International Women’s Day: Spotlight on Lucie Bielczykova

International Women’s Day (IWD) is an opportunity to celebrate our team, empower others and share some of the stories that make our women successful. This year’s theme is ‘break the bias’, and we asked Associate Portfolio Manager, Lucie Bielczykova, CFA what IWD means to her – with a look at past and present experiences in the professional world, to viewpoints on the path to achieving equality and change, as well as one key investment theme for the year ahead.

IWD provides an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of all the incredible women around us. Our society has made significant progress towards gender equality across education, workplaces and boardrooms over the past few decades. IWD gives us a platform to celebrate this and to encourage more young rising women to follow and thrive! But it also reminds us that there is still some way to go, and that equity and inclusion aren’t the norm in many parts of the world.

I have been very fortunate to have been supported by strong female and male role models in every step of my career journey. My mum and grandma have been my biggest supporters and role models. Mum raised me and my two sisters on her own, juggling family and small business to provide for us while overcoming all the challenges life threw at her. We didn’t have much but she did whatever she could to support my education and junior athlete career (I was once a competitive dancer!). She taught me the value of dedication and persistence (and accounting basics), while my grandma – having grown up in the Czechoslovakian post-war era − brought perspective and taught me modesty and kindness. These lessons have been pivotal for my career. If it wasn’t for their support, I wouldn’t be who I am today and almost certainly wouldn’t have gone across the world to pursue higher education and a career.

Today, I am surrounded by strong male and female role models at Revolution and Channel Capital who empower me every day. I have had amazing mentors in my professional life who have been willing to guide me and pass on their valuable experience. They have taught me to always speak up, never be afraid to ask questions and have encouraged me to make decisions, which allowed me to grow.

On changing the equality mindset − it starts with awareness. Everyone can do their part by raising conversations about gender equality. While we have come a long way, there is still a lot of progress to be made even here in Australia, particularly in the areas of economic participation and opportunity. Women spend almost three times as much time taking care of children each day compared to men, account for two thirds of carers for the older and disabled and on average retire with just over half of financial resources available to men*. So, talk to the people around you, empower women in your organisations and remember that achievements can take many forms – career related or personal – to ‘break the bias’!

“I have had amazing mentors who have been willing to guide me and pass on their valuable experience. Today, I am surrounded by strong male and female role models at Revolution and Channel Capital who empower me every day.”

This year, with the prospect of higher inflation and rising interest rates around the world making investors nervous, investors should be looking to shift into floating rate investments to protect their capital. Most traditional investments are set to struggle over the year ahead as rates rise and traditional bonds, equities (particularly growth stocks), infrastructure and property which enjoyed the ride down (falling interest rates) will face headwinds as rates increase. Investors should be looking to alternatives that can shield them from the adverse impact of inflation and rising rates, such as private debt. Defensive private debt actually benefits from rising rates, as the rising base rate adds to the yield while protecting investor capital.

Read more conversations with Channel Capital and affiliated investment manager partner colleagues about what IWD means to them.

*Australian Human Rights Commission, Face the facts: Gender Equality 2018