How Embracing Challenges Leads to a Dynamic Career

Sponsored by Fisher Investments

Amy Devereux

Photo courtesy of Fisher Investments.

Fisher Investments
Fisher Investments
June 13, 2024 at 12:14AM UTC
Amy Devereux is not afraid of facing new challenges, and embracing them has empowered her to craft a unique and rewarding journey with multiple careers. She’s held a variety of roles ranging from recruiting to relationship management to research management, and has worked at Fisher Investments for more than 20 years. While her current position is Securities Analyst Team Leader, Amy knows there are many other exciting roles and opportunities ahead of her at the firm as she builds a long-term Fisher career.
Amy credits several things for helping her grow a dynamic career including Fisher Investments’ learning and development programs, a supportive workplace culture, and fantastic peers and mentors. She has also learned that for her, the opportunities that intimidate and challenge her the most are the ones that are the most fulfilling. 

You have worked at Fisher Investments for about 20 years in a variety of departments. Can you share some of your career highlights?

Early in my Fisher career, while working as an Investment Counselor, I had the opportunity to help make an impact on the firm’s recruiting and hiring efforts. During interviews, candidates often asked me what was next for me and my career. I told them, “I am not sure what’s ahead of me, but I do know my next career move will definitely be here at Fisher.” Little did I imagine then, pioneering opportunities at the firm would become a habit of the best kind! 
In 2007, I was part of the group of Fisher employees who established our Washington state office; in 2013 and 2014 I helped pioneer our portfolio management efforts for our private client expansion businesses in France and Italy; and in 2017 I established a coaching role for our Investment Counselors in Washington. These are highlights of the opportunities I’ve had to make a positive impact while growing my Fisher career.
It was in my coaching role as an Investment Counselor Training Manager that I also discovered my passion for developing talent, which eventually led me to Fisher Investments’ Research group in 2019. The past three years as a Capital Markets Innovation Team Leader and now Securities Analysis Team Leader have been some of the most challenging and fulfilling time in my career!

Can you tell us about your early career? How did you end up working for Fisher Investments?

I fell into Finance by accident. I was a dual major in Political Science and Communications, and after graduating from the University of New Hampshire, I landed a temporary job at a brokerage house in Washington D.C. An early mentor took me under her wing, which impacted the course of my career and life. Ellie was a role model for me by developing my interest in capital markets and helping clients reach their financial goals. She was also the primary income earner in her household, incredibly successful in her business, and was still a present and devoted mother. 
Three years later, I was offered a promotion to move across the country to San Francisco and leapt at the chance. Within a year, I was working as the Associate Vice President of Recruiting at the company and was beginning to understand that our lives, successes and opportunities are determined by our actions and beliefs.
In Spring 2001, I was laid off and was recruited by an agency working for Fisher Investments. The chance to go from a large company that was downsizing to a growing company—like Fisher—was an amazing opportunity; I felt like I won the lottery. At the time, we had less than 350 employees at Fisher and today we have more than 5,000 employees and 100,000 clients globally.

What has Fisher provided to make you want to stay at the company for so long?

The people and the culture. The friendships and relationships I’ve built here over the past 21 years are nothing short of remarkable. By doing right for the firm and our employees, we create an environment where employees can find true meaning in the work that they do and the folks they work with.
At Fisher, we offer our employees the opportunity to take on new roles and responsibilities and have multiple careers at one firm. I’ve had several, and there are still consistent opportunities for me to continue to grow and develop. This is very different from the limited career track typical of the financial services industry.

It looks like you have held a variety of leadership roles. What have you learned is the most important piece when managing people?

Most of Fisher’s employees are united in our firm’s vision but want to feel that they are individually contributing to the firm's success. That recognition can truly impact an employee’s individual fulfillment. My favorite thing to do is watch someone on my team set a goal and reach it. Whether that is a personal milestone or promotion, nothing gives me more fulfillment than seeing one of my team members succeed.

What does training look like for employees within your group, and how have you been able to get involved with it? 

Training has always been a focus in Fisher’s Research group. I’ve particularly loved the opportunity to influence and shape our programs over the past few years. For the Associate and entry-level level roles at Fisher, we had the goal of attracting more candidates from all backgrounds to the firm. We created a training program where we had the ability to hire for specific competencies and train those folks the skills required for success in the role. 
More recently, for more experienced Analyst-level positions, we are developing a groundbreaking Fisher training program aimed at attracting and retaining top-tier talent. Typically, the financial services industry has little training in securities analysis outside of graduate and certification programs, so we are creating the program from scratch—allowing our employees the opportunity to build both depth and breadth at the firm.

You have been promoted to many different roles at Fisher. What strategies have you used to have conversations about promotions? 

In the opportunities I’ve been presented with or pursued at Fisher, I’ve considered the skills and competencies required for those roles, and those of which I wish to acquire. Promotions are just that, an opportunity for growth and challenge in a way that you’ve not yet proven yourself. I’ve learned that I’m least fulfilled in my career when I’m complacent and unchallenged, and this has guided me to lean into the opportunities that intimidate and challenge me the most.

Why is female representation so important in the financial services industry, specifically in Research?

Female representation is important in all realms and for me. My drive to succeed and model representation in our industry became non-negotiable when I had my daughter Reese in 2009. Every role I’ve held, even when she was too young to understand, I’ve thought what do I want her to see, know and expect in her future career. 
In Research, I want women to see other women who have demanding yet fulfilling careers and an amazing partner and family who supports her ambitions and success—just like the role model I had all those years ago. I also try and be sure to model the benefits our firm offers so others may feel empowered to do so, whether it be heading to my children’s school for a meeting or activity, or simply taking an afternoon off to run errands. That flexibility goes a long way to make life easier.
The reality of managing teams in Research is that you not only have all of the same responsibilities as others team leads, but you have the additional pursuit of furthering your capital markets knowledge to inform the management of your team; its support of the portfolio decision makers, as well as communicating with and representing the firm to our clients. Every time I meet with our clients, I am driven to ensure they come away with assurance and confidence that they are in the right hands. 

What advice do you have for women in finance who want to take their career to the next level?

Find a mentor and be willing to be coached. The attributes that have gotten you to where you are now are not the ones that will get you to the next level. Often this takes exposure to new thinking, new skills and a good deal of discomfort. That discomfort and challenge will provide the foundation for your future successes.

What is something you think most people do not know about your company that you think they should? 

Our firm is as committed to employees building lifelong careers as it is to taking care of our clients. For example, a primary driver for expanding Fisher Investments’ offices outside of California to Washington 15 years ago was to provide employees additional locations where we could afford homes and raise families. When I started at the firm 21 years ago, I could have never imagined living in Camas, Washington—an area known for the beauty of the Pacific Northwest and great school systems, activities and communities for raising children.

What are you focused on for the next few years, and what opportunities are available for your career advancement?

I’ll say the same thing as I said 20 years ago when I interviewed candidates, “I have no idea, but I do know I’ll still be working here at Fisher Investments.” One of the best parts of being with a growing firm such as ours is that with growth comes additional opportunities, so who knows what opportunity is developing as I write. I do know I’ll continue to take on responsibilities and roles that I’ve not yet imagined and I am excited to embrace new challenges and the feelings of discomfort and accomplishment that come with it.

If you could sum up your career so far in a couple sentences, what would you say?

Fisher Investments is a firm I’ve literally grown up in and with. Over the past 21 years, I’ve made some of my closest friends, found amazing mentors, and worked with incredibly brilliant people. It has shaped almost every facet of who I am and what me and my family’s life looks like!

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