Stacie, Investor Director, Fidelity International (10 year career break)
Having left equity sales in Tokyo in order to start a family and move to HK, I was thrilled by the change in focus and opportunity to participate in family life. Passionate about art I took classes part time at university in HK, and when my family relocated to Abu Dhabi, (by this time I had a newborn and a two year old), the natural step was to study for an MA In History of Art and Museum Studies. On returning to London I was happy running adult art classes part time but began to have seriously itchy feet, missed the challenge, and had a yearning to go back into professional life. I knew it was time to make a change when I felt myself living vicariously through my working friends and showing an unhealthy interest in their careers.
Really focusing on my CV was hugely beneficial. I met with a recruiter and her initial feedback was, “that needs a lot of work!” I challenged myself to figure out the root of the problem as all the salient information was written down, it was a chronological account of my career and personal history. On reflection I was clearly living in the dark ages of CV writing! I went for a complete re-write focusing on skills not roles and subsequently applied for a couple of opportunities. I was offered a new opportunity in marketing, for which I’m still grateful, as this gave me the confidence to realise going back to work was possible. This was cemented after visiting the Women Returners and Diversity Project’s ‘Returners Programme’ launch at Fidelity International. I was incredibly inspired by Anne Richards’ opening speech and was determined to apply.
Amazed to hear I’d been shortlisted by the Equities Investment Directing team, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting new colleagues at each stage of the interview process and was delighted to hear I’d been successful. Every stage of the process was extremely well organised, and this gave me increased confidence I had made the right decision to join.
Clearly the onset of COVID was a concern, I considered perhaps the programme would be significantly delayed or at worst cancelled, however, Fidelity International honoured their commitments and a virtual June start date was agreed for my cohort. It has been a whirlwind. A huge and exciting learning curve from day one, orchestrated from my dining table, I have been motivated by every challenge and feel I have been set up for success from day one. Fidelity International had clearly given great thought to placing us in growth areas, defined interesting roles with clear future progression. We are surrounded by fantastic management, supportive teams and extremely helpful colleagues in the wider organisation. Our cohort has benefitted from unrivalled access to the Senior leadership team, individually and at regular intervals through our programme, supported by ongoing training organised by Women Returners. Critically, we were also supplied with ample technology that works (critical in COVID). It was clear from the outset that Fidelity International has top down commitment wanting to making the programme a success, illustrated though the interview process, training and thoughtfulness in designing our roles.
The programme has recently ended, and everyone in my cohort has been very fortunate to secure full time employment within the firm, which is the best of all possible outcomes. I am continuing in my Investor Director role and enjoy it more every day that passes. I strongly recommend anyone seriously thinking about going back to work to just do it! My only wish is that I should have done it sooner.