Joining Kea was a bit of a leap of faith, until that point, I had only ever either worked in Accountancy & Finance or supported people with similar backgrounds to secure roles; I certainly knew very little about Investment Professionals. At the interview, there was an air of inclusivity. With other firms, I had always felt like I was being interviewed, almost as though I owed something to the interviewer; at Kea, it was a back-and-forth conversation. This led me to buy into the challenge of changing sector speciality.
Often there is a perception that headhunters are sociable and extroverted; I don’t feel like I particularly adhere to this mould. I get the most enjoyment from the deeper one-on-one interactions where you can truly evaluate the core values and drivers of the people you are working with. My edge is helping both sides to see the synergy when it is often not immediately apparent, although my colleagues might say it is my love of a ¼ zip jumper!
I exhibit the Drive to Improve value,but the one that speaks to me the most personally and professionally is Relationship First. I am introverted, particularly in group settings, so I thrive in and value one-on-one relationships; be that with clients, candidates, my team, my partner, or even my friends.
Consistency. Consistency of knowing who is hiring, what funds are doing to adapt their talent attraction, where candidates are interviewing, why candidates are gravitating towards certain strategies, when to be in touch, and how to support your clients’ needs. Consistency of being available for my team, and consistency in the quality of work we produce.
What fills your diary on a day-to-day basis?
I like to spend time with clients across my key sectors (Sustainability & Impact Investing, Operational Large-Cap & Mid-Market PE, and Late-Stage Growth Equity) to ensure our projects are progressing well and help Kea to be the best extension of their brand in the market. My diary is often filled with internal meetings to support more junior team members with their goals and search projects. In the gaps, you will see me finding ways to get in front of people in the market I want to know, or badgering our COO with ideas of how to improve the business.
How have your outside passions influenced your time at Kea?
As a teen, I was competing at a relatively high standard in sport, so I’ve always strived to find that mentality and meritocracy in a professional sense. In its simplest form, I take the approach of; if I turn up and crush it, I’ll progress, if I work harder than everyone else, I’ll get there quicker. As I have transitioned to a more senior position, my goal is to provide a platform of opportunities for others at Kea to exhibit that mindset as they grow and develop.
What do you enjoy most?
The Kea team shows a level of intellectual curiosity that I haven’t seen elsewhere; every day I learn something from others in my team, or from conversations with clients and candidates. The nature of the industry means that no two days are the same; you have to keep expanding your knowledge to maintain your position in the market.
My biggest professional regretNot being true to my core values for the first few years of my career. I started my career in the world of Accountancy, which is very respectable and a career path I would recommend to others. Regret is a strong word, but I can see that this decision held me back in my progression and stalled my sense of professional satisfaction.
My career at Kea has progressed quickly.
I arrived as a Consultant and within two years I had been promoted to VP, and then again to Director. Kea signposted me to all the doors I needed open to advance (after I made it clear that this was my goal), so my role was to focus on improving on all the feedback and development points I received along the journey.
The stand-out difference since joining Kea is the approach we take to training and developing the team. Kea is a team full of young and ambitious people; the other environments I had seen had displayed there was nothing you could materially do to change your path, you just had to stick out the road until you got promoted on THEIR timeframe. At Kea, if you are good enough, you are old enough.