Fund manager Bailey Dunn may not seem like the kind of professional in need of a FINSIA mentor.
With a varied career that has seen the qualified Master Chef turn her skills to financial services at Goldman Sachs and fund managers in Sydney, with experience in investment banking as well as working for the US State Department after picking up three degrees.
Bailey has even mentored on many occasions herself during several decades in business and continues to do so.
But the ethical entrepreneur describes the program she has just finished as “vital” in helping her map out a journey for her ESG-focused Maia Fund.
Bailey, whose career started after qualifying as a Master Chef from Boston University said: “The mentor program was obviously important to help me understand the granular details of funds management industry in Australia.
“It was vital to really understand the compliance, the regulations, the framework and obviously the jurisdictional precedence, trustee and treasury components associated with the funds industry here.
“I couldn't have been matched with someone who was more giving in his information and time than Nicholas Boyd-Mathews of Eden Partners in Perth.
“He was able to explain to me the granular sense of what's entailed and what I need to do to step up into the heady componentry of the standards required. I was able to learn in finer detail what the industry does, how it does it and the skills required for effective excellence in operations within a fund style. The mentor program gave me the time to absorb each touch point of information vital to a seasoned professional.
“Nicholas showed me the big picture and the ‘how, why and when’ actions pertinent to inevitable success. Within his experience in consistently beating benchmarks, his knowledge was gratefully accepted as my foundational basis. As I prepare for my passionate focus of ESG for the Maia Fund to be released in 2021, one vital piece remains. To find equally passionate professionals to support the fund in delivering value across the scope of investment, over a sustained constancy of excellence.
“It was fantastic to have his experienced input.
“I have been a mentor more times than I can count, and I truly believe all program which bridge soft skill gaps, deliver knowledge and give a more accurate picture of industries and sectors is of benefit to the individual and the industry, without doubt. I continue to this day mentoring young professional people across the world that I have met.
“However, to be a mentee for once is a bizarre juxtaposition, a great experience, nonetheless. I'm humbly grateful for the experience, so thank you to FINSIA as I'm not obviously your typical mentee.”
Although in business for many years, Bailey is a relative newcomer to FINSIA who has relished the opportunities membership has given and that are helping fine tune her project.
“I really wanted to set up a fund to not just broaden my horizons, but also my experience and to keep moving forward, so being a member has been of great advantage,” she added.
While FINSIA’s mentoring program is usually based around six sessions, Bailey and Nicholas agreed on a “goals-based” approach which saw them speak over a longer period.
“We really took the opportunity to focus on the goals rather than just being limited by six sessions,” Bailey says.
“The key to the nominated goals, became my responsibility as the mentee, in proving myself, absorbing the information offered and to follow through with the set exercises.”
A relationship with the mentor that is based on trust and honesty is vital and enhances the flexibility and benefit of the program, according to Bailey. Not least because both need to mindful of the amount of time they can spend on the project.
Bailey believes there are benefits for the mentor as well, “when given a chance to explain your profession and skillset, to delve prudently into a thoughtfully procured understanding of industry operational metrics and the components within, one become a much better communicator.
“Ultimately a mentor becomes a much better operator, by bridging the gap between generations within the industry, satisfying questions in your own mind that you don't really get to talk to professionals about when you are at key project touch points, during a working day.”
The fact that Bailey and Nicholas were able to connect with “similar values and professional moral standards, coupled with a passion for ESG” has resulted in a spill over into setting up the Maia Fund with compliance processes in full swing.