The Future 40 on professional rewards and challenges

We asked some of this year’s Future 40 about the most rewarding and challenging aspects of their roles

Future 40 panel

Eric Deyle, Managing Director and Co-Head of Private Equity at Eaton Partners

David Fox, Managing Director at Blackstone Strategic Partners

Emily Brown, Partner at Schulte Roth & Zabel

Gaël Le Clec’h, Head of Private Equity at CNP Assurances

Yup Kim, Senior Portfolio Manager, Private Equity and Special Opportunities at the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation

Michelle Tong, Partner at Sidley Austin

Fokke Lucas, Managing Director at 17Capital

What are the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your role?

Yup Kim: The opportunity to direct the flow of capital to relentless visionaries in their fields, both management teams and investors, and the privilege to play a small part in their legacy and narrative – while generating wealth for ordinary citizens in the process.

David Fox: I’ve had the opportunity to partner with a team of smart people every day and watch the market evolve – nothing can beat that. Given the covid-19 situation, we are all working from home, which brings its own challenges. The most challenging aspect of my work – whether it is from the office, or my ‘home office’ – is keeping a balance. I have many different hats at Blackstone and in my home life – juggling can get difficult sometimes, but having a supportive team and family helps.

Fokke Lucas
Fokke Lucas: ‘Seeing colleagues thrive … is very rewarding’

Fokke Lucas: Finding off-market transactions can be both challenging and rewarding. It’s difficult to find good transactions but helping fund clients’ opportunities or liquidity needs in bespoke and tailormade structures can be very rewarding. Finding and retaining talent in an organisation is always challenging. By creating an open, engaging working environment, and empowering team members we have been successful in maintaining a very low churn in the investment team. Seeing colleagues thrive with that empowerment is very rewarding.

Michelle Tong: The most rewarding aspect of my role is mentoring other members of the team. I’m incredibly grateful to the mentors and role models who have played such a huge part in my professional and personal growth. They’ve genuinely invested in my career over the years and I aspire to do the same for others.

Michelle Tong
Michelle Tong: ‘The most rewarding aspect of my role is mentoring other members of the team’

Eric Deyle: Most rewarding: partnering with passionate entrepreneurs to help grow their investment platforms. Most challenging: staying balanced. Family is my True North. My incredible wife and three children inspire me every day.

Gaël Le Clec’h: One particular advantage is meeting with top-tier investment professionals, sharing their expertise and knowledge on their markets and sectors. As we must commit significant capital to these teams for a very long period of time, we are always checking everything to make sure we did not miss something during our due diligence process. We very much value the responsibility of investing the capital of our clients.

Emily Brown: The most rewarding aspect of my role is achieving the best outcomes for our clients based on knowledge of their businesses built up over years of working with them. The most challenging aspect is keeping up with a legal framework that is constantly changing, faster than it ever has in my career.

Read more from the Future 40 panel: The most valuable career lessons they have learned; their advice for someone new to the private equity industry; what they would like those outside of the industry to better understand about PE.