The day I interview Charis Campbell, she’s got a half a suitcase packed with female sanitary products and toiletries and a flight booked to India for the next day. The products are for local women in the villages where the 2019 Money Management Young Achiever winner is staying, as they’re hard to come by in developing towns.
This isn’t the Macquarie business development manager’s (BDM’s) first taste of community work. During university, Campbell volunteered at the Perth children’s hospital. A tough place for kids at times, she entertained patients amid the hospital’s constant hum.
Since entering financial services, Campbell was one of the founding members of the AFA Inspire committee, organising events for women in finance. She also leads Macquarie’s involvement in the Ardoch Foundation, giving back to low socio-economic schools.
As the Money Management Young Achiever judging panel considered nominees’ community and industry involvement, Campbell’s win is unsurprising.
“I give back because we live in a world of injustice,” she says. “The disparity of wealth is growing further apart still and if I can provide one small change to someone’s life then I know I am living out my life’s purpose”.
When Campbell explains her upbringing, it’s easy to see where she gets this purpose.
Her parents migrated to Australia with two kids in tow prior to having her. A nurse and a prison officer, she describes them as “wholesome, good-hearted people, with no financial knowledge”.
The working-class family lived in government housing until Campbell reached her teens, an experience that taught her that some families have more resources than others.
When it came to university then, “choosing finance and economics as a major was a conscious choice to break this cycle and provide a different life for my parents and my future family”.
And now a few years into her career, it’s her work with advisers with high growth aspirations that Campbell finds most fulfilling.
“Whether it’s a sole practitioner starting a business for the first time, or a large multi-disciplinary firm, it’s incredibly rewarding to see firms reach their potential and deliver exceptional advice to their clients.”
The BDM also goes above and beyond for her clients, offering them a diverse mix of workshops, another factor considered by the judges.
“I love running workshops across different segments including culture, design thinking, creative behaviours, change management, and negotiation behaviour for my clients,” she says.
So how can new entrants to financial services also reach the levels the exceptional 2019 Young Achiever finalists are headed for?
Founder of Endorphin Wealth Management, Phillip Richards, advises working out a career plan.
“Work out a goal of where you’re headed and where you want to be, and the steps you need to take to get there,” he suggests, saying that he got a Master of Business Administration as he saw that the sort of jobs he wanted down the track required that of candidates.
For HPH Solutions’ Zac Leeson, it’s client experience that young advisers should work on, making use of the fact there’s more experienced planners around them.
“You can’t teach the ability to have conversations with a client, [but] that’s where these relationships start, with that trust and respect … so look at who in your firm is good at those conversations and learn from them.”
Finally, James Ridley of Atlas Wealth recommends courage: “I think you need to take chances in your pursuit for finding that ideal career. Don’t be afraid of being upfront with what you want ... Either way you come out the other side with experience, which you’ll learn from on how to tackle the next hurdle.”
And Campbell’s advice? She also advocates bravery and hard work.
“Determination is key,” she says. “You need to have the courage, confidence and self-belief to go out into the wider world and find the opportunities you want.”