“I have learned from and have been inspired by the bad leaders in my life just as much as the good leaders.”
Chris Genovese, Managing Director at Portfolio Advisors, LLC, is driven by the desire to succeed. Another motivator for him is the sense of responsibility he feels to both his family and his company. After completing his B.S in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Tech, Chris went on to earn his MBA from Emory University with concentrations in Finance and Ethics and Leadership.
Chris believes he has been shaped by every person he’s worked for throughout his life; from his first summer job while in middle school at an Army/ Navy store in Cape Cod to his current role at Portfolio Advisors. He grew up in a small town which gave him the opportunity to take on early leadership roles in high school, like class president. His first true leadership experience from a business perspective was directly out of undergrad. Chris took a job with a large manufacturing corporation in their management leadership training program and is grateful for the level of responsibility he was given at such an early point in his career. One of the main things he learned through the program was how to manage numerous parallel tasks and “how to wear a lot of hats”. These foundational skills have continued to serve him well with each new opportunity and role throughout his career.
As a leader, Chris strives to be somewhat “hands-off” and to lead by example. He believes in providing colleagues with the necessary tools and information to succeed, and he continues to try and learn on a daily basis from those around him. This leadership style works well for him, particularly because Chris works remotely from the rest of his firm. Working remotely can pose challenges outside of just leadership – he often misses being involved more directly in the corporate culture, being able to just walk down the hall to chat with a colleague, and missing out on the monthly birthday cake – but he enjoys the autonomy in provides.
Chris feels that his career has come full circle in many ways. Directly out of college he did not see himself in sales or consulting, so he went into manufacturing. After living in some very rural areas, he decided he wanted to return to a big city and started working in consulting. After logging many years and frequent flyer miles consulting, Chris decided to go back and get his MBA and to pursue his interests in investing. Since then, Chris has been working in the private equity industry with a focus on business development and investor relations. In this role, he has been combining sales, consulting, and investing – and it has taken him back on the road. His background may not fit the “traditional private equity career path,” but he believes his engineering and consulting background have provided him with a strong foundation, work ethic, complementary skill set and, at times, a unique perspective.
When asked what advice he would give others looking to get into the private equity field, or just job searching in general, he shared the following. “Throughout your life and career, build up and try to maintain strong personal and professional networks.” He also encourages people to, “Not give up if you don’t find instant success if it’s something you’re truly passionate about. Try to take something away from every experience and interaction, whether it’s through self-reflection or openly soliciting feedback”. He also recommends for students to pursue internships and co-op opportunities to learn what types of jobs and industries they like/dislike and to build relevant experience. Chris is a fan of the concept of “5 Why’s” which he describes as asking why five times to help you get to the true root cause of problems or issues.
Chris believes in working hard but that it is equally important to try and maintain a positive work/life balance. Chris enjoys staying active and traveling with friends and family on vacation. Most of his trips revolve around skiing or a beach. He has a long list of places he still wants to see one day including Egypt, the African safari, Bora Bora, New Zealand, and the Greek Isles. Seeing life through his daughter Addison’s eyes makes him smile on a daily basis and helps to put things in perspective. Some of Chris’ favorite possessions are sentimental ones; like artwork from his grandfather whom he never had the opportunity to meet and newer “pieces” from Addison. Chris is also a dog lover and lists ice cream as his favorite food.
Chris encourages future leaders to:
Always… listen, have fun, and challenge yourself.
Never… think you have all the answers, take yourself too seriously, or get complacent.
Follow… your passion, gut, and instincts.
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