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Fengate employees participating in the Urban Land Institute's Women's Leadership Initiative.Provided

People, excellence and growth are the three standing pillars at Fengate Asset Management, but leading the way is people, says chief human resources officer Jennifer Honey Brannon.

“We have people first because people are our most important part of how we do our business,” says Honey Brannon. “So in everything we do and every lens we use, we prioritize our people first.”

Fengate, headquartered in Toronto, is an alternative investment manager with more than $8-billion in capital commitments under management. Its focus is on infrastructure, private equity and real estate. With more than 200 employees in Ontario and team members across North America, Fengate is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

“We have a philosophy at Fengate that if we bring in the right people, we attract them, we reward them and we make sure that they have a good place to come and work every day, that will show up in our return to the three pillars of people, excellence and growth,” Honey Brannon says.

Tara Speers, senior vice-president, investor relations and capital formation, agrees. “We can’t execute on excellence and growth without the right people,” she says. “We always talk about the right people on the team that allow us to focus on excellence.”

Infrastructure, private equity and real estate are the three investment strategies Fengate offers.

“The most important thing we do is communicate to our investors about the projects they’re investing in and we provide a high level of reporting and customer service,” says Speers. “We’re responsive to their requests and, in addition to existing investors, we’re always working to grow our investor base.”

Excellent communication is required for Speers’ team and all employees. “It’s the willingness to take the extra step to ensure that everything is ready,” Speers says. “Double-checking, triple-checking numbers so that we have conviction when communicating to our investors.”

Fengate ensures employees are well-educated with opportunities for training and upgrading.

“We’re focused on excellence so we ensure our team members are trained properly and they understand the role and responsibility that is expected of them,” says Honey Brannon. “We have an in-house learning and development team who deliver a variety of workshops and other learning opportunities every month.”

The firm also uses the mentoring platform Ten Thousand Coffees. “We offer all employees the opportunity to be a mentor or mentee through this platform, matched based on skill and interest. The program encourages connection and shared experiences throughout the firm,” Honey Brannon adds.

Part of Fengate’s growth is employees’ personal growth. “That means providing a healthy learning environment for all of our teammates to continue to grow and improve their skills,” says Speers.

As employees advance and Fengate grows, new hires are needed.

“Our onboarding of new employees involves their advancement through the different parts of the employee life-cycle,” Honey Brannon says. “I believe they’re enhanced by demonstrating how each of our three pillars touch every aspect of their role.”

She says that when doing due diligence for each deal, the teams look at what kind of people are part of the investment and what excellence looks like.

“Our focus on people, excellence and growth is how we continue to grow our company so we have strong returns for all our clients, including the pensioners and unions we carefully manage investments for,” says Honey Brannon. “We just live our values amongst those three pillars.”

A retreat for all employees is planned celebrating the half-century milestone for Fengate.

“‘People, excellence and growth’ really has driven our company to the success which we see today,” Honey Brannon says.

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