Supporting young trade finance professionals

Clarissa Dann Welcome to Trade Finance TV, I’m Clarissa Dann, and joining me here in the studio today are three members of the International Trade and Forfaiting Association’s Emerging Leaders Program. We’ve got Duarte Pedreira of Crown Agents Bank – he heads the program, along with our two emerging leaders, Aycan Ertugrul of the Berne Union and and Pouya Jafari of Channel Capital Advisors. Duarte, Aycan and Pouya, welcome to Trade Finance TV,

Duarte Pedreira Clarissa, it’s an absolute pleasure to be here.

Speaker 3 Thank you. Thank you for hosting us here.

Speaker 4 Thanks very much.

Clarissa Dann Now, Duarte, I’m going to ask you to tell us a bit more about this ITFA Emerging Leaders program.

Duarte Pedreira Look, Clarissa, this is the program that aims at empowering emerging leaders. And I’m delighted to be joined by by by two of them. We do all sorts of things. We do educational seminars, we do mentoring. We go out to universities. We get people to participate. And last year, we had this amazing initiative, which was the Young Trade Financier of the Year award, which captured a lot of attention. You may have seen it today on Linkedin and so on. It was quite catchy and with lots and lots of participation.

Clarissa Dann Now Aycan and Pouya, there’s quite a few emerging leaders programs around, there’s BAFT, there’s ICC and so on. What made you choose on at ITFA?

Aycan Ertugrul First of all, it’s just the first and the most capturing a program, and it’s an honor to be an emerging leader in this, so when I was a student I had no idea about the trade finance industry and I realized that I was trying to create an awareness and trying to change that, trying to actually put students into these careers and retain the existing talents, young talents to stay consciously in this industry.

Clarissa Dann Thanks so much. And Pouya, what was your reason for joining this one?

Pouya Jafari I think the thing that really drew me to it was that is focused on the financing of trade, which is ultimately the part I’m the most interested in, but I also think the organization and the program really hits the right balance between educational initiatives, networking and pairing you up with a mentor as well. So it just had a lot of benefits.

Clarissa Dann Let’s hear a bit more about the mentors. What have you learned from your mentors? I’m going to come back to you, Aycan, you’ve been working with mentors on various things. Is there anything that stands out in your mind as a most helpful experience?

Aycan Ertugrul Actually, I never had an official mentor, but of course there was Duarte. Of course, you are trying to create your path in this industry because there are, I mean in this industry, you have myriads of choices as career paths. So when you want to go in a certain direction, a mentor always works as a facilitator for you. When you are making your decisions, I think the most important thing is that the mentor can share the previous experience and stories with you, which is, I think, the most important and noble thing. A person, not just an experienced professional could do for you, because it’s just, you can’t learn it from the books. You can’t learn it from the university. You can’t learn it in any of those graduate schools or anything. But doing things and being hands-on, and getting the experience from the first hand is the most important thing.

Aycan Ertugrul It’s about opening doors.

Clarissa Dann And how have your doors been opened, Pouya?

Pouya Jafari I think, in addition to all the things Aycan just mentioned, I also think a mentor can help you nuance your decision making. So you often have an idea of what you want to do. You know, where you want to go, but you don’t know exactly how to go there. And usually you’re not completely off track, but a mentor can kind of help you, help you get there faster or more effectively.

Duarte Pedreira Just giving you the options, isn’t it? The way we built the mentoring scheme around the ITFA was very much in line with an idea of broadening horizons. So just because fx, Aycan is very involved with insurance and Pouya isn’t insurance and is now doing securitization and trade finance funds and so on. But it’s about getting someone who tells you, look, this is how the industry really looks like, so then you can powerfully choose a career path.

Aycan Ertugrul And it’s also generally it’s not always what you know, but also who you know, and the mentor can open those doors for you as well.

Clarissa Dann And it’s not just about what you don’t know and being quite humble about that and wanting to learn. How has that been for you, the learning and the development?

Pouya Jafari I think because of the nature of trade, because it’s so international, it’s so dynamic, it attracts a certain type of people. And that applies to the most senior people in the industry as well. And I think they’re always very willing to help. I’ve met a lot of people who are very willing to share their experiences, and it seems like most people like to be mentors as well.

Clarissa Dann I know you’ve been developing your own emerging leaders program in the Berne Union for people working in export credit agencies and private insurance.

Clarissa Dann Exactly what made you start that?

Aycan Ertugrul Going back to my students years, nobody approached me and came to me, and said, ‘this is the industry, would you like to join?’ And I think we had no idea. I just happened to see a job advertisement and then I ended up in this industry. So we are trying to change that. We are trying to make our industry, which is very, I admit that it is a niche industry, but it has many branches too, many trade finance divisions. So you can actually create and channel so many things from it, but it’s not very recognized and it’s not appreciated as ít has to be.

This is one side of it, this initiative by Union Young Professionals Initiative. And the other side is we’re trying to hear the voices of the young professionals in our industry. Usually when we get together, when we network or when we create something, it’s always about the senior members of the industry. We are trying to change that, to see and recognize the changing needs of the industry for the young professionals

Clarissa Dann That’s really helps to hear all that. I’m very excited about it and I think you are, too. As we close, what’s your message for tomorrow’s trade financiers? What’s your advice for a young professional in five words?

Duarte Pedreira If I may take the lead, I guess my message is always, get interested.

Clarissa Dann Get interested. What’s yours?

Aycan Ertugrul Get a good mentor, open your eyes and ears and always try to network.

Pouya Jafari Always ask lots of questions and keep learning.

Clarissa Dann Thank you very much for joining us today.

Duarte Pedreira It’s our pleasure entirely. Thank you very much.

Clarissa Dann I would like to thank our guests, Duarte Pedreira, Pouya Jafari and Aycan Ertugrul for appearing today, and of course to all of you for watching. For our other reports do have a look at TRADEFINANCETV.NET. And don’t forget to follow us on LinkedIn.

Published on December 9, 2019