Current Role: Director of Investments for John Laing Capital Management and Investment Adviser to the John Laing Infrastructure Fund
Brief Bio about career background and how it has led you to your current job
In 2003, I joined Carillion in their project finance team. After spending about four years in a small team gaining exposure to primary infrastructure projects and financial modelling, I moved to John Laing in 2007 to work in their Finance & Commercial team, bidding for infrastructure projects. Three and a half years later, I had the opportunity to move to John Laing Capital Management, to be part of a team that structured, launched, and now provides investment advice to a listed fund that invested in infrastructure assets.
What are some of your career highlights to date?
The most prominent highlight was the successful IPO of John Laing Infrastructure Fund on the London Stock Exchange in 2010. I leapt into a field that at the time I knew very little about. I had a strong understanding of infrastructure projects but I didn’t know the listed market space very well at all. It was an incredibly steep learning curve to undertake, but I had an amazing amount of support from my colleagues. At the time, the marketplace was not favourable; this made our task all the more challenging, and thus our success much more rewarding.
Other highlights include spending a year and half in the Netherlands bidding and winning two accommodation projects (despite not speaking Dutch), playing a key role in establishing the Women’s Infrastructure Network (WIN) in the United Kingdom, and speaking at a discussion on the secondary market with esteemed key female figures in infrastructure space.
What are some of your top tips for dressing for work?
I think the most important tip I can give is to identify your personal style – there’s no sense dressing in clothes that don’t flatter you. How you present yourself is the first piece of communication you give to someone, so you should always try to look your best. I have a fairly simply motto for my workwear; simple, professional, feminine. For me, that means skirts and dresses that fall to about knee length, no midriffs or backless tops, and ALWAYS wear shoes that fit well and feel comfortable. In addition, when wearing sleeveless outfits, the outfit should have thick straps to keep underwear in its place – under!
I don’t have the time in the morning to put together a complicated outfit, especially if I am trying to fit in a quick yoga practice. I prefer tailored options that don’t require excessive effort to accessorise, which is why The Fold is perfect for me. I maintain a wardrobe that gives me plenty of appropriate options, from off-site visits to black tie evenings. This means that I can see exactly what is in my wardrobe, without having pieces of clothing that never get worn. My personal clothing strategy is to invest in quality pieces that last for ages yet look stylish every time.
You have been a founding member of the UK chapter of WIN (Women’s Infrastructure Network). Could you explain the key objectives of WIN and some projects you’re currently working on?
WIN is a network for women in the global infrastructure market. WIN is open to women working in infrastructure across all levels and disciplines including government, industry, legal, accounting, engineering, construction, commercial and investment banks, multilaterals, infrastructure funds and advisory. Our website is at www.womensinfrastructure.net
WIN’s mission remains to help women to emerge as leaders in this growing field in which historically women have been under represented and to facilitate professional development, advancement and support of women in the infrastructure sector; promote the infrastructure sector as a long-term career option with a supportive industry-recognised network for women; create a strong network of contacts to foster professional opportunities and facilitate collaboration between the public and private sectors; provide junior women access to senior practitioners to develop career opportunities and mentoring relationships.
WIN intends to further this mission through creating opportunities for women in infrastructure to engage in dialogue, discussion and professional development seminars as well as to meet informally and develop personal friendships.
The UK chapter of the Women’s Infrastructure Network launched on 8 March 2011, successfully building on the brand from the US. The UK chapter has grown to over 800 members and regional groups have been established, including Scotland. WIN UK has hosted regular high profile events since formation and has also launched a successful mentoring programme for its members to support career development within the sector.
Projects for 2014 include the launch of our new website, which we hope will be soon, aligning the organisation globally so it is optimal for global business and those who travel, delivering an exciting agenda of events for our members taking in to account the changing landscape of infrastructure and designing some innovative ideas for WIN to be flexible and available to its members through web based portals.
What are some ways you like to unwind from work and where is your ideal getaway from the city?
Yoga! Since I found yoga in 2010 I haven’t looked back and I have recently taken up Pilates too. Not only do these offer great cardio and strength training, but the holistic approach helps manage stress and promote wellbeing. My ideal getaway is a remote resort, ideally by the sea or some expanse of water, somewhere that I can completely switch off – and that includes the phones and laptop! I aim to get away for an annual yoga retreat and I like to choose somewhere tranquil – later this year I am off to Northern Cyprus, which I am already looking forward to.
And finally, which is your favourite style from the collection?
Many pieces in the Le Marais collection reside in my wardrobe. The styles are incredibly flattering and versatile for both work and casual wear. I also love the Draycott as a perfect day to evening option, and for the colder months the Grosvenor is a great alternative.
Joanne wears The Milano Cashmere Jacket in Black