During the last coffee chat on February 19, myself and twenty-two GEM girls got to spend their time at Burgundy Asset Management. Burgundy is a global investment company that provides discrete investment management for private clients. GEM mentor Anne Maggissano organized an afternoon where GEMgirls were shown the red carpet. Roz McLean, a private client associate, gave us an amazing presentation with group discussions. Not to mention the fantastic food and free taxis for everyone there and home!
Roz started out the by telling us about her journey, and how she was hired to start working for the company. Roz didn’t have a business degree, she wasn’t even finished taking her exams in University when she got the job. Roz told us how important and effective networking is. It proved to be very effective for Roz; as she expanded her circle, her resume soon got passed on to her boss at Burgundy Asset Management, and she got hired before she even finished university.
Roz gave the GEM girls honest advice that a lot of us could relate to. Many members of Roz’s family had careers in the business field, which led to her having an interest in business too. In high school Roz was still interested in economics, but believed she would get a job at the Central Bank of Canada. Roz didn’t let her gender pose an obstacle for her, although she did admit it was difficult for her at times. In an Economics class Roz was the only girl, and felt intimidated to ask questions. It’s important to be engaged in the class, and not hold back for any reason.
We also had an interactive session, where we got into groups of 5 to talk about how to differentiate a good investment, from a fad. Certain items that can be considered fads are; Beanie Boos, Crocs, or Silly bands. Those are items that have their fifteen minutes of fame, before they disappear and are only spotted on those few odd occasions. A good investment would be a company with a wide age range of loyal customers, a product/service that provides something the customers will want or need for a long time, an affordable product that still brings in profits, and a company who can always one-up their competitors. Our GEMgirls had great insights and questions which really impressed Roz. Roz had many compliments and comments that were really valuable to the girls in the audience.
We all left with a better understanding of what a job in asset management is like, and the confidence that a woman can have a great career in finance too. Roz left us with some advice: that overall it is important to be curious and open-minded in all situations, and to never be hesitant because you’re a girl.
Tabassum Lakhi is a Creative Writing Intern at GEM and also a GEMgirl.