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Former Hugh D T Williamson scholar Jacki Ellis tells how the award had a fundamental impact on her career

by Lewis Panther | 12 Mar 2020
Former Hugh D T Williamson scholar Jacki Ellis has told InFinance how the award had a fundamental impact on her career.

Get ahead as a young finance professional
 
Jacki - who won the scholarship, now part of the Young Financial Professional of the Year Awards, back in 2014 - used the bursary to enhance her leadership skills on a course in France.

The former Mercer Investment Consultant, who is now at First Super State where she is the Portfolio Manager of Retirement Strategy, recalled how valuable the award was to her career and how the subject of the project she submitted as part of the process is something she is still passionate about.
 
“I went over to INSEAD in Fontainebleau, in France, and did some leadership training with them,” she said.
 
“The program was geared towards helping people with that part of their career when they're emerging into leadership positions and becoming more aware of the skills you need to succeed in management and leadership positions - being a bit more strategic in your outlook.”
 
“Having the ability to take a small amount of time out and dedicate a couple of weeks to self-reflection was so important, it really helped me to better understand my drivers and strengths and how I can apply those.”
 
Jacki said that applying for the scholarship and attending the course also gave her time to reflect on what she was passionate about and what she wanted to achieve in her career. It made a huge difference in the way she focused on the next career steps, she added.
 
“All in all I found it really valuable. The leadership training that I did was really foundational and helped get me to where I am today.”
 
“I am so fortunate to have one of the few roles in the industry that allows me to really focus on retirement strategy. It comes with the ability to make a big difference to the retirement outcomes of our members, which is I find hugely motivating.”
 
Jacki, who is a Chartered Financial Analyst, said her workplace passion to enhance people’s retirement was driven in part by seeing people close to her retire around the time of the GFC.
 
“I remain passionate about doing more to support retirees and developing investment strategies and product solutions that are more tailored to the needs of retirees.
 
“It is a huge challenge for the industry.” 

Compared to the accumulation phase, she says, in retirement “there isn’t a single default strategy that's going to be roughly right for everyone.” 
 
“The reality is that retirement is a much more challenging and complex problem to solve, and also depends heavily on an individual’s personal circumstances and goals.”
 
“With interest rates where they are today and likely to stay low for a prolonged period, that challenge is only getting harder.
 
“Retirement can also be an emotional and daunting time. A lot of well being can be enhanced through a improved financial security. 
 
“Research has shown how much more comfortable retirees are when they have that sort of certainty.” 
 
Talking about the YFP Awards which FINSIA has relaunched after a two-year hiatus, Jacki said: “It's really important for the industry to work hard to regain trust and ensure we are meeting community expectations. 
 
“Financial wealth is such a fundamental part of every Australian's lives and well-being.
 
“And having faith and trust in the system that's there to provide for their retirement I think that's extremely important.” 
 
“Being able to celebrate areas or examples where people are both acting with integrity and striving to improve the lives of others, I think that can only ever be a positive in society.”

Find out more about the FINSIA Young Finance Professional of the year awards.



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