. When people have a growth mindset, they tend to enjoy learning and adopt the resilience necessary to power ahead. The ability to power ahead in this way is inspiring and critical to the success of individuals and an organization.

3. Work on Your Emotional IQ (EIQ)

I got a call from a headhunter a few years ago who said he could find all kinds of talented investment professionals with a high IQ, that was easy. What he struggled to find was talented investment professionals that also had a strong EIQ to fill leadership roles at asset management firms. Be deliberate about developing your EIQ as it can be a major competitive advantage.

When people have a growth the success of an organization. mindset, they tend to enjoy learning and adopt the resilience necessary to power ahead.

4. Be Open, Objective, and Humble

In a risk-taking environment, there are obvious penalties for being too pessimistic and too optimistic. Regardless of one’s natural inclination on the spectrum, it’s constructive for good decision making to try to appreciate the range of views and outcomes, to take them seriously, and to be objective. And it’s important to be open to being wrong. No one knows what is going to happen in the future so being humble is a good foundation.

5. Consider Servant Leadership

This type of leadership, where leaders find success in the growth of others, allows an organization to achieve results while building a strong sense of community. The key principles of a servant leader are to serve, persuade, and empower. While it may sound less powerful than transformational leadership or charismatic leadership, incorporating elements of servant leadership can have a tremendous impact on people’s careers and lives and, by extension,

This article appeared in the Spring 2020 alumni magazine

This issue of our alumni magazine focuses on our world, how we take part in it, and how we, as a community, are making it a better place.

Spring 2020 table of contents