Tell us a bit about yourself, background and what you do currently
My name is Ana Čukić Armstrong and I am CEO of Armstong Investment Managers (AIM). I came to the UK from Belgrade aged 22 to study at Imperial College London and graduated with a PHD in Quantitative Economics and an MBA in Finance. Since then I’ve been an investment analyst at Coutts, Head of Portfolio Construction for the UBS Managed Accounts Programme managing $6bn, Director of UBS Wealth Management and co-head of Insight Investment’s $2bn multi-asset Group.
Now as CEO of AIM, my ambition is to challenge the norms of wealth management, building direct links between investors and Fund Managers and a centre of excellence for Managers reflecting both talent and consistency. As a mother of three, I believe passionately in the potential of women in the boardroom and inspiring others to follow suit.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
Even as a child, I always knew I wanted to run my own business. But I didn’t sit down and carefully plan out my career – in fact, most of the good things in my life have happened due to the unexpected. I did, however, work very hard to give myself a strong foundation, gaining qualifications and experience that would stand me in good stead and developing the work ethic that has helped me get to where I am today.
Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?
Absolutely – being a mother of 3 children and a CEO of an asset management business, I face challenges on a daily basis. But I keep on reminding myself that I can find a solution. In many ways, challenges keep me going.
What advice would you give someone who wishes to move in to a leadership position for the first time?
They have to believe in themselves and feel that they belong there. Plus they need to be willing to put in a lot of time and effort.
I hope to face new challenges, further develop my business, and most importantly be a role model for my daughter. I hope too to encourage and have a positive impact on the new generation of businesswomen coming through.
When faced with two equally-qualified candidates, how would you decide who should have the role?
Personality is very important – how the person will fit in the team, how ambitious and motivated the candidate is.
How do you manage your own boss?
That is a difficult one, being my own boss. But my three children help me to manage myself and to keep my work-life balance.
On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?
I start my day at 5am doing exercises with a personal trainer. Then I check the news and prepare 3 different breakfasts for my 3 children. I take the dog for a walk and I check my schedule for the day.
In the evening I like to take children to bed and read with my youngest son. I respond to my emails and update my “to do” list. I check that the kids’ homework has been done and is packed for the next day. And to unwind, I watch a movie or read a book.
What advice can you give to our members about raising their profiles within their own organisations
It is important to be proactive and to take the initiative, demonstrating to senior management that you can take on more responsibility.
How have you benefited from coaching or mentoring?
I have benefited from other women showing me that there is no need to sacrifice family life for your job; that it is possible to be a good mother while developing a career. We all are capable of multi tasking. It is always good to see how we can improve the career and life of another motivated, hard working individual.
As a mother of three, I believe passionately in the potential of women in the boardroom and inspiring others to follow suit.
Do you think networking is important and if so, what 3 tips would you give to a newbee networker
I would say that appropriate networking is important but over-networking is not helpful and can be time consuming. So value your time and choose events that will be most relevant to you. And at any event, I would say quality is better than quantity. Better to have three meaningful conversations with people who will remember you than to come home with a stack of business cards.
What does the future hold for you?
I am excited about the future. I hope to face new challenges, further develop my business, and most importantly be a role model for my daughter. I hope too to encourage and have a positive impact on the new generation of businesswomen coming through.