Member Spotlight

WHF is pleased to feature the WHF Member Spotlight. Each month we will feature a new WHF member.

Name: Dina Ellis Rochkind

Membership Contribution: I am currently Of Counsel with Paul Hastings LLP. I consider myself a government affairs and financial services influencer, having worked on almost every piece of financial services legislation over the last two decades on the Hill. About a year ago, I spoke at a WHF evening reception entitled There is More to Law Than Lawyering. At that event, I provided my perspectives and knowledge about the financial services industry and my career on the Hill, leading and supporting legislatures. I also mentored WHF members at that event.

Hobby: I am blessed with four children and a supportive husband that I have been married to for 18 years. They take up a lot of my time – including my husband! My girls dance, and all my children play tennis. I am musical, sing and love animals. I wanted to be a vet but realized that I couldn’t handle the sight of blood or having to put an animal down. I have a full life that keeps things in perspective for me. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hometown: I grew up in Pennsylvania – mostly Harrisburg. My dad was a bank examiner for 36 years. He worked with Pennsylvania Department of Banking. I inherited his love for financial services and learned a lot from him.

How long have you been a member of WHF and has the organization benefited you?
I have been a member of WHF since 1999, when I started working on the Senate Banking Committee for Senator Phil Gramm. That was around the time of the passing of Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. I have spent most of my career in government. I discovered WHF and the resources it brings to the financial services professionals in the Washington metropolitan community. I joined because I thought it was a great organization, a good way to network and keep abreast of what was going on in financial services.

What changes have you observed in WHF over the years that you have been a member and how have those changes benefited you?
The organization has grown and has diversified. There are more men involved today than in the earlier years when I joined. The issues are more global than they were back then. The organization has helped me keep up to date on current issues. As I had already mentioned, I have spent most of my career in the government. So, it is always good for me to get a sense of what the private sector is thinking about on some specific issues.

Tell us about the journey of your career in the financial services industry.
I got my start in financial services when I worked for my hometown Congressman – George Gekas (R-PA) – on bankruptcy reform legislation. I worked 15 years on Capitol Hill, including on the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Banking Committee, and for Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA). I also worked in the George W. Bush Administration at the Treasury Department, as well as an in-house lobbyist with Quicken Loans and Chrysler, where I was one of the lead lobbyists rescuing Chrysler during the 2008 crisis.

Was it unique for a female to be working in government relations in those days?
There were fewer women in high-level lobbying positions in those days. However, it was not unique to be a female lobbyist back then. What was unique was to be in a more senior position. More corporations and organizations are having women in higher level positions today. But it is still not equal by any stretch. The financial services industry is male-dominated and politics is male-dominated. It is not uncommon for me to be the only woman in the room. At the end of the day, women are expected to look good, be smarter, work harder while earning less pay.

What do you do in your role as Of Counsel at Paul Hastings?
I work with a great team in the FinTech and Payments Practice and am growing a financial services government affairs practice. I was the lead drafter of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (the JOBS Act) when I worked for Senator Toomey. The JOBS Act made it easier for companies to raise capital in the private and public markets. I am spending a lot of time on capital formation legislation, initial coin offerings, blockchain, and cryptocurrency. Since I spent a great deal of my career in consumer finance, I hope to work on those issues as well.

How relevant is your contribution to the JOBS Act pertaining to today’s emerging FinTech industries? Can you address the opportunities, risks, and challenges facing the clients you now serve in the industry and offer possible solutions/recommendations?
Almost every FinTech company that lobbied for the JOBS Act or grew out of the JOBS Act or their current business model, is based from the JOBS Act. Therefore, it is very relevant. Additionally, almost every company that goes public today uses provisions of the JOBS Act. The challenge is that the JOBS Act only scratches the surface. Our securities laws are still rooted in the 1933 and 1934 Act and haven’t kept pace with the times. The amount of activity we are seeing in the private markets and the initial coin offering and cryptocurrency space demonstrates the need to take a thorough look at whether our securities laws make sense in the internet age where lots of information is available for most investors.

