‘She Pivots’ With Isa Watson: On Leaving the Corporate World to Cultivate Community

The former banking executive realized that success isn’t just about professional wins but personal ones, too.

Isa Watson
(Image credit: Future)

In partnership with Marie Claire, 'She Pivots' challenges the typical definitions of success and explores the role our personal stories play in our professional journeys.

Isa Watson breaks barriers. She broke the record for one of the largest VC investments for a Black woman. She broke glass ceilings in her job on Wall Street. And she’s not done, recently writing a book, Life Beyond Likes, and launching a new company after realizing that it was time to detour away from her fast-paced Wall Street career.

Watson began working in finance after graduating with an MBA from MIT. Her career quickly skyrocketed, and she became Vice President of Strategy at JPMorgan Chase. But it came at a cost to her personal life. 

“It just became this cycle I couldn't get out of,” says Watson in the latest She Pivots episode. “I was focused on the positioning of my life….as opposed to, you know, living my life.”

But then, she got a life-changing phone call: Her parents had been in a car accident, and her dad did not survive. “Unfortunately, it took that type of tragedy for me to realize that, you know what, I think my calling is bigger than this,” says Watson. 

That’s when she decided to build her app, Squad. The platform is all about focusing on friendships and community, something Watson continues to prioritize now. “Our big kind of debut product was a platform for people to get together in person in their relative companies…but the one thing that we learned over the course of that was that people wanted the extension of the community they built at work—they wanted that in their personal lives too,” says Watson. 

To hear more from Watson, including her experiences with racism and sexism on Wall Street, tune in below.

Emily Tisch Sussman
Contributing Editor

Emily Tisch Sussman is the Founder and Host of “She Pivots,” the podcast in partnership with Marie Claire about women, their stories, and how their pivot became their success. She is a contributing editor to Maire Claire and the guest host of the Marie Claire Instagram Live series “Getting Down to Business.”