I loved talking to Phil Culver Evans, CFO of Earth Capital, a sustainable fund management group.
We talk about his transformation from ‘fidgety Phil who can’t sit still' to being dubbed by his colleagues the ‘Chi FO’, because of his passion for Qi Gong, which has helped him to discover the art of relaxation.
I remember my friend saying that what her dad found most irritating about hippies is when they start to talk about 'energy', because it's so meaningless and airy fairy. Well, Phil is certainly not a hippy, but he does talk about using Qi Gong to feel the energy in his body has tremendous therapeutic effects.
We also talk about how he is looking after his team's wellbeing during lockdown and his key to a happy, balanced life.
Rob Stephenson used to run his own financial services recruitment company, Maven, but is now a full time mental health campaigner, CEO and entrepreneur.
His mission is to smash the stigma around mental health, which he's doing through several different fantastic projects.
I felt really inspired in this conversation by his vulnerability - everyday he posts his wellbeing score out ten and what's contributing to that. It's evolved into a tool called FormScore that improves mental health in our workplaces and communities by means of self reflection and support for one another.
He set up Inside Out, a list of business leaders who are willing to talk about mental health and he consults with organisations to help them create healthy workplace cultures.
He's also Chief Catalysts at BetterSpace, a platform that helps people find what is most likely to help their mental health with a live database of interventions that improve one’s state of mind, from exercise clubs to mindfulness apps to life coaches.
We talk about his experience of bipolar, depression, anxiety and attempting suicide, what he does to improve his own wellbeing and what leaders can do to champion mental health.
In this episode I speak to Sidd Bhatt, who used to work in sales for Citibank and now runs a vegan lunch van.
Before he got into finance he was working for a solar start up fuel sustainable development in India.
But while studying for his MBA, the people he met made him think he would enjoy the challenge of working in finance.
He did, and was so successful he managed to increase his total compensation by a factor of 10, during his seven years at CitiBank.
What I find particularly inspiring is that he did that whilst staying true to his values. One of his biggest deals was financing the largest wind farm in the world.
It was also great to hear that other than his drive and curiosity, looking after his wellbeing and being himself were key to his success.
We also discussed:
- Why he left a solar start up to enter finance with no training or experience
- The lifestyle that nearly broke him and how he turned it around.
- What did he do to dramatically improve his performance at work
- Why it wasn't worth his time to learn golf
- Why 'fake it till you make it' is bullshit
- Why he left banking at the peak of his career to set up a vegan lunch company
- His advice for people who haven't found their purpose
Nick Edwards was a top-ranked analyst at the world's largest independent investment bank, Lazard, and subsequently worked at two London-based Hedge Funds.
Almost two years ago, he left the finance industry to co-found archForm, a business set up to enable more musicians to make a living from what they do. They are about to launch Feed, a platform that helps artists reach more people and grow a sustainable audience.
We talk about:
- What it took for him to become a top-ranked analyst, and why he left, despite his success
he difficulty in being yourself in certain work environments
- The sacrifices he's made to start his own business
- What advice he would give someone entering investment banking now
- Escaping the treadmill of life
- Finding happiness and meaning
Scott Robinson, otherwise known as The Yogi Banker is Head of Regulatory Policy at Deutshce Bank.
In this episode we discuss:
Is new financial regulation making another crisis more or less likely?
How Scott finds purpose in his work
Whether he thinks bankers are worth the money
How he's changed since practising yoga
How yoga helps in meetings
Whether he believes a banker needs to be aggressive
The qualities of people who make it the top
Why it's beneficial to be an ethical banker
The link between high performance and feeling good
Top tips if you're really stressed at work
In this meditation we practise accepting whatever is going on in the mind, body and emotions. Whatever you notices is not good or bad, it's OK. This can be particularly helpful if you find yourself wishing you felt differently to how you feel right now.
Banker bashing is so last year...
In this episode of The Mindful Banker, I interview Zahra Husain and Sarah Laitung. Zahra and Sarah started their careers in finance, at Merill Lynch and J. P. Morgan respectively. They subsequently began a journey to find out about innovations in the financial services industry, aimed at having a greater social or environmental impact, and met some really interesting people along the way.
They thought others might find these peoples' stories interesting too. Inspired by the Instagram account Humans of New York, they created Human in Finance, which celebrates the inspirational people in finance who are working to make the world a better place. They share the stories on Instagram of these awesome people and hope to motivate others through them.
They believe people in finance should be able to use their valuable skillset in a way that benefits society and our planet. They want people to be able to proudly say “I work in finance”.
In this episode of The Mindful Banker podcast, we discuss...
- How they found meaning and purpose in finance
- The revolution in impact and sustainable investing
- The feeling of not belonging Society's unhelpful approach to pain
- The main reason people leave finance
- What they think is the key to being a top performer
- How they practice mindfulness
- Calling on the finance industry to help meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals
As a young man living in Belgium, Johan de Mulder was inspired by investment bankers in London earning their fortunes. He bought a book called ‘How to become an investment banker’ and worked his way into his dream job as an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.
Johan was very good at his job, often being quoted in the FT and being recognised by colleagues and clients as a high performer. However, he found the reality of daily life rather stressful. His day started at 6am and he wouldn’t be home until 9pm. He called the Nespresso machine on his desk his ‘life support’.
When the company restructured and let him go, he took the opportunity to explore life in a different way, experimenting with teaching, Fintech startups and joined a Buddhist community.
In this interview we explore:
- How he found his way into investment banking
- What his lifestyle was like
- How swimming helped him work less and improve his performance
- How meditation benefits you at work and as an investor
- The importance of purpose for performance and drive
- The sacrifices people make for status and money
- The epiphany he experienced on a Buddhist retreat
- His three keys to being a mindful banker
Mostyn Wilson is a partner at KPMG where he has worked for 18 years.
KPMG is one of the Big Four auditors, along with Deloitte, Ernst & Young (EY), and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The firm employs 189,000 people and has three lines of services: financial audit, tax, and advisory.
In this interview he talks about:
What it takes to make partner at the firm
What he does for his wellbeing
What success means to him
How he helps his team deal with stress
How he creates a work/life balance
How he gets things around back-to-back meetings
Ronnie describes how high pressure, long hours, and a diet based on convenience led to him being overweight and in seriously poor health.
- Why he felt trapped by his money and success.
- How he won a weight loss competition with a £25/month gym membership, beating millionaires with £1,000/month personal trainers.
- Why doctors now ask him for advice on for their own weight problems.
- How you can lose weight by sleeping.
- How he found purpose and meaning in life.
The dramatic before and after photos of his body shape inspired 100s of people to follow his approach, many of whom had been trying to lose weight unsuccessfully for years.
As well as rapidly losing weight, he’s helped people cure their diabetes, get pregnant after years of trying, find happier relationships and massively increase their confidence.
He has now created a 90 day programme and a company called FITBANKER (http://fitbanker.com) that runs health transformation programmes, leadership summits and outdoor treks.
The company is on a mission to transform a billion lives through education.
Arti Kashyap-Aynsley is consulting Senior Manager and Head of Wellness at Deloitte Consulting.
In this interview she talks impressively openly about the physical and mental health challenges she has faced, such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. including the difficulty in speaking about them.
She shares the things that have helped her most in her wellbeing journey and what she would recommend to others who are struggling, her life's mission and the mystery woman on the train who inspired her to meditate.
Grant Thornton CEO Sacha Romanovitch tell us: - How she avoids back-to-back meetings and being 'always on' - Why it’s not enough to just have more women in leadership roles - What she sacrifices in being a CEO - What she enjoys about being a CEO - Why she thinks it's important to 'kill puppies' - Why many leaders feel that they need to wear a mask - Her criticism of the 'alpha male' model of leadership - How she stays focused on her purpose - The value of making mistakes