A career in financial services doesn't mean you’ll never work anywhere else. Penny Pryor talks to three professionals whose skill sets learnt in the industry have made them perfect for roles as diverse as board directorships and art gallery executives.
Michael Baldwin (pictured), much-loved former chief executive of the Fund Executives Association Ltd (FEAL) believes that while he has moved across the arts and financial services industries his entire career, it is the same skills that have served him well in all roles.
“It’s the ability to understand and value partnerships and nurture and develop those partnerships,” he says.
His skill set is transferable and hasn't limited him to just one industry.
Baldwin left FEAL late last year to become assistant director, development, marketing and commercial operations at the National Gallery of Australia.
“There’s a lot more scrutiny in the current role than in the previous role." Michael Baldwin, National Gallery of Australia, former CEO of FEAL
“More than anything when it comes to developing partnerships or seeking funding … you need to be able to argue a case really succinctly… in both qualitative and quantitative terms as well,” he says.
Before he joined FEAL, Baldwin held senior sponsorship roles at the Powerhouse Museum and was also involved in managing the Lyric Theatre at Star City early on in his career.
“You need to be able to take people on a journey,” he says of what he essentially needed to do in all his roles.
So he uses the same skills in his current job at NGA that he did at FEAL when he was doing things like establishing the partnership with Melbourne Business School for the Executive Education Masters Program.
“It’s seeing opportunity and helping to nourish and nurture that.”
There are some things about financial services that he misses of course, like maybe the money, but some of those things are also small organisation versus large organisation issues. The NGA has a lot more bureaucracy than FEAL ever did, but he also enjoys collaborating with a big team in his new job.
Baldwin also walked into the scandal surrounding antiquities purchased by the NGA from disgraced dealer Subhash Kapoor.
“There’s a lot more scrutiny in the current role than in the previous role,” he says.
“There have been a number of major media issues I’ve had to manage in this role that I didn’t have to deal with in the previous role.”
But he says the skills developed during his 12 years at FEAL also helped him face these kinds of challenges.
“...I’ve been living testimony to what I tell kids coming out of Uni - you cant afford to pigeonhole yourself too early." Rob Goodlad, former MD of SSgA
Former State Street Global Advisors Australia senior managing director, Rob Goodlad (pictured), also left financial services last year, following an organisational restructure by SSgA.
“I’ve had to do a number of things which meant that a break from work for a while was actually quite welcome,” he says.
He is now just starting to look for new opportunities. He expects that any new role will be in financial services, but may not be limited to funds management.
“Having been in the financial markets for 10 years I guess I’ve been living testimony to what I tell kids coming out of Uni - you cant afford to pigeonhole yourself too early,” he explains.
“You've really got to be prepared to throw the net out and have a preparedness to look at different roles within financial services.”
Although he is not looking for directorship roles just yet, he believes that the skills he has acquired across a long career in financial services will put him in good stead for board roles on a variety of companies.
“As we get a wider skill set I think it’s inevitable that some of us will move into directorships.
“I think the skill sets that have been learnt within the financial markets will be required by organisations that don’t necessarily sit within the financial service space.”
Alan Beasley (pictured), former managing director of BNP Paribas Investment Partners Australia, has done exactly that. He how holds a number of non executive director, and consulting, positions in industries including oil and gas, iron ore, IT, life sciences, and financial services.
When he left management in financial services over a decade ago, it was partly because he was disenchanted with the industry for a variety of reasons. (He’ll explain why in the first of the Industry Moves 'Where are they Now?' Q&As to be published next week.)*
All three of these professionals have learnt valuable skills during their financial industry careers, which they’ve discovered can be carried across a variety of sectors. And interestingly none of them rule out returning to the industry at some point in the future, so it can’t be all that bad.
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