At the IR Society 2019 Best Practice Awards I will present the award for ‘Best newcomer to IR’. This prestigious award showcases the outstanding new talent within IR. All the nominees are still in the early stages of their IR career and have been selected based on their outstanding achievements to-date, high performance and are seen as the upcoming stars in the IR world.
In this two-part interview series, I recently caught up with four of the nominees (who work in different industries) and asked them to reflect on their first 12 months in IR. We discussed the surprises they’ve come across in their new career/role, the most exciting parts of their job, what advice they’d give to anyone wanting to move into IR and finally (and most challenging) …describe IR in three words.
In this interview I spoke with:
- Jelena Bjelanovic, Head of Investor Relations, Lancashire Insurance
- Sophie Parker, Investor Relations Coordinator, Burberry
What surprises have you encountered in the role which you didn’t anticipate?
Jelena: I’ve known both the company and the management team of Lancashire for a number of years, so my first year in has been relatively straightforward. I get to work with some of the brightest people in the insurance industry and as we have a fairly flat structure, I have able to get involved in all sorts of exciting firm-wide projects, more so than I expected. It’s been much more fun than I expected!
Sophie: I had never envisaged myself within IR so to be in this role is a surprise in itself! It has been quite an experience, learning about the company and from a completely different angle than I had been used to. It’s amazing to be involved at the very centre of things and every day brings something new.
What advice would you give to others looking to move in to IR?
Jelena: In this role I think it’s important to be passionate about the company, its products and employees. And then I’d apply the principles of open communication that hopefully work in any role.
Sophie: One should keep an open mind and not be afraid to consider IR, even if you do not have a background in finance. I didn’t have a financial background but thanks to various courses held by the IR Society and the great team at Burberry who take the time to educate and guide me, I’m now hoping to make this a long-term career plan- starting with my CIR exam early next year!
Finally, what three words would you use to describe your first year in IR?
Jelena: Dynamic. Collaborative. Fun
Sophie: Exciting. Educational. Inspirational