Michelle joined MacKay Shields in 2010 in Marketing. She is Head of the Business Response Team overseeing new business opportunities for the firm and supporting ongoing relationships with consultants and clients. Prior to MacKay Shields, she was at PineBridge Investments (formerly AIG Investments) as Head of US GIPS Compliance, and before that a member of the Global Business Development working in Marketing, Consultant Relations, and the RFP Group. Michelle earned an MBA in Finance with a concentration in Portfolio Management from Pace University and a BA from New York University. Michelle holds her CFA Institute Claritas Investment Certificate and has been in the investment management industry since 1998.
How has our Business Response efforts evolved in recent years? How can other teams in the firm support your group?
We have definitely seen a lot more intense operational due diligence questionnaires and ones that are focused on DEI and ESG. Clients and consultants send us questionnaires on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. It sometimes takes a village to get them completed in a high quality fashion and on time.
Over the last 10 years, we have grown our database of responses to over 1000+, which seems like a lot, yet inevitably we will get a question that has not been asked before. This year we have completed over 880 requests from clients, prospects, and consultants. We are very thankful for all the support from all the different departments we work with and we working at more efficient systems and applications. I’m really excited about how technology can help our team be more successful in the future.
Over the past 12 years that you have been with MacKay, what has been one of your favorite projects to work on?
Cross team collaborative projects are my favorite. You get to know the people you work with really well when you are up very, very late, debating about a cup of coffee that you know you should not have, sweating because the air conditioner is now off, or you’re in a car racing to a city a few hours away, or packaging a proposal because the prospect wants hard copies in the year 2022?!?
Whether it is communicating to external parties about a new product or team, not all proposals and projects are the same. Being part of the sales effort and offering customized investment solutions to prospects and clients who have their own unique needs is what makes projects fun and exciting.
As a member of the DEI Committee, why do you feel it is important that everyone gets involved on our DEI journey?
I think there is so much we can learn from each other just by sharing our experiences. As we engage with DEI employee based training sessions and think about all the programs that MacKay and NYL offer, all the charities we participate in, and the goals we have as a firm there is a lot we are already doing that can be more formalized. My hope is that the employee discussions that will take place as a result of our learning sessions will help drive employee.
What has been one of the biggest lesson that you have learned over the course of your career?
How I thought about success starting out is not exactly how I think about success now. I believe success is formed by an accumulation of small victories and you first have to identify your own values. For me that looks like working hard, being dependable, and always staying curious about life, history, and the future. In helping my child to learn how to read, finding a new home project to tackle, or completing the next due diligence questionnaire or a winning proposal, I consider them all accomplishments when they are finished there is a feeling of accomplishment which translates to success for myself.
What’s one thing you can’t live without/guilty pleasure?
Ice cream. My new favorite is vanilla honey lavender. If that’s not available, then it has to be chocolate.