In this series, members of the Cerno team reflect on the crisis and provide detail on their work and domestic lives.

For our next interview, we caught up with Katie Dodd, Marketing Manager, to hear how her role has had to adapt to challenges presented by the crisis, and what has kept her busy at home.

Tell me about your role at Cerno Capital, has it changed since the onset of this crisis? 

I am the Marketing Manager for Cerno, so I handle the events we run, our communications as well as our outreach and sponsorship programmes.

Like many companies, we found the initial transition to operating entirely remotely more than a little challenging. This crisis has really changed the way in which we’ve run events which have always been brilliant in getting to know our clients, so it’s been hard not to see friends of the firm in this usual capacity. Instead we’ve been running a number of webinars, and over the past weeks we’ve been fortunate enough to be joined by members of our Investment Advisory Committee, which has made for some fascinating listening. We’ve made these a lot more accessible for a much wider audience in terms of subject matter, and of course we can record them to watch back on demand, which I hope is something we will continue to do as an ongoing series.

More recently we’ve been turning our hand to at-home podcasting which I think will suit the Investment team as a good forum to discuss their market views…watch this space!

How do you think that this pandemic will affect the industry on a longer term basis?

It’s been interesting to see how well firms have communicated with their clients during this period. Across all sectors, some companies really struggled in the early stages, and there was a lot of radio silence. Others opened the doors on everything that they were doing, so I hope that we have managed to strike a balance between these two extremes. During this period of uncertainty, it has been more necessary to stay in touch and keep clients updated with what we are doing, a reassurance that we continue to work at full capacity.

A more continuous dialogue with clients will remain key as we navigate out of this crisis and should be an integral part at the heart of a marketing strategy.

With everyone becoming used to working remotely, I expect that investment managers will need to remain digitally savvy going forward. Webinars, zoom calls and the like will become part of the new normal, and I hope will allow portfolio managers to be more accessible in terms of their investment thinking.

Have you reconnected with an old hobby during this time?  

When the lockdown first started, I confess I attempted every millennial hobby seen on Instagram – baking (banana bread was a disaster), gardening (turns out I am not very green fingered), and online yoga (I cannot compete with Tom Mines’ flexibility!) to name a few.

I am naturally quite a ‘nester’ and as we are in the midst of some home renovations, I have enjoyed some DIY trying to get the house into a more pleasant state before we are able to continue with works. However, my real re-found love has become cooking in the evenings, which is much more enjoyable when it’s not following a London commute. Whilst I certainly don’t proclaim to be a maestro in the kitchen, it has become a very therapeutic hobby, and the results have been gradually improving with dedicated time and attention that we’ve had over weekends. It will be so nice to share this with friends again over the coming months.

How can we work to help local communities and business rebuild after this tragedy?

In previous notes, my colleagues have spoken about the need to shop locally, and for governments to look at ways we can address inequalities within society – whether that is through wage increases or higher taxes – measures which are absolutely vital as we move forward.

We must not forget charities as we start to get back to normal too. The incredible work of many figures in support of the NHS this Spring has been inspiring, but it is crucial that we continue to support those other smaller charities that contribute to society in every way imaginable, whether they support the elderly, vulnerable children, or people suffering with illnesses.

The financial setbacks many will have faced with the cancellation of key fundraising events might mean that the future looks grave for some charities hoping to continue operating. The Investment industry has always been incredibly supportive and generous in their giving to charity, and I hope that this will continue and increase in the coming years in order to safeguard their good work.

Light at the end of the tunnel – what are you looking forward to in the second part of this year?  

I am due to get married this September, and whilst we have had to postpone our planned wedding with family and friends until next year, we are still hoping to hold a civil ceremony at Chelsea Town Hall in a couple of months. Whilst it won’t be the big celebration we had thought we might be having in 2020, I cannot wait to step out as Mr and Mrs like Mick and Bianca Jagger.

The subject of getting a dog has been the hot topic in our household too. If we are able to combine working remotely with time in the office, it does become a bit more feasible and I can’t think of anything better than having a little work-at-home companion. Here’s hoping!

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