Global Financial Inclusion Is This Alum’s Mission

Daphne Vanessa Pierre

M.A. Government & Politics, Rome

Daphné Pierre ‘09C, ‘11G has built a career focused on global financial inclusion. Currently a Vice President of Consumer Fairness at Citigroup, Ms. Pierre completed a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Government and Politics on St. John’s University’s Queens campus, a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Government and Politics on the Rome campus, a certificate in International Law and Diplomacy, and her J.D. at New York Law School.

Ms. Pierre’s background couples international work experience with a foundation in banking, making her a perfect fit for Citigroup; as an undergraduate at St. John’s, she interned as a summer analyst with Goldman Sachs. At Citigroup, she began in the Institutional Clients Group and moved to the Latin American division, where she had the opportunity to work closely with senior leaders and contribute to high priority initiatives, such as the anti-money laundering program.

In her current role, she leverages government systems and regulatory responsibility to create financial inclusion for more people around the world, something that has become her life’s mission. She and her team members draft governance documents and stay abreast of changes to the law in the consumer protection and anti-discrimination spaces. She also engages with the business to respond to problems that arise, as well as new products that become available. In her position, Ms. Pierre must navigate working across different time zones and manage global timelines, something she became comfortable doing as a Vincentian Institute for Social Action (VISA) graduate assistant in Rome coordinating and managing St. John’s global service program.

“The M.A. in Government and Politics on the Rome campus strengthened my professional network and prepared me for a global career through coursework and events.”

Ms. Pierre – who was raised in different countries – chose to complete her graduate studies on the St. John’s Rome campus because of her love for Italy and her interest in a global career. “I planned a career in international business law, and my heart has always been in Italy,” she said. “So, it was serendipity that my alma mater was offering a master’s degree focused on International Law and Diplomacy in Rome.”

Ms. Pierre found that her global experience, knowledge of the banking industry, skills, and initiative helped her return to banking and finance. During her interview with Citigroup, the company was impressed that she was able to quote their annual report and stock prices. “Educating yourself about the industry you want to go into is sometimes more valuable than credentials,” she said.

After finishing her M.A. at St. John’s, Ms. Pierre started many online businesses, including a social enterprise called STARTNOO dedicated to increasing volunteerism and alleviating student loan debt. STARTNOO helps students pay for school through community service. “St. John’s prepared me for this business by providing a community of like-minded, service-oriented people; allowing for me to manage the service program in Rome, Italy; and encouraging volunteerism through its Vincentian Mission,” said Ms. Pierre. “I will never forget St. John’s administrators helping to coordinate a supply drive after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, where we were able to send over 10,000 supplies within weeks of the devastation. This story, and many others, are proof that St. John’s is a mission-driven institution focused on the greater good.”

Ms. Pierre is currently based in New York. She encourages current students to “always think about the next step when planning and working towards your life purpose.”