Let’s revisit diversity and women in the financial services industry. I heard that the 30% Club, established in the United Kingdom in 2010—prior to being exported to the United States, Canada and other countries—campaigns for a minimum of 30% representation of women on FTSE100 boards. What is your perspective about this initiative, the quotas set by the Club and the progress made by the United States?
I believe the vision is laudable, especially since men are still dominant in the financial services industry. Nonetheless, we have to be careful about the types of obligations we place on public companies because we already have a lot of reasons why companies are not going public. We don’t want to create more reasons why companies don’t go public.

That being said, given that over half the population comprises women, it would be great to see a larger population of women on boards. And the question is, how do we get there? More women are staying in the workforce after having children. There should be more flexibility in the workforce. We need to see more women mentors helping other women in their careers. Part of the issue is that we do not have enough women helping other women, truly mentoring and grooming them. For us, as women, to realize some of the goals being set to increase women in the higher echelons of organizations, you have to have women who are willing to not just “talk the talk” but want to help women. We need to work on not just mentoring women but also teach women how to become better bosses. We should be mentoring women who work under us and helping them to move up the corporate ladder. I work full time and have three girls and a boy. I am setting an example for my girls to know that it is okay to be a mom, but one should stay in the workforce.

After the January 11, 2017, event, did you receive any interest from potential mentees and how have you responded to those who sought your guidance?
The event I spoke at on January 11 was successful. After the event, a number of women reached out to me for contacts and advice about their careers, including asking about where they should go with their careers and what should be the next steps. Mentoring should be happening in this way as well as in the work place. I have the attitude that people who work for me should be better after they work for me. Part of being a mentor is to help those working for you to move up in the organization even though sometimes there is no place for them to move. And you have to be okay with mentoring someone into another job, even if it is outside your organization.

I have observed that there is an increasing number of women present at many events around the emerging FinTech and Regtech industries. Many are technology entrepreneurs and advisors. Do you believe that these tech dominated industries will be a game changer for women to advance to the top of the corporation in financial services industry quicker and close the gender gap?
It is certainly one piece of the puzzle. Tech companies tend to be more flexible which is good for both women and men who want to have a family and a career.

How do you make the best use of your day? 
I always use the first two hours reading as much as I can and as fast as I can about financial services and politics. This is the only way you are going to learn the issues and stay well-informed.

What do you like most about what you do?
I like the diversity of the different clients that I work with and the fact that every day is different. I have a strong passion for financial services and like learning new things. I like to apply what I learn on Capitol Hill to educate others. I have a passion for Congress and the government. The financial services industry provides many great jobs.

What inspires you? 
I am inspired by the example of my father and mother. Both died in their 60s. My father had a passion for politics and banking. Both my parents loved politics and were the swing voters that you hear about in Pennsylvania. I am inspired to live out their legacy and to be a good role model for my children.

What is the best advice you have ever received? 
The best advice I have ever received is to embrace yourself and your own life. I have four children but continued to work full time. People constantly ask me “how do you do it?” or “I couldn’t do that”. It used to bother me, but I have learned to be myself rather than worrying about what other people think.

What do you look up to the most and why?
I look up to my parents and maternal grandmother. My maternal grandmother is still alive at the age of 92. She escaped the Holocaust from Germany and fought for Israeli independence. My grandparents came here with nothing and went on to live the American dream. My grandmother was a working mom and my grandfather worked his way up to SVP at Rite Aid. My grandmother still lives on her own, drives and has an active life. She is amazing.

March 2018 - Marti Tirinnanzi, President and CEO, Financial Standards, Inc.

February 2018 - Janis Smith, Board of Governors, National Housing Conference

November 2017 - Mary Pat Denney, Managing Director, Risk Initiative Vertical, The Oakleaf Group

September 2017 - Joanna Girardin Shapiro, Managing Director, Global Client Management, Bank of New York Mellon

July 2017 - Mary Martha Fortney, President, The Fortney Group

June 2017 - Kris Kully, Partner, Mayer Brown

May 2017 - Lee Ann Hoover, Financial Services Advisory and Compliance, Navigant Inc.

April 2017 - Faith Arnold Schwartz, Chairman, HLP, Principal, HFSS, LLC, Advisor to Accenture Credit Services

March 2017 - Debbie Matz, Board Member, Mutual of Omaha Bank; Advisory Board OpenDoor Trading LLP