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Harriet Rosethorn

Harriet Rosethorn

Harriet is an Investment Director at Puma Private Equity.

  • Location: London, UK 

  • Title: Investment Director 

  • Company: Puma Private Equity 

  • Sector: Venture Capital 

  • Degree: Chemistry, University of Southampton

How does your usual day look like?

I start my day at 6am. I get up, check on my dog, who is forever causing trouble, check my emails for anything urgent that came up overnight and then head out for some exercise. I have a love for triathlon so I am constantly trying to fit in a run / swim / cycle when I can. Once that is done, I am back home getting ready for the day ahead.

Fortunately for me, my job allows me to be smart casual these days. I get to work with lots of fun, exciting, young businesses and turning up in a suit does not typically fit with their office culture.

By 9am I am at my desk, I am currently getting to grips with my new commute, having made the big move out of London to the suburbs, from Brixton to St Albans. My commute is longer, although significantly less eventful than making my way through Brixton every morning.

The beauty of my job is no one day is the same, it is a constant balance of sourcing new investment opportunities, executing investment processes and working with portfolio companies post investment. Some days I spend my time getting to grips with a new business, developing my understanding of the market dynamics that influence the company and delving into the intricacies of the operations that make the company function – this is a pivotal part of my job to ensure we can add value to the companies we invest in post the process and ensures I am fully prepared for the Investment Committee process. Other days my role can involve helping the companies we have invested in achieve their ambitions – going to Board meetings to discuss the latest strategy or interviewing a potential recruit. I am also regularly catching up with investors and advisors in the space to source new opportunities for us to invest in.

If I don’t have an evening function – I often attend networking drinks, particularly for female founders and women in venture capital / private equity, I am out of the office by 6pm (on a good day), making a rush home to either walk my dog, hang out with family / friends or just to curl up on the sofa with my husband to watch Netflix. I am an early bird, so I am in bed, lights out at 10pm, ready to go again the next.

What are the things you like the most about your job?

I get to meet so many inspirational people who have built great businesses. Launching your own business takes a great deal of courage, and I get to live vicariously through many brave people that have made that leap.

What are some of the skills you utilise the most in your day-to-day at work?

Most definitely people skills, at work you are constantly trying to understand people, their motivations and what makes them tick. People may have a similar goal, but how they get there varies dramatically. Understanding that and deciding when it is right to push for the way you think vs. letting a different path progress is a skill I am constantly trying to master.

What was one of your happiest days in your career and why?

The day I got promoted to Investment Director. I had really worked hard for the promotion, and I was delighted that I got it.

What was the toughest career decision you ever made?

After a summer internship I was offered a permanent role at corporate finance advisory firm I had interned with. I could either take this and get a Bachelors degree in Chemistry, or return to university for one more year to get a Masters. It was a gamble, but I decided to take the role and have never looked back. It was a shame to miss out on a final year of university but I was keen to get into the world of finance, I knew I didn’t want to do Chemistry long term and it was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse.

What is something you had to learn to become better at your work?

Confidence and assertiveness. I suffer massively from imposters syndrome, as I know most do. It goes against every instinct in my body to exude confidence. But I know I have a lot to offer and lots of relevant experience and skills to draw on, so my confidence has grown over time. Seeing more women in my position and seeing how the working environment is becoming a more open and transparent space is great too. A few years ago, having imposters syndrome was not as openly admitted.

How did you get to become an Investment Director?

I started my career in corporate finance, working as an analyst and associate at two different corporate finance boutiques. This really threw me in at the deep end of learning the world of finance, I had little relevant experience given my degree in Chemistry – I spent most of my day scribbling down terms and acronyms I needed to go and look up later! After a few years learning the trade, I realised what I loved about my job was working with entrepreneurs who had built their own businesses, but felt I was only scratching the surface of this given I was only involved with the company for a specific transaction. So, I made the jump to work on the investment side. I have worked my way up over six years from there.

What's the one piece of career advice you have for anyone interested in following your footsteps?

Be a sponge – every conversation can help get you to where you want to be, even if it may not feel the most valuable use of your time, there is always something you can learn from it.

What's your number one productivity hack / when or how are you most effective?

I am most effective when I am busy!

What makes you gracefullyBOLD?

Surrounding myself with great people, if people aren’t making you #gracefullyBOLD then they are not worth your time.

How do you spend your weekend or downtimes?

Running, swimming, or cycling. I love doing triathlons, although the time commitment for three sports is a constant challenge.

We also have a lovable and incredibly energetic working cocker spaniel who requires lots of love and attention.

And reading – nothing beats a good book.

How do you deal with stress and build resilience?

A good night’s sleep.

What would have been your alternative career path or alternative University degree?

I would love to go back to university to study psychology or PPE (a combined degree of philosophy, politics, and economics).

What's one of the last things you learnt?

About Vietnam – its culture and history!

One word answers & quick fire round. Let's go!

  • Your superpower: Pushing myself to do sporting achievements I didn’t think possible.

  • Favourite restaurant: Naughty Piglets.

  • Favourite fashion brand: Rixo.

  • Favourite beauty brand: Moroccan oil.

  • Favourite perfume: Jo Malone Mimosa & Cardamom.

  • Book recommendation: Lessons in Chemistry.

  • Next holiday destination: Canada.

  • Your hobby: Triathlon.

  • Who inspires you: My husband – his positivity is a joy to be around.

  • Tea or Coffee: Coffee

  • Red wine or White wine: Red wine

  • Morning bird or Night owl: Morning person

  • Cat person or Dog person: Dog person

Thank you Harriet for sharing your journey & wisdom with us!

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