L.J. Brock, B.S.’95

A Collaborative Focus

By Stephen Shoemaker, B.A.’02

At first blush, a global financial firm might seem an odd inclusion in a list of such companies as Facebook, Amazon, Google, and other tech titans. But for L.J. Brock, chief People officer at the hedge fund Citadel and Citadel Securities, a global market-making firm, they’re all in the same league.

L.J. Brock

It’s not because Brock, who graduated from UAlbany with a degree in business administration, joined Citadel last spring after eight years of recruiting talent at Red Hat, the open-source software giant. It’s because the firm’s commitment to transforming financial markets through cutting-edge technology and innovation has it tapping into the same pool of potential employees as those other firms.

“It’s a question of how we stack up to the best employers in the world, in any sector. Because the talent that we pursue has many options,” Brock said.

He added that his approach to human resources has always been twofold. The first element is to recruit for the success of the business.

“I always felt like the function that helps source and retain the best people has one of the biggest impacts on the business,” Brock said of his career in recruitment. “If you do a great job at that, your business is probably going to be successful.”

The second component is to create an environment that allows employees to succeed, grow and innovate. Citadel’s commitment to fostering this culture of meritocracy was one of the key aspects that appealed to Brock when he considered joining the firm.

When he looks back at his time at the University at Albany, Brock recalls that his coursework emphasized collaboration, and he observed that friends at other colleges seemed to be missing that component in their own educational experiences. As someone who started as a commuter student, he said that the collaborative focus helped him meet people, make friends and work well in a team setting.

“It taught me to really collaborate and work well with different people and different styles, and to understand what other team members’ strengths were, and what mine were,” said Brock. “That’s played out really well for me throughout my career.”