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Carla Harris            

Managing Director & Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley

Carla Harris is a Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley, responsible for increasing client connectivity and penetration to enhance revenue generation across the firm.

Harris sits on a number of financial and philanthropic boards, and currently chairs the National Women’s Business Council. She is actively involved in her community and heartily believes that “we are blessed so that we can be a blessing to someone else.”

Harris previously headed the company’s Emerging Manager Platform—the equity capital markets effort for the consumer and retail industries—and was responsible for Equity Private Placements. Harris has extensive industry experience in the technology, media, retail, telecommunications, transportation, industrial, and healthcare sectors.

For more than a decade, Harris was a senior member of the equity syndicate desk and executed such transactions as initial public offerings for UPS, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Ariba, Redback, the General Motors sub-IPO of Delphi Automotive, and the $3.2 billion common stock transaction for Immunex Corporation, one of the largest biotechnology common stock transaction in U.S. history. Harris was recently named to Fortune Magazine’s list of “The 50 Most Powerful Black Executives in Corporate America,” U.S. Bankers “Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance” (2009, 2010, 2011), Black Enterprise Magazine’s “Top 75 Most Powerful Women in Business“ (2010) and “Top 75 African Americans on Wall Street” (2006 – 2011), Essence Magazine’s list of “The 50 Women Who Are Shaping the World,” Ebony’s list of the “Power 100” and “15 Corporate Women at the Top,” and was named “Woman of the Year” by the Harvard Black Men’s Forum in 2004 and by the Yale Black Men’s Forum in 2011.

Harris began her career with Morgan Stanley in the Mergers & Acquisitions department in 1987. Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Harris received an MBA from Harvard Business School, Second Year Honors, and an AB in economics from Harvard University, Magna Cum Laude. Harris has also received Honorary Doctorates of Laws, Humanities and Business from Marymount Manhattan College, Bloomfield College, Jacksonville University, Simmons College, the College of New Rochelle, St. Thomas Aquinas College, and Fisk University respectively.

She is the immediate past Chair of the Board of the Morgan Stanley Foundation and sits on the boards of MetLife, the Food Bank for NYC, The Executive Leadership Council, The Toigo Foundation, Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO), A Better Chance, Inc, Mt. Sinai and St. Vincent’s Hospitals, Xavier University, and is an active member of the St. Charles Gospelites of the St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church and the Mark Howell Singers. Harris is co-chair of the National Social Action Commission of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and was a member of the Board of Overseers’ Committee on University Resources, Harvard University. She has received the Bert King Award from the Harvard Business School African American Alumni Association, the 2005 Women’s Professional Achievement Award from Harvard University, the Pierre Toussaint Medallion from the Office of Black Ministry of the Archdiocese of New York, the Women of Power Award given by the National Urban League, the Women of Influence Award from The Links, Incorporated and many other awards.

In her other life, Harris is a singer and has released her third gospel CD "Unceasing Praise" (2011). Her second CD, a gospel album titled, "Joy Is Waiting," was featured on BET Nightly News while her first CD entitled, "Carla’s First Christmas," was a bestseller on in New York and in record stores. It was featured on the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather in his “American Dream” segment. She is also the author of the books, Strategize to Win, and Expect to Win.

Harris is the host of Webby Award-Winning Podcast, "Access & Opportunity with Carla Harris."

Speech Topics


Carla’s Pearls” have become the centerpiece for her many speeches and television appearances. Carla shares these valuable lessons, including:

Authenticity: The Power is You The 90-Day Rule Perception is the Co-Pilot to Reality The Mentor, The Sponsor, The Adviser: Having Them All Leverage Your Voice Balance is a Necessity: Use Your Passions to Achieve it Expect to Win: Show Up With Your Best Self Every Day


Columbia College invites Carla Harris as keynote commencement speaker
Columbia College of Columbia, South Carolina recently announced that Carla Harris, a senior executive with Morgan Stanley and the chair of the National Women’s Business Council, is scheduled as the keynote speaker for the undergraduate commencement ceremony.

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