Women of Influence

Joan (Rosenbaum) Solotar, B.S.’86

By Carol Olechowski

Joan (Rosenbaum) Solotar

As senior managing director of Blackstone, one of the foremost investment firms in the world, Joan (Rosenbaum) Solotar enjoys working in “a dynamic environment where my days are varied and I continue to acquire experience 30 years into my career.” Informally, she is also a role model who encourages young women to consider finance as a career option. “Women can be hugely successful in finance, have rewarding careers and families, and pursue other interests,” Solotar observes.

The mother of two often meets with college-age women to share her own experience. “We review résumés, and I offer tips about interviewing and skill-building. I find what a lot of students need is guidance and a little more confidence,” comments Solotar, whose article "Truths for Our Daughters" was published by the Harvard Business Review in 2013.

One challenge for professional women, Solotar says, is “balancing the parent and professional roles.” When work-related commitments precluded Solotar’s presence at home for dinner with her children, her parents, who lived nearby, stepped in. “You need a support system, whether it’s family or hired.”

The University at Albany, too, was a great support system – and “a launchpad into business” – for Solotar, who’s spent much of her career in equity research with such firms as Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette (DLJ), Crédit Suisse and Bank of America. Initially a political-science major planning a career in law, she switched to business.

“The undergraduate business program gave me an incredible base of knowledge,” Solotar recalls. “I had a fantastic experience and felt well prepared. John Levato provided guidance for all of us, and certainly for me.

“During senior year, a friend and I completed a Small Business Association project that combined academic lessons and practical experience. We worked with a sole proprietor in downtown Albany on better inventory management,” notes Solotar, an M.B.A. graduate of New York University’s Stern School of Business.

Solotar, the first in her family to graduate from college, feels it’s important for her to “provide some guidance and support” to UAlbany students. “I’ve met some incredibly bright students who would benefit from a little outside guidance, so I would encourage my alumni peers to pay it forward, take the time to come back to campus and help students along the way,” says the Queens, N.Y., native, who established the Solotar Family Scholarship with former husband Gavin Solotar, B.S.’86.