What do you do at Coronation and what experience led you to this role?
I am a Client Services Fund Manager in the institutional business team at Coronation. My role is to build and maintain institutional client relationships for Coronation. This entails ensuring that our clients understand our business, what we do and how our portfolios are positioned and performing.
My academic background is in finance, but I believe it is my past work experience that has drawn me closer to this role. I previously spent 10 years in corporate and investment banking – mostly in a variety of client-facing roles. Due to the wide scope of investment banking, I was exposed to a broad universe of asset classes during my days in derivative solutions structuring, while learning critical relationship-building skills.
Grit and inspiration
What drove you to succeed?
My drive has always been grounded in a deep desire for learning and understanding. I am excited to learn new skills and to be able to contribute meaningfully to a successful team. Being eager to roll up my sleeves and immerse myself in seemingly difficult tasks has led me to increase my learnings and gain a deeper understanding of my work. My approach has always been to learn by doing.
Shoulders of giants
Who was a major influence for you growing up?
I have been blessed to be surrounded by generational matriarchs in my family. The women in my family, from my maternal grandmother all the way through to my sisters and nieces, have led with grace and strength in their professions as well as in their personal lives. It is this combination of strength and grace that has taught me that leadership and influence do not have to be a battle zone. Having empathy and vulnerability can build an enduring position of strength.
Who have been your career mentors?
I have had a number of mentors throughout my career, from industry initiatives (like participating in the ABSIP Women in Focus programme) to internal, company-sponsored mentorship programmes and unofficial informal guidance from female colleagues, which I consider invaluable ‘mentorships’.
Never overlook the organic, informal mentorships you receive at your workplace – natural guidance, promotion and challenge can add immense value to your career, and often in a less staid fashion. That said, structured and formalised mentorship partnerships can help you achieve ambitious goals.
We are a team-based meritocracy – what does this mean to you? And how does it impact your work experience?
I am proud to be part of a high-performing team of exceptional industry talent. Coronation’s flat management structure enables teams to perform at their best, contribute meaningfully and engage openly with one another. With titles and positions not being emphasised, the door is open to robust debate and challenge in seeking the best outcomes for our clients.
Working as part of a team is hugely important to me personally. I believe that the energy of the team is greater than the sum of its parts. But, equally, individual responsibility and ownership of work within the team are as important. This lays the foundation for learning and growth and represents true meritocracy to me.
What do you think needs to change in the mindset of working women?
Two things come to mind – (1) the misconception that we need to have amassed all the detailed information we possibly can and have processed all of it sufficiently before offering up an opinion or making a decision; and (2) that working women are up against one another.
With respect to the first, we don’t always need all the i’s dotted and t’s crossed to make an informed decision. Waiting to complete detailed analysis before decision-making can often lead to missed opportunities or be grossly inappropriate in the situation. Sometimes, yes, it may be necessary to hold off on making decisions until the necessary information is in front of you, but I believe that women are especially prone to ‘analysis paralysis’ in their pursuit of faultless decision-making. This approach can be counterproductive, and we should strive to employ our judgement more often (when appropriate).
On the latter, I believe women should continue on their united journey in lifting up one another professionally, creating female circles of influence, and encouraging juniors and newcomers to join in.
What advice would you give women entering the workplace now?
My advice to young women entering the workplace is to maintain an enquiring mind and seek understanding by doing. Try to contribute meaningfully to your team through considered action. Do not feel discouraged if your first tasks are basic or menial – everyone starts there! Maintain your focus on consistently delivering those tasks to the best of your ability, while building a contextual understanding of how those tasks fit within your realm of work. Show interest in areas you wish to learn more about and offer to assist on projects as part of your learning and development plan.