Dean College was pleased to welcome Scott Couto, Executive Vice President, Head of North America at Columbia Threadneedle Investments, as our first Leadership in Action Series speaker for the Fall 2021 semester. As Head of North America, Couto is responsible for the oversight of institutional and intermediary distribution, product and marketing. Before joining Columbia Threadneedle Investments, Couto served as president of Fidelity Institutional Asset Management, with responsibility for the firm's U.S. intermediary and institutional business, including distribution, marketing and client relations. He previously served as head of distribution for Fidelity Institutional Asset Management and president of Fidelity Financial Advisor Solutions, and held roles as chief operating officer of the intermediary business, global head of product management and development and managing director of investment product management at Evergreen Investment Management Company, LLC. Couto earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and investments from Babson College and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation.

Couto spoke about 30 years of experience in an industry he loves, working with people who inspire him to help individuals and organizations save and invest for their most important goals. As he shared stories from each stage of his career, Couto explained that he got where he is today because he constantly wanted to learn and work hard. “I only had one superpower: curiosity,” he said.

Couto’s advice to students ranged from everyday actions, like showing your dedication by coming in early and staying late, reading everything you can and getting your finances right, to big picture values to carry throughout your career. Couto advised students to be curious and learn everything you can. He also stressed the importance of learning from what went wrong, by stepping back and asking the hard questions, and learning widely to broaden your skillset. Couto recommended that students find what you’re uniquely good at, do that thing and do it well, and choose the job and the boss that can teach you the most, not necessarily the one that can pay the most. He emphasized building your network, engaging with your teammates and learning from mentors so that you can relate to others on their terms. “Relationships matter,” he said. Finally, Couto advised everyone to find the things that matter most – to you as a person, and to your teammates and your work as a whole, as these will be the drivers of success.

Thank you for sharing your experience and wisdom with our students, Scott Couto! For more information on past and future speakers, visit Dean Leadership Institute.

Scott Couto