Lakehouse creates program to help finance professionals get back to work February 2021


Lakehouse Capital has created a new program to help people who have left the finance industry get caught up on trends to make the most of their knowledge and skills. Lakehouse senior analyst Pooja Shirangi is spearheading the initiative for Lakehouse; she says they hope it both helps people in the industry as well as encouraging diversity. She shares her thoughts about the program potential with Industry Moves.

Are there specific challenges for people returning to the finance industry?

There can be a number of challenges for people seeking to resume their career. Professionals can lose touch with their network and sense of connection with the industry after a prolonged break. Often people doubt and question the relevance of their experience, causing uncertainty over where they would fit in an organisation. On a more personal level, returning to work is a big decision: a move back to a permanent 5-days-a-week role often conflicts with a desire to maintain work-life balance. As such, the breadth of opportunities to make a measured transition are often limited, forcing candidates to make an all-in or all-out call, or accept junior or part-time roles.

Where did the idea to help people step back into work come from?

The Motley Fool, Lakehouse Capital’s parent, has a fantastic DIBS program. DIBS is an equation: (Diversity + Inclusion) x Belonging = Succeeding. While there are a number of initiatives and training associated with this at a group level, each office was encouraged to come up with organic ideas championing DIBS in a manner most relevant to its business. One of the ideas Lakehouse employees feel passionately about is our ability to deepen the diversity of applicants we wish to attract into the firm. We know from personal experience via partners, friends, and family that it can be hard to simply resume a career after a break, and hence we’ve worked together as a team to put together our Return to Work program.

What kind of people are you expecting to be interested in the program?

We expect the Return to Work role will attract a broad range of professionals who may have paused their careers for a variety of reasons, be it family leave, health reasons, redundancy, or even planned career breaks to pursue vocational or educational pursuits. During our first program, we had a large number of talented women apply who had stepped away from the broader financial services industry after a period of parental leave. In such situations, it is often difficult to find a route back into the industry which appropriately matches the experience and skills of candidates while also maintaining a work-life balance.

What feedback have you received on the initiative?

The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, which we’re happy to see. We were delighted by the sheer number, and quality, of candidates who applied to our first Return to Work program. The program has been covered by industry media and on social media where it has been shared and commented on, and also championed internally across our parent company. We feel strongly about making the Return to Work program mutually rewarding for the candidate and ourselves, and view the program as an ongoing commitment towards our DIBS efforts.

We are pleased with the positive feedback, especially from those it was designed to assist. We hope this encourages other employers to adopt similar initiatives and tap into the diverse talent pool and experience that is available.

You make it a point to say that this isn't an entry-level internship. What kind of work are you expecting people to participate in?

There are several internship and graduate programs to encourage new entrants to join the industry, which is an important initiative in itself. However, our Return to Work program was designed to encourage experienced professionals to transition into full-time work after a career break. We’re excited about bringing talented individuals into the business who have a complementary skill set and can help us learn and grow, as a result of their prior work experience. This could include experience in business management, marketing, and investing, as well as a valuable network.

Our first appointee under the program, Dr Antonella Petrella, will be working closely with Lakehouse’s investment team with a particular focus on our Small Companies Fund given her extensive background in domestic private equity. Antonella has worked closely with SMEs during her career and served as a non-executive director on a number of boards, and we think her experience and knowledge will add value across our processes and in evaluating opportunities.

View Pooja Shirangi's profile