Reaching for the Sun with Eugene Lundrigan

photo of eugeneEugene Lundrigan, president of Sun Life Institutional Investments (Canada) Inc., graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce from Carleton University. He went on to complete an MBA (Finance) from McMaster University. After working at the Bank of Canada, Eugene pursued a career at Sun Life. Since 1997, his positions have included vice-president marketing and strategy for Sun Life Hong Kong, vice-president for Sun Life Financial’s international investment centre and chief operating officer for Sun Life International Investments (Canada) Inc.

During Sprott’s Navigating Your Career—Toronto alumni panel in May, Eugene shared his experience about working in Toronto for over 20 years.

“Toronto, although a large city, is a small community for lot of industries. Because it’s a small community, a lot of people have multiple common contacts which allows you to actively build a network starting with a few people. But you have to be thoughtful about it. If you think about Canadian financial services—we have five large banks, three large insurance companies, and they in turn are the owners of many large asset managers and other financial companies. So chances are that you’ll work with somebody, or close to somebody, with ties to one of these large financial institutions and you can use that connection to help build your network,” share Eugene.

“For people who are new in their career, you need to set time aside to network. I think it’s a great idea to be involved in industry groups or associations to get your name out there and meet people actively. If you are thoughtful about it, people are generally more than happy to meet with you, talk about their careers and how they got to where they are. The job market is incredibly competitive, so having connections is a really critical part of getting ahead.”

Eugene said he made an active decision to work in Ottawa after finishing his education. A few years later, moving to Toronto was part of his career strategy to transition from his position at the Bank of Canada to work as an investment practitioner in financial markets. While working for Sun Life, Eugene was presented with the opportunity to move to Hong Kong where he would be heading Sun Life’s investment division in Asia. He said his time there taught him many important lessons and helped open doors in his career.

“Sun Life is such a large, well known financial institution in Canada that the things we needed to do to be successful here are remarkably different than what we needed to do in Asia where we are a small foreign company competing against other international and local firms,” Eugene expressed. “I think it’s really important for people as part of their career progression to take on roles that broaden their perspective and experience. For me it was a great opportunity and I really enjoyed working overseas.”

Keep an eye out for Sprott’s Navigating Your Career alumni panels in Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver this fall.