Executive leader Donny Walford says investing in diversity pays off financially, professionally and personally.
Diversity and inclusion is key in all facets of life, especially for investors.
Donny is an expert in embracing diversity, as an executive leader who has taken on many roles with boards, executives, senior management and business owners across many industries, government and the not-for-profit sector.
Donny told KnowHow founder Bushy Martin on the Get Invested podcast that investors can embrace greater diversity in all aspects of life, including their portfolios.
Holding a mix of investments and having discipline with your strategy will increase the security and therefore wealth generated through different phases.
“Leverage all your investments, your property, your shares and have a real mix of investments. Just don’t put all your eggs in one basket,” Donny said.
“I like to spread the risk, so for me it was always property and shares and that’s in addition to super … But you can’t just rely on the super you have to make your money work for you, so there was one stage a few years ago where my husband and I had six properties. And through life changes, we basically capitalised on all of those, and now really all I invest in outside of property is shares.”
A big part of diversifying your approach is prioritising learning and being flexible to adapt to an evolving market and environment, especially during crises.
“I think you have to read up, talk to lots of people and be aware of challenges because generally Australia lags behind globally. We didn’t get the GFC for a couple of years after it started hitting in the US and the UK, and COVID was breaking before it broke in Australia,” Donny explained.
“So if you keep informed on what’s happening in your global marketplace, you can make changes in your investment model quickly or respond even before changes happen.”
This diversity extends to people and relationships. Building wide networks with the right mix of connections, skill sets and outlooks is crucial.
“Male and female, it’s really hard to get to the top of wherever you want in your career, because it’s lonely at the top if you have no support networks. And I know a lot of recruiters and chairs of boards and directors are now asking CEOs in their interviews about what support networks they have around them. They’re looking for people who understand that you need coaches and mentors and peer groups, because it’s hard getting there and it’s so much harder staying there,” Donny said.
“So the matching process is really important to get because if you’re not going to be open and honest with people that you can’t build trust and relationships with and you can’t connect with, it’s not going to work.
“It’s not just about women versus men. You know, there are young people and different skill sets. [For example], digital now is a really well sought after skill set. So it’s about adding value.
“So, when you have diversity around your room, young people, old people, people who don’t look the same as us – that’s the difference in your decision-making. It really changes because your conversation changes and your discussions change.”
Listen to the full interview here.
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