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Carla Harris

Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley
  • Energizes audiences with grace and humor as she espouses the evergreen wisdom known as “Carla’s Pearls”
  • As the first African American to join Morgan Stanley’s management committee, Carla truly embodies a no-excuses persona
  • Named to Fortune Magazine’s list of “The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America”
  • A well-established powerful voice in finance, Carla has practiced what she preaches for three decades
Topics & Types
EntrepreneurshipInspiration & MotivationLeadershipOvercoming AdversityBusiness Leaders From Major BrandsTED SpeakersAfrican American SpeakersAuthorsFemale Speakers

Carla Harris is Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley and a leading keynote speaker on motivation, success, and exceeding expectations. In her current role at Morgan Stanley, she is responsible for increasing client connectivity and penetration to enhance revenue generation across the firm. She has extensive industry experiences in the technology, media, retail, telecommunications, transportation, industrial, and healthcare sectors. The recipient of numerous awards, including being named to Fortune Magazine’s list of “The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America,” Harris was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the National Women’s Business Council in 2013. She is the author of two best-selling books, Strategize To Win and Expect To Win, and the creator of “Carla’s Pearls,” the centerpiece of her speeches and television appearances. Carla’s pearls are nuggets of wisdom hard-earned throughout her long and impressive career, which she imparts on audiences globally.

Harris has 30 years of Wall Street experience, and formerly led Morgan Stanley’s Emerging Manager Platform, the equity capital markets effort for the consumer and retail industries. For more than a decade, she was a senior member of the equity syndicate desk at Morgan Stanley. In this role, she executed enormous transactions including the initial public offerings for UPS, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Ariba, Redback, the General Motors sub-IPO of Delphi Automotive, and the $3.2 Billion common stock transaction for Immunex Corporation, one of the largest biotechnology common stock transactions in US history.

Harris has been named to Fortune’s magazine's "Most Influential List," US Bankers "Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance" in 2009, 2010, and 2011, Black Enterprise’s "Top 75 Most Powerful Women in Business" in 2017, as well as the “Top 75 African Americans on Wall Street.” She was also named to Essence Magazine’s list of “The 50 Women Who are Shaping the World,” Ebony’s list of the "Power 100" and “15 Corporate Women at the Top,” and was named “Woman of the Year” in 2004 by the Harvard Black Men’s Forum and in 2011 by the Yale Black Men’s Forum.

Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Carla received an MBA, Second Year Honors from Harvard Business School and an AB in economics from Harvard University, Magna Cum Laude. Carla has also received Honorary Doctorates of Laws, Humanities and Business from Marymount Manhattan College, Bloomfield College, Jacksonville University, Simmons College, the College of New Rochelle, St. Thomas Aquinas College, and Fisk University, respectively.

Harris is a member of the board of overseers of Harvard University and of the board of directors of the Walmart Corporation. Ms. Harris was co-chair of the National Social Action Commission of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. She is the past Chair of the Board of the Morgan Stanley Foundation and of The Executive Leadership Council, and sits on the boards of Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), A Better Chance, Inc, and St. Vincent’s Hospitals.

Harris is the recipient of numerous accolades. She was named to the New Jersey Hall of Fame (2015) and has received the Bert King Award from the Harvard Business School African American Alumni Association, the 2005 Women’s Professional Achievement Award from Harvard University, the Pierre Toussaint Medallion from the Office of Black Ministry of the Archdiocese of New York, the Women of Power Award given by the National Urban League, the Women of Influence Award from The Links, Incorporated, and many other awards.

In her other life, Carla is a singer, and has released her third gospel CD “Unceasing Praise” in 2011. Her second CD, a gospel album titled “Joy Is Waiting” was featured on BET Nightly News. Her first CD, entitled “Carla’s First Christmas,” was a bestseller on in New York and in record stores, and was featured on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather in his “American Dream” segment. She is an active member of the St. Charles Gospelites of the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church and the Mark Howell Singers, and has performed five sold out concerts at Carnegie Hall.

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