industry establiSHEd: Caron Schreuder & Beth Fisher
For today’s industry establiSHEd interview, we’re joined by Medianett Publishing’s Managing Director, Caron Schreuder and Publishing Director, Beth Fisher. Prominent figures in the world of financial editorial, Caron and Beth are responsible for driving forward publications and events, including Bridging & Commercial and Development Finance Today. They talked to us about the obstacles they’ve overcome, their greatest achievements, and which women they’d most like to have dinner with.
What do you enjoy most about working in financial journalism?
Caron Schreuder: “While I am not a journalist and focus more on the commercial side of Medianett Publishing, being around journos and editorial team members speaks to my wider appreciation for truth-seeking, curiosity and communication. How one chooses to convey and disseminate information in such a fast-paced sector—and during an undeniably life-changing period on a global scale—is important work.”
Beth Fisher: “Every day is different and it’s a constantly shifting environment, meaning I am kept on my toes and constantly intrigued. Finance and economics are also intrinsically intwined with politics—something I have a passion for.”
What are the biggest obstacles you’ve faced in your career?
CS: “Gaining and retaining respect has been a long journey, given the general makeup of this market. Along with that, keeping one’s eye firmly fixed forward, rather than being too preoccupied with competition, has also been challenging. Having faith in my convictions has allowed me to overcome both, for the most part, but it does require a great deal of backing oneself every day, because our representation and the pool of support can sometimes feel much smaller.”
BF: “It would be fair to say that early on in my career (thankfully this doesn’t happen anymore), I faced some hurdles with being taken seriously. As a 21-year-old woman, I found things were often explained to me during meetings and interviews which weren’t necessary. This has, however, sometimes worked in my favour. In the past, I feel that some people I have interviewed weren’t expecting certain questions, and them being caught off guard has given me some of my greatest scoops.”
What is your greatest achievement – professionally or personally?
CS: “Steering the business through 2020/21 is something I am particularly proud of. More generally, I have established good decision-making skills which I believe propels both my professional and personal life forward in a way that empowers me and those around me. Being able to stand by your choices is a trait that I have developed deliberately as I think this instils confidence and trust, in every sphere. Being outspoken about improving the representation of women (and, more recently, other minority groups) in this market is also an angle to this job I didn’t know I’d be able to find and nurture. It has been a central part of who I am for as long as I can remember, but to have it intersect with my daily professional life is incredibly rewarding.”
BF: “Launching the print Bridging & Commercial Magazine and being profitable from year one. Anyone who knows me well would know I have an extensive magazine collection—anything from Vogue, Love, