Manola spent 17 years in finance, working across project finance, leveraged finance and M&A, bringing skills in origination, structuring and execution of new deals, refinancing and restructuring projects, with cross sector experience focused upon infrastructure and power. Following a relocation with her family to London, she joined FMSW (Ex Depfa Bank) in Infrastructure and Asset Finance, restructuring/refinancing projects in Infrastructure and Renewable Energy. She then moved to Wells Fargo Asset Management as Senior Infrastructure Debt Investment Analyst and then latterly as Senior Fixed Income Investment Analyst responsible for a portfolio of transportation, airlines, infrastructure companies and regulated utilities. After a short period of time out, she was looking to reboot her career in Project and Infrastructure Finance and came to The Return Hub for help in promoting her back to the workplace.
Member firm Natixis worked with The Return Hub as part of their strategy to increase the representation of women, particularly in senior roles. Working in collaboration with the HR and Talent Acquisition team at Natixis, The Return Hub were connected with Hiring Manager, Pascal Soldaini (Head of Infrastructure & Energy Finance, Natixis London) who was looking for talented candidates for his Infrastructure team for an initial one-year contract. Having previously worked and enjoyed a role at Natixis in Paris during her early career, Manola was keen to be considered and worked with our Consultant Jeremy Kemp over a 3-month period before successfully being selected into the role in July 2022. Having worked with other headhunters in the past, Manola comments that The Return Hub were distinct in their collaborative and conscientious approach:
“I like the fact that they respected my views and did not try to force me into roles that I did not think were right for me. Jeremy was great at keeping me updated and giving me feedback and coaching me through the process. I have received follow up calls and meetings from The Return Hub since joining the firm, and I’ve never had that before in any role – you usually get forgotten once you join!”
Natixis onboarded Manola with a range of career support tools including a package of executive coaching sessions provided via The Return Hub’s specialist Career Academy coaches. These sessions are rated most highly amongst The Return Hub’s placed candidates in terms of assisting their onboarding during the initial stages of joining a company and are designed to support an effective transition and promote an individual’s potential within the organisation.
“I found our conversations very useful indeed with practical tips for my current challenge in my new role. I found it helpful for thinking through how I could best demonstrate and utilise my skills in the organisation.” says Manola.
During the first few months of her contract, Manola made a great impression within Natixis taking and passing her UK Financial Regulation by CISI exam with flying colours in record speed, hence to be a Certified Person registered with the FCA and able to engage with clients soon. She actively looked for ways to contribute, improve and enhance her skills and brushed up her presentation skills attending a course offered by the firm. Following this, she worked on a project and was offered the chance to present her recommendations to senior individuals at Natixis. This resulted in great exposure and networking opportunities and allowed her to demonstrate her strategic and influencing skills. Her project received excellent feedback from clients and senior leaders at Natixis and helped lift her profile internally. In December 2022, i.e. 7 months before the expiration of her temporary contract, her work was recognised and she was made a permanent member of the team.
Manola is really enjoying her role at Natixis. Her career is going well and whilst she is ambitious and keen to continually develop her career, the culture she works in is also of pivotal importance.
“The environment here is so inclusive and supportive. My team is fantastic, and I’ve received career development opportunities alongside flexibility. I work from home twice per week and leave early every Thursday other week alternating with my husband so that we can pick our son up from school. All of this adds to a culture and environment that supports me to develop, be happy and thrive in”.