The Future 40 share their most valuable career lessons

This year’s Future 40 share their most valuable career lessons to help guide the next generation of industry leaders

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 is the most valuable career lesson you have learned?

Emily Browne: ‘Succeeding in a service industry is about people’

Emily Brown: That succeeding in a service industry is about people – getting to know people, listening to people and showing respect to everyone you deal with.

Eric Deyle: The power of teamwork. I have been fortunate to learn from and collaborate with so many talented colleagues, mentors and investors – past and present.

Fokke Lucas: Hunt. Waiting at the desk for the phone to ring doesn’t bring you proprietary, bespoke investment opportunities. You need to be in front of people, building a relationship and listening to opportunities and needs to find the best deals. Building relationships of trust takes a long time, so be patient, respectful and kind.

Gaël Le Clec’h: I found it in a book: The Most Important Thing by Howard Marks. He calls it “second level thinking”: you must question everything, involve others in the decision-making process, think long term, and never stop learning. I also want to mention a meeting with Byron Wien from Blackstone in 2017 when we discussed his 20 most valuable life lessons learnt during his first 80 years!

David Fox
David Fox: ‘Always maintain discipline, patience and rigour’

Yup Kim: Remain intellectually vulnerable and rigorous – be generous with your ideas to your peers and partners. Don’t be afraid to innovate and move first.

Michelle Tong: There isn’t one exclusive template for being a successful private equity lawyer. Everyone has their own individual strengths, skillsets and personality traits. I’ve learned to make the most of mine and to develop a path that works best for me, from my negotiation style to how I approach business development.

David Fox: In an investment process, always maintain discipline, patience and rigour. This will help you weather any type of market environment in every cycle. Also, don’t forget to be a nice person who people want to work with.

Read more from the Future 40 panel: The rewards and challenges of their roles; their advice for someone new to the private equity industry; what they would like those outside of the industry to better understand about PE.