Morgan Stanley’s Alice Vilma Keeps Moving Forward, Because There Really Is No Other Choice

Featuring a broad cross-section of women who have distinguished themselves across a rich variety of careers, our Portraits of Power series is a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Black Enterprise, and of Black women. It’s a place for today’s businesswomen to share their own favorite images and their own stories, in their own words. Today’s portrait is Morgan Stanley Managing Director Alice Vilma.

Alice Vilma

Managing Director, Morgan Stanley

Nickname­­­­­­­­: people called me “Al” in high school

My first job was as a sales associate at The Limited Too, a children’s clothing store.

My big break came when I won a fellowship that brought me to Morgan Stanley as a summer analyst.

I’ve had to work hardest at maintaining the right balance.

I never imagined I would have the career that I now have—I thought I’d be an attorney!

I wish I’d learned sooner to be kinder to myself.

The risk I regret not taking is … I really try hard to have no regrets.

If I could design my fantasy self-care day, it would be spent at a retreat with yoga, pilates, hot stone massages, and unlimited green tea.

Wondering about the legacy that we are leaving to future generations and if we are proud of what they will be facing socially and economically, and if I have done all I can do to positively contribute to the legacy that I would like to leave keeps me up at night.

When I’m struggling, I say to myself, this too shall pass and I will have learned lessons and gained insights that will be invaluable moving forward.  And I HAVE to keep moving forward, there really is no other choice.

I am unapologetically making my own way in the world collecting experiences that I can share with others and look back on with a proud smile. I am also a strong, proud daughter of the African diaspora.

Portraits of Power is a yearlong series of candid insights from exceptional women leaders. It is brought to you by ADP.