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40 Under 40 - Class of 2018
Business Observer Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 2 years ago

Elizabeth 'Libby' McHugh, 39

Senior vice president, director of client services, Wasmer, Schroeder & Co.
by: Beth Luberecki Contributor

Libby McHugh can thank her grandfather for her favorite inspirational acronym: D.W.Y.S.Y.W.D. “He drilled it into all of his children and grandchildren,” she says. “We have it on mugs and T-shirts and hats.”

It stands for “do what you say you will do,” and McHugh has lived by that motto. “If anything, I would rather underpromise and overdeliver,” she says. “People can enjoy your personality and can make exceptions if something happens because they like you as a person. But if you’re telling them you’re going to do something, do it. If you don’t, it speaks to your integrity as a person.”

McHugh started at Wasmer, Schroeder & Co. as a portfolio administrator in 2004 and climbed the ladder to her role as director of client services. In that position she oversees the firm’s client service managers and account administrators. She takes seriously the fact that she’s helping shape the company’s future leaders — and pushed for the managerial training she needed to effectively do that.

“It’s learning how to be somewhat of a coach, so you can develop your team,” she says. ‘You need to let them talk and help lead them to things and ask questions, so that they understand that thought process. And it’s absolutely amazing once you have that trusting relationship and they know you have their best interests at heart. The ideas that they bring forth are just incredible.”

McHugh has learned from missteps along the way. Like thinking she had to be stone-faced to succeed as a woman in her field. “I’m also very tall, so being tall and serious can be intimidating to people,” she says. “Hearing one of my mentors here say a few years ago that he didn’t mind being vulnerable in front of other people, I took that to heart. I can show people I’m human and I make mistakes. I know that I can still be successful without having to be serious all the time.”


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