This week we are profiling our Founder and President, Michael Hubley! In 2001 Michael founded Executive Search Partners to strategically advise organizations in the risk management, finance and energy sectors and become an integral component in their long-term success. His knowledge of these industries is unrivaled, with over 15 years of experience in the trading profession, including a position as the Head Long Treasury Trader for Merrill Lynch Canada. He was also an owner and operator of a commodities trading company. With his deep understanding of these complex markets, he is uniquely situated to provide transparent and honest direction to the clients and candidates he advises.
In a recent interview with Michael, we dove more into his upbringing and background and how his passion for business and economics blossomed from an early age.
I grew up in Nova Scotia on a cattle farm, where we also grew our own fruits and vegetables. My grandfather and father, a child of the Great Depression, launched one of the largest aggregate companies in the Canadian Maritimes. They started it from nothing with no more than a flatbed truck and a snow shovel where they would hand shovel sand into a truck and drive it into the city. As the eldest child and grandchild, I was drawn to their conversations at weekly family dinners and gatherings – which primarily revolved around their business. I listened to them continually innovate and think independently to survive, which significantly impacted me growing up. While they managed their business, I essentially worked our farm. This taught me a lot about responsibility, but equally, it was an education on the interconnectivity of things – a critical concept to understand in economics.
Their entrepreneurial spirit also inspired me to start a few small businesses, including selling rhubarb to my neighbors when I was eight and selling firewood to pay for my college education.
Watching them navigate the business world was my first real introduction to economics and risk management. Their approach wasn't academically driven. Instead, it was a practical thought process with an adaptive ability to look ahead and predict what would happen next and create a strategy benefitting from their foresight. Neither my father nor grandfather were intimidated by taking risks or trying a different approach. More importantly, they understood how to take risks and manage the downside if things didn't pan out as they predicted. So, I was hugely influenced by this thought process.
I would say that school, in general, was a bit of a challenge for me. I went off to college in Halifax, just barely making it into a small business school. I didn't know it at the time, but I had a learning disability – dyslexia – that made school difficult. However, economics was something I understood well and thrived in. It just made perfect sense to me. So much so that I had the opportunity to tutor the wife of my economics professor!
Once I graduated, I had an opportunity to work for Merrill Lynch – it was the perfect fit for me. Being introduced by my father and grandfather to innovative and independent thinking early in life, I was excited to work with like-minded individuals. Moreover, the prospect of working alongside some of the brightest and most forward-thinking people in the industry was exhilarating – I just loved every minute of what I was working on. By the age of 24 and three years out of college, I was the top broker at the firm. By 26, I was promoted to the position of Long Treasury Bond Trader.
After leaving Merrill, I had a number of different career paths and adventures – experiencing several bumps and many highs along the way. Truth be told, I encountered a good deal of adversity. But, it was a precious lesson about life.
From my experience (and what I witnessed within my own family), I have learned that independent thinking is critical and that risk management is at the heart of success in investing. I understand that the world and money are all connected, and one affects the other in some form or fashion. The cause-and-effect thought process is central to how I view things. Another crucial point is that the markets really are more intelligent than any one person. Based on our own experiences and knowledge, we all have biased points of view. Therefore, listening to what the markets are telling you is critically important.
Firstly, I think it's essential to look at a career in risk management pragmatically. It's not an easy career path, and it certainly isn't for everyone. It takes a lot of confidence in one's self. Some sacrifices. And a heavy dose of resiliency. But it can be incredibly rewarding – and fun – too! So if you're interested in a career in risk management, I'd welcome the opportunity to discuss it with you further and assess if it's a good fit.
Michael and his wife Michele have four grown children and reside in Cohasset, Massachusetts. They are active community members and run a local Farmer's Market. Michael enjoys studying the markets, horseback riding and gardening.
Connect with Michael on LinkedIn to understand how he can support your business or career in risk!