Name: Anna Bruno
Title: Founder & CEO
Oranisation: Get Skills Academy / Thrive Armenia Foundation INC
Anna Bruno is a highly sought-after international speaker who inspires others to achieve their full potential through speaking engagements, motivational talks, training workshops, and media projects. Anna is renowned for speaking to audiences in fields of inspiration, personal growth and mastery, business, and wealth creation. As a transformational speaker, Anna can offer insight into the power of choice, and how those choices become a catalyst for change. This power helps guide us onto the path that we were meant to be on. Let Thuli share her powerful yet simple-to-use ideas that will leave your staff feeling transformed.
Thank you to the 2,000 leaders who’ve generously done the 7 Questions on Leadership!
I hope Anna's answers will encourage you in your leadership journey. Enjoy!
1. What have you found most challenging as a leader?
One of the most challenging aspects of leadership is balancing various interests and perspectives within a team or organization
2. How did you become a leader? Can you please briefly tell the story?
My leadership journey reflects a blend of science and finance. I entered the finance world in 1998 at Raymond James Financial Services Inc., starting as a financial advisor and progressing through roles at Solomon Smith Barney, CitiGroup, AXA Advisors LLC, and Equitable Advisors. In 2021, I founded the Thrive Armenia Foundation (TAF) and the Get Skills Academy (GSA), aiming to empower individuals globally with new skills. I'm proud of the impact these initiatives have had. Beyond finance, I mentor in the AGBU New York Summer Internship program and run the "Get Skills with Anna Bruno" YouTube channel, reaching a broad audience hungry for personal finance wisdom. As a speaker, I've engaged diverse audiences at AUA, AIWA International, Women's Enterprise Development Center, Womanity Project, Feminno, and even had the honor of speaking at TEDx YerevanSalon in 2023. My unique financial planning approach stems from my science and finance background, including coursework at the Wharton School. I also serve on various boards, contributing to community organizations. Outside work, I'm an avid tennis player, ski enthusiast, former ballroom dance instructor, and passionate traveler, exploring diverse cultures. Today, I reside in Thornwood, NY, with my husband, and our three children. My family is my pillar of strength amidst professional achievements.
3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?
I start my day early, helping my kids get ready for school. After they leave, I take 10 minutes to meditate and set a positive vibe. Next, I spend an hour working on my book and doing some journaling—just me time to get creative and reflect. At 9 AM, work kicks in with Zoom meetings lasting until 4 PM. Afterward, I jot down notes, update my to-do list, and share tasks with my team to keep things running smoothly. I take short breaks during the day to walk my dog and get some fresh air. Evenings are family time, including dinner and, if possible, a bit of exercise for a healthy balance. Before bed, I have a routine to wind down and transition into a good night's sleep. This simpler routine helps me manage both work and personal stuff.
4. What's a recent leadership lesson you've learned for the first time or been reminded of?
Recently, I learned that being able to change and stay strong is super important for a leader. Things can switch up fast, and you have to be ready to roll with it. I faced some unexpected challenges, and it made me realize how crucial it is to be flexible. Adapting to new ideas and making quick adjustments helps me and my team deal with the ups and downs. It showed me that being tough and keeping a positive outlook can make a big difference, especially when things get a bit tricky.
5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?
"Reading 'Leaders Eat Last' by Simon Sinek was a game-changer for me. The book painted a vivid picture of what it truly means to lead with empathy and put your team first. Inspired by the idea that leaders should prioritize the well-being of their team members, I decided to implement a few changes in my leadership approach. I started by fostering a more inclusive and supportive team culture. I encouraged open communication and made sure everyone felt heard and valued. Inspired by Sinek's emphasis on trust, I worked on building stronger connections within the team, fostering an environment where everyone felt comfortable expressing their ideas and concerns. The concept of 'servant leadership' from the book resonated deeply with me. I began actively seeking opportunities to support and assist my team, whether it was providing resources, offering guidance, or simply being present when they needed help. This shift in perspective not only strengthened the bond within the team but also resulted in increased motivation and productivity. As a leader, 'Leaders Eat Last' taught me that true leadership isn't about authority; it's about service. By prioritizing the needs of my team members, I witnessed a positive transformation in the overall dynamics of the group. The impact was tangible, fostering a collaborative and motivated team that thrived under a leadership style grounded in empathy and selflessness."
6. If you could only give one piece of advice to a young leader, what would you say to them?
The one piece of advice you would give to a young leader could be: "Embrace the journey of continuous learning. Leadership isn't about having all the answers; it's about being open to growth and discovery. Seek knowledge, learn from experiences, and never underestimate the power of adaptability. The more you invest in your own learning, the better equipped you'll be to lead others effectively. Stay curious, stay humble, and remember that every challenge is an opportunity to evolve and become a better leader."
7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a leader, so far?
One of the most meaningful moments in my leadership journey happened when our team faced a significant challenge. It was a time of uncertainty and stress, and everyone was feeling the pressure. Instead of resorting to a top-down approach, I decided to gather the team for an open discussion. During the meeting, I shared my own uncertainties and acknowledged the difficulties we were facing. I encouraged team members to voice their concerns and ideas freely. The atmosphere shifted from tension to collaboration as everyone opened up about their perspectives. In the midst of the discussion, a team member proposed a unique solution that none of us had considered before. It turned out to be a game-changer and significantly improved our approach to the challenge. This experience taught me the power of collective intelligence and the importance of fostering an environment where every team member feels valued. The success that followed wasn't just about overcoming the challenge; it was about realizing the strength of collaboration and the innovative solutions that emerge when everyone has a voice. This story remains a poignant reminder of the impact a united team can have in the face of adversity.