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The regional developer for the big investors

Kathleen Ffrench, BA 01
By Damon van der Linde

50 under 50: Corporate leadership

Kathleen Ffrench, BA 01 “The co-op program allowed me to acquire relevant work experience, develop a network of professionals in my field and try different career paths.”

Kathleen Ffrench is vice-president at Northleaf Capital Partners, a global private-market investment- management firm with more than US$12 billion in commitments under management.

Selling mid-market private equity, infrastructure and private credit to large investors, including pension plans, foundations and wealthy individuals, Ffrench is working a dream job for business-development professionals in her field.

She was selected to open the company office in Montreal in order to grow a new market from Ottawa, across Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.

Ffrench began her career in finance while studying economics through a placement with Concordia’s Co-op program. She didn’t know at the time that she would someday be entrusted to a regional expansion for a leading firm with offices in Toronto, Montreal, London, New York, Chicago, Menlo Park (San Francisco Bay area) and Melbourne.

Concordia’s contribution to success

“The co-op program allowed me to acquire relevant work experience, develop a network of professionals in my field and try different career paths. When I completed my BA, I had job offers for positions that were in very high demand and would have been difficult to get without the Co-op experience.”

Best career advice received

“My father told me to always show up to work a bit early, do more than what was asked and never burn any bridges with the people I worked with.”

Inspiration while studying at Concordia

“My mother inspired me. She obtained her bachelor’s degree while working full time and raising a young family. It took her nine years and she graduated the same year I graduated from high school. Whenever I felt overwhelmed, I would think of her to put my own challenges in perspective.”

Biggest career challenge

“My biggest challenge was navigating some very political workplaces. I am much happier and motivated working as a team, focusing my time and energy on helping clients achieve their objectives and getting promoted based on my contributions and achievements. I’m at the point in my career where a firm’s culture will trump the compensation package.”



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