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Advice / Career Paths / Career Stories

How a Management Training Program Set This Leader Up for Success

Honey L., U.K. Client Operation Specialist Team Lead at Fisher Investments.
Honey L., U.K. Client Operation Specialist Team Lead at Fisher Investments.
| Courtesy of Fisher Investments

Having access to development opportunities at work is crucial for career progression—and companies that don’t offer these are more likely to have employees leave their jobs according to a recent survey conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management. As an employer, Fisher Investments understands this well—which is why it offers the training and advancement people need to build lifelong careers. In this three-part article series, we spoke to employees about their growth at Fisher and how the company helped them get to where they are today. Below, you can read part three of the series, and click here for parts one and two.

Honey L. was always good with numbers, so a career in finance was a no-brainer for her. Another easy choice for the econ major was going to work for Fisher Investments after graduating college.

“A lot of people around my age were joining the firm, and it seemed like a really great place to begin a career in finance,” she recalls. 

Ten years later, she is still at Fisher—and the firm’s approach to career development is what has kept her there. More specifically, Honey has benefited from the way Fisher trains the next generation of leaders. Thanks to the culture of mentorship and programs like “Look Before You Leap,” she discovered her passion for management and recently started a new role—her sixth so far at the company—as the U.K. Client Operation Specialist Team Leader. 

“What ultimately convinced me that a path in management was right for me was the emphasis the firm puts on developing people, above and beyond the business results they deliver,” she says.

Here, Honey talks about her non-linear path to leadership at Fisher, the firm’s “Look Before You Leap” program, and the underrated skill that’s been a game changer in her career.

Describe your career trajectory at the firm.

I started as a Client Service Associate in the U.S. Private Client Group before joining the institutional side of the business on the Request for Proposal team. My role was to provide information or answer inquiries from institutional prospects, so it was a great opportunity to learn about different segments of the business.

From there, I joined our Data and Analytics Group working with Investment Counselors. I had the opportunity to mentor our part-time associates, which helped me develop my management skills. Soon after, our headcount of part-time associates expanded and I was selected to manage that group.

How did that first experience as a manager help get you to where you are today?

In that role, I set up a new training program for the associates and provided them a lot of support. I really love that stage in people’s careers where they’re just getting started and need to build up foundational skills to help them succeed. When I was ready for a new challenge, I knew I wanted to continue working with employees earlier in their tenure. Luckily, my current role as U.K. Client Operation Specialist Team Leader opened up and it was exactly what I was looking for.

Has the ability to transition between groups and try new things kept you at Fisher?

Absolutely. I’m a person who loves to learn so I enjoy experiencing new challenges that keep me engaged. The ability to have multiple career shifts, based on my performance and internal job opportunities, in the span of a few years has been a great benefit of staying at Fisher.

What’s great about Fisher is that career development is integrated into the company’s values. If someone wants to build depth and become a subject-matter expert in one area, the company supports that. And for those like me, who want to try different things, the firm recognizes that skills are transferable so they provide you with the resources and support to navigate into your next role.

Tell us about your experience participating in the “Look Before You Leap” program. What did it teach you about becoming a manager?

“Look Before You Leap” is a three-part class for anyone interested in a potential career in management. For me, it was very enlightening because we got to hear from many long-tenured managers about their own experiences in management at Fisher. We also spent time role playing situations that a manager would face in their job.

For example, we went through a few scenarios about giving tough feedback. We had to role-play as both the manager and the employee, and the session not only gave us perspective but also provided us a space to practice what we would say.

In addition to management training, what are some other ways Fisher has supported your leadership growth?

There’s a strong culture of mentorship here. Managers have regular one-on-one meetings with their employees to talk through not just what problems they’re facing day-to-day, but also what their long-term career goals are. I have that space to build a rapport with my direct manager to say, “This is where I want to be in a few years. What can I do now or what do I need to work on to get there?” They’ve also helped me discover new directions for my career, whether it’s suggesting I consider a different area of the business or a growing team I might be a fit for.

In addition, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to become a manager by observing them, taking in their feedback, and working together on projects. They always have something insightful to say, so I feel like I always had a good support system of mentors and other managers to lean on.

What do you like most about being a team leader, and what has been the most challenging part of the role?

What I like to do the most is problem solving and working with people to find solutions. I like that my role is fast paced, high impact, and has a meaningful effect on our clients in the U.K. I love a good puzzle to solve, but it’s also challenging because there could be 10 urgent cases happening at the same time. I have to figure out how to prioritize my time effectively.

What’s the most important skill you’ve developed since joining Fisher that has helped you as a team leader?

A skill I’ve gained over my years working here is knowing how to manage complexity. I think it’s an underrated skill and it took me a long time to grasp. It’s especially true for people in my position, where we’re often working with new teams, groups, or processes. It’s about being able to troubleshoot and think about what the problem is and what solutions or resources we could apply.