Joe Thomas

Vice President

International Acquisition Finance Department

Europe, Middle East, and Africa

Years in the industry: 10 years

Areas of focus: Stratum Investments, Leveraged Finance

Others: Founder of the Future Leaders Network

What do you do at Mizuho?

I work in Mizuho’s International Acquisition Finance Department (IAFD). My team is responsible for Stratum Investments (“Stratum”), IAFD’s rapidly growing Managed Account platform that invests in European private equity backed sub investment grade loans on behalf of Mizuho and third-party investors.

Specifically, my role is to market Stratum to potential investors and then structure deals that are tailored to their investment needs.

What causes are important to you?

Most of my spare time in this year has been spent training for a 100 mile ultramarathon to raise awareness of and money for people who suffer from MDS, a rare form of blood cancer that my Dad was diagnosed with last year.

Training has been brutal, just to qualify for the 100 mile event I have had to first complete a 50 mile ultra-marathon and also a regular marathon - no easy task considering the last running event I entered before this year was a 5k in 2018.

What drives you?

I like to think I have a healthy obsession with trying to bring the best out of myself and the people around me. Whether it’s trying to run a 100 miles or developing a top-performing fund in the market, I’m motivated by taking on big challenges that push me outside of my comfort zone and force me to grow.

Why did you start the Future Leaders network?

Having joined Mizuho as a recent graduate in 2014, I felt there was a missed opportunity to create an internal network for junior talent to collaborate and participate in the development of the group’s strategic initiatives. As a result, in 2018 I founded a diversity and inclusion group for junior staff called the Future Leaders Network, which quickly grew to 100+ members.

The Future Leaders Network aims to support engagement with the junior cohort with regular social events, ensures continued development through mentoring programmes and buddy schemes, and most importantly provides opportunities for junior staff to lead and participate in strategic decision making through regular meetings with the executive committee / senior management.

What advice would you give to yourself / others when starting out?

If I had to pick one - it would be to find a mentor. A great mentor can improve your decision making, facilitate a change in role, and ultimately accelerate your career. However, in order to get the best out of a mentor relationship, it’s critical that you first demonstrate you have the right attitude, and show a willingness to put in work to achieve your goals.

What do you do for fun?

I attempt (with limited success) to make people laugh as a comedian on the open-mic circuit in London.

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