What’s Your Wish with Pam Attinger of Russell Reynolds Associates

In our interview series What’s Your Wish, we bring you kick-ass career and life insights from inspiring business leaders. Find out how they landed where they are today. What makes them tick. How they have overcome obstacles. Advice they would offer to recent graduates. And always, what is their wish for young professionals.

Meet Pam Attinger, Managing Director and Head of Global Fintech and Global Digital Practice at Russell Reynolds Associates.

Pam Attinger

What’s the highlight of your career so far?

Working on a daily basis with amazing team members, clients, candidates for a company that is changing the face of global leadership.

Is there anything you wish people knew about your company or your role?

Companies of all shapes/sizes – from Fortune 50 to private equity and venture capital backed – place a tremendous amount of trust in our ability to identify, assess, and recruit diverse, transformational leaders into their organizations.  From Board Members to CEOs to C-suite executives.

What surprised you most about your current role?

It’s both a privilege and an enormous responsibility to ‘get it right’ for both the candidate and the company. And no two executive searches are the same, even for the same role within the same industry at similar companies—understanding the business context (where is the company in its journey? current opportunities/challenges? competitive landscape?) and company culture are paramount to fit and ultimately success.

How do you increase motivation when you are just not feeling it?

I remember a mentor once told me that there’s only one way to build trust: Do what you say you’re going to do.  I will often remember that when it’s late in the evening, I’m fading, and I have promised someone, something.  Helps me deliver.

What have you found helps you in terms of organization or productivity?

 Exercise—starting the day with 30 minutes on the treadmill at 5:15am clears my mind and gets me going.

And, daily stand-ups (in all transparency, they’re usually sit downs..!) with the team bring focus to priorities, potential issues.

What obstacles or stumbles have you faced in your career and what have you learned?

We all make mistakes. Honesty, humility, partnership, human-ness, resilience will get you through most anything.

How do you turn off when you leave the office?

Family dinner – every night – when I’m in town.  And homework review – trying to remember middle school math is a great and humbling way to unplug.  Oh, and c’mon, reality TV with a glass of wine….that works too.

 Do you have any recs for free time? (apps, books, podcasts, movies, music)

Do what you love and brings you energy – for me, that’s coaching competitive baseball.  Find it, make time for it.Pam Attinger

Best advice you have been given?

Care.  Care about your work, your team, your end result.  When you do – all the rest lines up.

What should a recent grad be looking for in a new career opportunity?

Fit, Growth, Impact, Mentorship.  Find a career that fits your interests in environment where you can learn/grow/thrive and drive impact.  Seek out mentors who can develop you. Share your goals and tell them where you want to be in one year, five years, 10 years.  Communicate your goals, and you’ll be amazed how people will invest to help you achieve them.

What’s your wish for young professionals?

Remember to focus not only on the end but also the means.  I have been doing executive recruiting for a decade now, and the most successful and happiest leaders focus not just on the what but the how.  With this, they engender followership which drives their career and a strong community around them.


Thanks so much to Pam Attinger for sharing her career advice with the Blacklight. Now, don’t miss our previous What’s Your Wish interviews! Meet Susan B. West, owner of mobile mindfulness studio M2 Well-Being. Read Money, Meaning, and the MBA, with UCLA Anderson Marketing Professor Dr Cassie Mogilner Holmes, and get to know Suzanne Ginestro, Chief Marketing Officer at Quest Nutrition.