Over the last few months OMERS welcomed Jessica Zhang and Sarah Chantalle Leong to the Capital Markets team in Singapore. Recently, Alicia Davidson, Manager, Human Resources - Investments had the opportunity to speak to both new employees about why they joined OMERS and their experiences starting in a new role in the midst of a global lockdown.
Q: What attracted you to the role at OMERS?
Jessica: I had been running my own investment firm for three years when a friend put me in touch with Ashish Goyal, Senior Managing Director, Capital Markets based in Singapore. I actually hadn’t heard of OMERS before this, but as I got to learn more about the business, I was excited about the opportunity to work for a business with long-term, patient capital. I quickly saw that the calibre of the team was extremely high – as was the quality of the businesses in which OMERS invests.
Sarah: Before joining OMERS I spent two years in investment banking. I wasn’t looking to make a move, but I had the opportunity to meet a lot of the OMERS team and had a great experience. OMERS has a close-knit team in Singapore, and I knew that I would have great access to senior and experienced managers for knowledge and insights, which was a big draw.
Q: What would you say to individuals considering a role at OMERS?
Sarah: OMERS has a fantastic global network and platform, which brings with it a strong culture of mentorship within the business and access to international opportunities. From my very first interview, it was clear this would be an environment in which I would get the growth and development opportunities to support my career over the long term.
OMERS has made strong capital commitments to APAC. It’s not every day that you find this kind of capital for deployment, and the size of OMERS' commitment puts it on a level playing field with the biggest players in the market. This offers access to opportunities that are essential for learning.
I was also really proud that OMERS gave back the government grants during lockdown through donations to local community organizations to support vulnerable people in the current environment.
Jessica: I would say especially to recent graduates looking to start an investment career that there’s no better place to start than OMERS.
I agree with Sarah that OMERS capital commitment in the region is a real plus – combined with an amazing team, long term approach, and focus on high quality investments, OMERS offers huge opportunities for learning and development.
OMERS is also a purpose driven organization. Our objective is to support municipal workers like fire fighters, police officers, nurses and librarians in their retirement – this drives our investment philosophy and gives you a real sense of purpose when you start work each day.
Q: You both joined just before lockdown – what’s been your biggest learning about starting a new role at this time?
Sarah: I did get to meet the team for a week before lockdown, and everyone has been so encouraging throughout. I definitely had to keep an open mind, because a virtual connection is very different from a physical one – but it’s important not to let this hold you back. We’ve got a great team culture here at OMERS, and there are regular virtual coffee meetings and social Friday’s – events like this are really helping to keep people feeling motivated and supported.
Jessica Zhang: This is definitely an unprecedented experience! I spent one day in the office before lockdown, basically just to get set up - and I really appreciated that our senior leaders came in to welcome me.
I was worried about working remotely, but the technology has been amazing and is enabling efficient meetings and social events. I was also surprised by the warmth of the OMERS team – not just in Singapore but from around the world. After it was announced that I had joined, I received many warm, welcoming emails, which is testament to the culture of our entire global business.