Q&A with Louise Bradshaw January 2018

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Louise Bradshaw, a globe-trotter since her high-school days, is currently working across four continents in her Australian-based role working with clients and asset consultants for global investment manager Eaton Vance. She tells Industry Moves what drew her to the firm, and names her highlights so far and goals for the year ahead. She also reflects on the advice she would give her younger self and the people who have influenced her most, and shares her passion for ethical investing and where that might one day lead.

What initially attracted you to Eaton Vance?

I knew the Eaton Vance name from working in the US previously. They are a long standing and highly regarded investment management firm with some capabilities I had not worked with previously. They've also got some interesting, new and differentiated affiliate organisations. Plus, they were looking to expand globally – it was a great opportunity!

What are some of your key goals for 2018 for Eaton Vance?

Apart from continuing to service and partner with our existing valued clients, a big goal for myself this year is to bring focus in the Australian market to our ESG manager, Calvert Research and Management, and looking to work with our clients and organisations to introduce and highlight our approach to ESG investing. In addition, I aim to continue to broaden my relationships, both within the firm and externally, particularly with the consultant community, on behalf of Eaton Vance and its affiliate investment managers.

"It makes a tremendous difference to feel known and valued!"

What has been a highlight for you since you first joined the firm in 2013?

My career highlight will always be working for and with clients who make the days interesting and rewarding. I feel proud to work in this industry and can see the positive impact it creates.

I can also say that the highlight for me since joining the firm in 2013 is the people. Whilst Eaton Vance is a big firm, our management works hard to keep it feeling like a family; during our organisation’s annual ‘town hall’ meeting we showcase photos of colleagues’ weddings and babies born during the year, our CEO always takes time to find you in the crowd and say hello and catch up. It makes a tremendous difference to feel known and valued!

With offices spanning across four continents, how do you maintain an effective sense of ‘community’ with your global colleagues?

We have weekly telephone hook ups, we all know each other rather well already and have frequent e-mail exchanges as well as catching up with our Singapore-based colleagues during our overlapping working day. Plus, we hold an in-person offsite each year which renews face-to-face relationships. Our overseas colleagues always make themselves available outside office hours which helps enormously to keep up to date on any issues or work we may have in progress. The key is to proactively keep the lines of communication open.

Previously you’ve worked in the UK and the USA. What did you learn from this experience and what was it like immersing yourself in a new culture?

I have always been a traveller, starting in high school. Moving overseas to work, my focus was always to try to integrate myself into the local lifestyle by establishing some local friendships outside of work, joining clubs as well as linking into the expat community. As an Australian, I feel it is easier to integrate with the UK culture with our common heritage, customs, outward looking perspective and quirky sense of humour. The US can be a little more challenging but fun in different ways. Living in the Northern Hemisphere, it was also fun to celebrate my birthday mid-Summer instead of mid-Winter.

Do you have an industry mentor, or someone who has influenced your life/career in some way?

I have had many wonderful colleagues and associates over the years that have provided advice and guidance and have just been great supporters. When I first moved to London a lovely gentleman (Norman Malcolm from Wellington) took me under his wing at the first conference I was attending. Noticing that I was a little hesitant, he introduced me around to all my counterparts – he didn’t have to do that but it was most appreciated.

Jim McCaughan (former CEO at Oppenheimer Capital) was a great support and mentor to me during my first years in Asset Management and my time in New York City. And of course, a great mentor and sounding board was Mavis Robertson. As a fellow woman in the superannuation industry, she gave me a lot of advice, guidance and viewpoints over the years and is greatly missed.

What advice would you give your 21-year-old self?

Be more open to where things and experiences may lead you and take some risks!

How do you maintain a work/life balance?

Work/life balance – what’s that? I work 4 days a week, have an 8 year old who is very busy at school and with sport. My husband is a Portfolio Manager and participates in Ironman triathlons, plus I am a fitness nut and have an 87 year old mother. Honestly, I just try to eat properly and sleep and somehow stay in touch with friends! My husband is always happy to do his bit too, which is an enormous help both logistically and as a role model for our daughter. He’s great with school drop offs and food preparation, especially on weekends when I am all cooked out!

Where did you grow up and what was it like?

I grew up just outside of Camden, south west of Sydney. It was a country town back then (pop. 11,000), but is now the growth belt of Sydney. Places where I used to ride a horse or bike down country lanes are now filled with townhouses and roads. It was a great place to grow up. During weekends and holidays I disappeared after breakfast and only came home to be fed.

If you weren’t working in finance, what would you be doing?

My interest in ESG was sparked years ago with client questionnaires but it’s grown into a personal interest. I am currently studying a PRI course on Responsible Investing and Financial Analysis. Whilst renovating our house a few years ago, I was introduced to the concept of “Building Biology” which is a more environmental and a low toxic/emissions form of building – I have now taken that interest a step further in looking to study this discipline part time. Maybe something to keep me busy down the track in retirement?

What’s something that most people wouldn’t know about you?

I speak Swedish, thanks to a student exchange programme when I was 16 years old. I remain in touch with all my host families and have visited Sweden a number of times, most recently to introduce my own family 3 years ago.

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