Authentic business relationships are incredibly important to our long short equity team, so we’ve created a “Meet the Team” blog series in which you can get to know who’s working behind the scenes at Goodwood Capital Management. Worst case scenario? You “meet” an interesting new person. Best case scenario? Your path collides with ours and we create a genuine business connection.
Here’s Ryan’s take on Jonathan, followed by some fun facts from JB himself:
For many years at our prior firm, Maple Leaf Partners, Josh and I ran a summer intern program. We would interview a dozen or so candidates from LSU, Tulane, and some neighboring state universities, trying to find the best fit as equity research analyst interns. We made some really good (and really bad!) choices along the way.
What we learned over the years were the type of lessons that only come through experience in managing people within a small firm. We would choose the smartest guys and gals on paper, who turned out to have zero work ethic. We would choose the most tenacious guys and gals, who turned out to have zero analytics skills. We quickly learned that the optimal candidate needed a little of both, was willing and eager to learn, and wouldn’t take “no” for an answer. Essentially, we learned to look for folks just like us.
My personal favorite question to ask has always been, “What do your parents do?”
That one simple question can oftentimes tell you a great deal about a person’s motivations. Josh and I both are the sons of fathers that busted their butts (while busting our butts) to make a living for their families, and grinding it out every single day for us to have a greater opportunity than they had when they were young.
In the summer of 2013 we met Jonathan Bale, who would turn out to be our first hire at Goodwood.
Everything about our paths crossing was completely unpredictable. Here was a 25-year-old British guy, fresh out of business school after playing collegiate golf at a rural Louisiana university, who knew absolutely nothing about the investment business. He was clearly a bright person, but nothing about his work experience even registered as being applicable—on paper at least.
Ryan: “Jonathan, what do your parents do?” (in my best Anthony Hopkins accent).
Jonathan: “Why do you want to know that?”
Ryan: “Because I’d like to hear your answer and understand how you came to be in my office in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.”
His story was fascinating. This guy was born and raised 5,000 miles away in a tiny seaside town, truly left home at 18 years old, overcame cultural and economic hurdles, and had already traveled the world while playing golf for his country. A kid who literally lived in his car while traveling Europe to compete with the Welsh National golf team, yet was born within walking distance from one of the top golf courses in the UK and grew up playing with players that are now major champions on the PGA and European Tour.
Four years later, we can’t imagine a better person to help us grow the firm.
Fun Facts About JOnathan Bale
Sunrise, daylight, twilight, or night?:
Sunrise! I exercise early every morning. It gets the engine started ready for the day, and is really the only time of the day where there are no distractions.
Something most people don’t already know about you:
I was born and raised in the United Kingdom in a small seaside town called Porthcawl in Wales. I came to the United States on a golf scholarship.
Choose your age forever—what age and why?:
That’s a tough one as I’ve got a few more ahead of me that I have not yet experienced. But in the almost 30 years that I have, probably 20—I was a sophomore in University, traveling the world with my best friends, playing golf for my University and Country.
If you could be in any movie, what movie would you choose and what character would you play?:
Steve McQueen in The Great Escape.
Which historical figure would you want to meet?:
Probably Sir Isaac Newton, someone who deserves to see the difference they have made and maybe even answer some unanswered questions. It would also be very interesting to see what the greatest 17th century mind could do with 21st century knowledge.
Slogan for your life:
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
Favorite childhood memory that has stuck with you:
For family vacation, my whole family would go the Jersey (the island in the English Channel). Despite being very young, I vividly remember these trips and how much I enjoyed them. Brief history lesson: The Channel Islands (Jersey & Guernsey) were the only part of the British Empire occupied by Germany in WW2. If you get the chance to go, there are some incredible museums!
More about your golfing background?:
I started playing golf around 13 years old. My grandfather played golf most of his life, as did my mother when she was a teenager. There were always old clubs/balls/bags lying around in the garage at home. I went to the driving range one day with my brother and grandfather and never really stopped after that. Over the course of the next 12 years, I was fortunate enough to represent my Club, University and Country all over the world. To represent your country at anything is an honor. It was a lot of fun and an amazing experience!
What you do when you’re not working:
I love to travel. I have done my fair share, but there are so many parts of the world that I really want to see and experience. I also still really enjoy playing golf—nowhere near as competitively/seriously as I used to, but socially with friends is great fun! There aren’t many sports that you can play with anyone at almost any age. The game has and continues to connect me with some wonderful people from all over the world—I think that is pretty cool!
Favorite spectator sport to attend/watch:
Believe it or not, it’s not golf. I’d rather be playing! I really enjoy watching tennis; Wimbledon and the French Open are personal favorites.
Do you prefer Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter?:
None of the above. I really don’t like social media. If I have something to share with friends/family, I will send it to them personally.
We look forward to featuring more members of the Goodwood Capital Managment team in future posts.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Abby Brown is the Director of Marketing and Operations at Goodwood Capital Management.
Abby joined Goodwood in April 2017.