During the first annual William Smith @ Work conference, Hobart and William Smith Colleges presented Managing Director at Citi Private Bank Mehrnaz “Naz” Vahid-Ahdieh ’85, P’17 with the Board of Trustees Career Services Award.
“Making an impact” was one of the most valuable lessons Vahid-Ahdieh took from her education at HWS, she said during her keynote address at the conference luncheon. “When you see something that’s wrong—what are you going to do to change it? I saw our business wasn’t doing a good job mentoring young talent so I made a decision and got the ok from the head of business to create that.”
In addition to creating and developing the Citi Private Bank mentoring program, she led the company’s diversity committee for North America.
Sharing the history of her own career, facing down obstacles while exploring a range of facets within the banking world at Citi with help from mentors of her own, Vahid-Ahdieh said that “listening to other people, who look at where you’re strong and can give you a sense of what you might be good at, was really good in my life.”
The Hobart and William Smith Board of Trustees introduced the Career Services Award in 2009 to honor and celebrate alumni, alumnae, parents and friends of the Colleges whose commitment and effort through the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education have transformed the lives of HWS students.
HWS Trustee Aileen Gleason ’85, who introduced Vahid-Ahdieh, noted her commitment to the Colleges as “an exemplary advocate, resource, mentor and role model for Hobart and William Smith students…[who] has been consistently engaged in student mentoring and career development.”
Emphasizing the importance of embracing opportunities to learn about future careers, she told students, “You are your first and best advocate. Depend on yourself. It’s ok if your path is not a straight line….My first job wasn’t my last job. Not every job I loved. Know what it is that makes you happy.”
“Naz’s work with students on campus and off exemplifies the incredible, life-changing impact of mentorship and demonstrates the dedication and care of HWS graduates,” said Brandi Ferrara, director of the Salisbury Center. “We are fortunate and extremely grateful for Naz’s sustained support of our students, and are proud to honor her in this way.”
In addition to serving as the Managing Director at Citi Private Bank, Vahid-Ahdieh leads the Global Law Firm Group business, bringing more than three decades of experience to providing financial advice and services to attorney and law firm clients. In this capacity she runs a business with more than 200 employees in 14 different locations.
Previously, she served as the Global Market Manager for the U.S. east coast and London and was a senior Private Banker for more than 15 years. She created and developed the Citi Private Bank mentoring program and is the head of the diversity committee for North America.
Vahid-Ahdieh holds a master’s in international affairs from Columbia University and a B.A. in economics and sociology from William Smith College. She also holds series 24, 7 and 63 licenses.
As an alumna, Vahid-Ahdieh has been consistently engaged in student mentoring and career development. She is a regular participant in the annual New York City Finance Experience, which connects HWS students with alum leaders in the industry, and served as a judge in the 2015 Stu Lieblein ’90 Pitch Context, the Colleges’ annual student entrepreneurial competition. She hosts students for job shadowing experiences and hires them for internships and, after graduation, for full-time positions. A loyal supporter of the Colleges’ annual fund, she recently established the Naz Vahid-Ahdieh ’85 Annual Internship Fund for William Smith students.
A volunteer with the HWS Office of Admissions and the William Smith Alumnae Association, Vahid-Ahdieh recently completed a term as chair of the Honors Committee for the Alumnae Association and represented the Association as the keynote speaker at the 2017 Senior Welcome. In 2015, she received a citation from the Alumnae Association for exceptional service and dedication to her alma mater.