Influential Leaders

Subha Barry

Subha Barry

Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business

Entertainment and Media

Subha Barry traveled from India to the U.S. to pursue her graduate education. In an effort to overcome the social stigma of leaving home unmarried back in the early 1980s, she was determined to become successful. A few years after earning her MBA, she took a job as financial adviser with Merrill Lynch. Barry leveraged her unique perspective to recognize the investment needs of minority populations. The leadership at Merrill Lynch sponsored her vision to match underrepresented client groups with talent in the industry.

Barry seized the opportunity and built the multicultural and diversified business development group for Merrill Lynch, the first of its kind among the major brokerage houses. Barry wanted to connect with the demographic shifts happening in American wealth and in American society—the so-called “changing face of wealth.” This innovative approach was met with skepticism until 2001, when Barry launched the multicultural business development group with a meager budget of 500,000 USD. She delivered exceptional bottom-line results and built a global virtual team that delivered over 8 billion USD in assets and 45 million USD in revenues within three years across female, South Asian, Hispanic, African American, Native American, LGBT, and disabled populations. Barry had helped Merrill Lynch extend their reach in a meaningful way by making minority populations a business imperative, establishing it as the preeminent wealth management firm among diverse and multicultural markets.

Her pioneering spirit did not stop there. As the managing director and global head of diversity at Merrill Lynch, Subha transformed U.S.-centric diversity and inclusion efforts and aligned them with the company’s global business operations. She designed and created institutional buy-in for a global diversity and inclusion blueprint covering critical aspects such as diagnostics, marketing, engagement, accountability, metrics and recognition. She correlated philanthropy and external partnerships with revenue and business growth. She saw Merrill Lynch receive numerous diversity recognitions and awards under her leadership. Barry also implemented programs that addressed the attrition of women at senior levels.

Barry’s role as champion for diversity in the workplace continues to bloom in her current role as vice president and general manager of Working Mother Media—which publishes Working Mother magazine and its website, the Working Mother Research Institute, the National Association for Female Executives, and Diversity Best Practices.

As a six-time cancer survivor, Barry is a shining example of how an individual facing this deadly disease can continue to lead a productive life. She remains on the front lines of the fight against cancer through the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and also coaches professionals diagnosed with cancer who struggle to balance their health, life, and work. Barry is chair of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey Advisory Council, and she was honored with a Life Hero Award from the Val Skinner Foundation.

Barry remains active in serving her community through board membership at Princeton Hospital, Rutgers University, Snowden Lane Partners, Unifyle, and Jones Graduate School of Business.