2016 Forty Under Forty

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Evalinde Eelens

Evalinde Eelens

Investment Manager
(Veghel, the Netherlands) 34

“Often seen at CIO events on either side of the Atlantic, Eelens’ career has taken her through roles at A&O, PGGM, and now Mars pensions, establishing herself as a well-respected investor.”

Name the biggest difference between your job in 2012 and current position.

The differences in legislation and investment culture provide an extra dimension to the work I do.

What is one career move you wish you could take back...?

None. Even though some moves may not have added the value I expected, each decision taught me something.

... and investment move?

Naturally, in hindsight I would have gone all the way on interest-rate hedging.

Compare your leadership style to that of a historical figure or famous leader.

Harvey Specter, from the TV show Suits. I particularly love two quotes: “Loyalty is a two-way street. If I’m asking for it from you, then you’re getting it from me,” illustrating the importance of working together as a team and having each other’s back. The second is, “The only time ‘success’ comes before ‘work’ is in the dictionary.”

Which asset owner would you most like to have on your team?

Bruce Wayne aka Batman. It would provide for some good discussions on investing in controversial weapons, if nothing else.

You’re advising an employee about a job offer: How heavily should compensation weigh in their decision (as a percentage)?

20%. I am the first to admit compensation is important, but it is often overrated. Learning experiences and a growth path, which will increase your potential future compensation, are much more important.

The key to successful board relations is________.

Empathy. It is crucial to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the decision­-makers. Listen to what board members say and remember to respond to it. If you don’t have the answers ready, make sure to come back to it, and provide the context in which the question was asked in the first place.

Describe the weirdest interaction you’ve had with a job candidate.

A long time ago I met with an applicant straight out of university. He failed to ‘filter’ his Facebook profile before his interview, on which he was very explicit about, how shall I say, leisure time activities. This was hard to forget during the course of the interview.

Who’s your main mentor/sponsor?

In my current job I am lucky to have a great manager. Often people get promoted to manager because of their investment skills and seniority without attaching much weight to management capabilities. My current team leader has a lot to offer in this area and I hope to learn from his management style.

What is one thing you believed in 2012 that you no longer believe?

That key interest rates would ever dive below zero.

Advice you’d give to this year’s crop of Forty Under Forty?

The best advice I ever got was, “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”