IR professionals offer their best career advice

Introduction:

We are surrounded by some great peers in the industries we work in, and decided it was time to tap into that valuable source of knowledge. At the end of last year, we interviewed some of our clients as well as other experts in the investor relations industry, and asked them about the most valued piece of career advice they could remember from working in IR. See below for their responses. Thanks so much to everyone who contributed and shared a bit of their smarts. We really appreciate it!

 

The Question:

 

Greatest piece of IR advice

 

Patrick Balit  |  Vice President of Corporate Development  |  Red Eagle Mining

You never tell anyone to buy your stock because you won’t tell them when to sell. Your job is to equip the market with the best information available for investors to make their own decision.

 

Katie Keita  |  Director of Investor Relations  |  Shopify

My advice sounds trite but it has really helped me. It was given to me by my former boss Tony Takazawa, VP IR at EMC. He has minted many an IRO (heads of IR at Seagate, Carbonite, and yours truly). One challenge IRO’s have is that the variety of tasks in any given day is wide, and makes it difficult to feel like you’re getting much traction in any one area. He suggested three simple words which have become a mantra: focus, speed, quality. I’ve even written “FSQ” on the post of my monitor so I can see it all day every day. Keeps me on track.

 

Advice from Shopify

 

Stacey Pavlova  |  Investor Relations Manager  |  Silver Standard Resources Inc.

“The IR profession is very dynamic and people-oriented. It is important for Investor Relations Professionals to maintain working knowledge about their company, industry and the market. In order to be an effective conduit of information between the management and the market, it is important to believe in the messages being sent and always provide fair and accurate information while maintaining strong ethics.”

 

Yvette Lokker  |  President & CEO  |  Canadian Investor Relations Institute

My advice: Getting close counts. I have a tendency to want everything to be perfect, a trait I share with many IROs. When working on communications, rather than expending energy and time on another iteration of a document that already gets my point across, I move on to another, equally important task. When working on advocacy, I accept that only elements of our position may be adopted by regulators, not our entire position. These communications or advocacy efforts may not be perfect, but they are still successful as my message is being heard, which is ultimately my goal.

 

Advice from CIRI

 

Shauna O’Boyle  |  Senior Manager, Investor Relations |  Oracle

I have this quote posted on my bulletin board. I’m not sure of the source, but think it is good words to live by.
Capital flows where it is invited and stays where it is made to feel welcome.”

 

Mélanie Hennessey  |  VP Corporate Communications  |  Novagold Resources Inc.

Engagement with all stakeholders has been extremely beneficial throughout my career. Each stakeholder represents a piece of a puzzle, from the Board, to management and employees, to the buy-side and sell-side, to the broader markets and local community residents. When it all comes together, it provides you with incredible insights to best understand your business and the value proposition your company has to offer. Moreover, it helps you better understand what role you play in presenting a strong investment thesis to your various stakeholders. Through the years, being flexible and open to change has been critical!

 

James Buskard  |  President  |  Nevada Exploration Inc.

I think one of the biggest mistakes is only reaching out to your shareholder/supporter base when there is good news, or when you need them to open their cheque books. I once got scolded by a broker that I only called him when I was looking for money. It is important to keep the lines of communication open with your audience at a regular interval. Simply saying hello can be enough to keep investors in your story, which in some markets is just as hard as getting new investors into your story. So, take home, touch based with your core investor group at least quarterly, no matter what is going on.

 

Advice from Nevada Exploration Inc.

 

Erin O’Toole  |  Investor Analyst  |  Novagold Resources Inc.

Find a way to say “yes” to as many opportunities as possible whether it be sitting on a panel, joining a committee or attending a new industry event. You never know what you might learn, who you might meet, or where it may lead.