The New York Life Newsroom is running a regular series that focuses on how our people are living and working in these challenging times. Here’s our conversation with Craig Mepham, Director of Consultant Relations, MacKay Shields, a New York Life Investments company, who talks about how adjusting to his “new normal” boosted his confidence professionally and personally. Craig has been with the company for more than two years and is based in New York City.
1. Let’s start easy: How are you?
I’m good—actually, I’m really good! My partner, Justin, and I just got to Charleston, South Carolina, after being in our New York City apartment for the last three months and the change in scenery has been great. After staying in Charleston for a bit we will head to Savannah and then to Justin’s family in Atlanta.
2. Can you describe your role?
I work at MacKay Shields, one of New York Life’s investments boutiques, in Institutional Sales & Distribution and am a Director of Consultant Relations. My responsibility is to work with Asset Consultants who advise their clients on how to invest their money whether it be from pension plans, 401(k) accounts, or other assets. I work with these consultants to ensure they have a favorable view of Mackay Shields’ investment strategies and are recommending them to their clients.
3. Who have you been sheltering in place with?
It’s been me, my partner Justin, and our seven-month-old French bulldog, Frankie. We got her six weeks before the lockdown started, so the timing was perfect
4. What does your day look like now?
It’s pretty routine. When I wake up, I make sure to try and get in some exercise if I can, I walk the dog, and then log in around 8:00/8:30 a.m. I’m on calls most of the day, meeting with internal partners or investment teams and consultants—it’s pretty hectic till around 5:30/6:00 p.m. Then I go for a run in the evenings. I’ve been really happy actually because we have a great routine—I can’t complain!
5. How has your working life changed in the last few months?
I feel like my life hasn’t changed too much since working from home. I’m pretty routine-driven, so during the week has always been centered around work, gym, and studying for my Certified Financial Analyst exam.
A lot of my day is now spent on the phone or video conference—obviously there is less in-person contact, but surprisingly I am connecting with people more now than I felt like I did in the office.
This experience has given me added confidence in my abilities, both professionally and personally, while helping me focus on what’s important in life and what I want to achieve.
6. What do you miss most about the office?
I miss the social aspect—talking face-to-face—and stopping at a colleague’s desk to ask a quick question. It’s also nice to get out of the house and time away from my partner for at least a little while, even if it’s to go to work! The quality time together has been great, but I do feel like we are suffering from a little too much quality time together. Working and living together has had its challenges. I’m a very independent person so not having any alone time has been challenging, but we have managed to cope so far.
7. How are you practicing self-care right now?
Exercise has always been a stress relief for me, so I try to do that as much as I can. For the first month, it was tough—I really struggled with work/life balance. But I’m trying to be better about that now. I’ve been making myself run each day, and I’ve started doing my personal training session in the morning via Zoom.
I’ve also been listening to some podcasts while I run. One in particular that I really connected with is actually about work/life balance. I listen to Ariana Huffington, who started The Huffington Post, talk about really taking the time to rest, and switch off and how much more productive she is as a result. She has a rule of switching off all electronic devices at 9:00 p.m. and they aren’t allowed to be next to the bed. She only realized this after working herself to the point where she fainted at work and hit her head on her desk.
8. Have you learned anything new about yourself over the last few months?
I have always enjoyed change, but I never realized how much I actually thrive on it and how adaptable I am. Even in this environment, I have seen the opportunity instead of seeing things as a negative. I’ve really focused on developing relationships both professionally and personally during this time as well as focusing on some personal goals.
9. What are your go-to comfort foods during the lockdown?
I love to cook and bake, so we’ve been cooking a lot. I have made lots of chocolate chip cookies.
10. How exactly would you describe your corona-era wardrobe?
I would definitely describe it as “News Anchor”. It’s been professional up top for Zoom calls and very casual waist-down.
11. What’s on top of your to-do list when all of this is over?
A beach vacation, probably somewhere in Mexico!
Go back to our newsroom to read more stories.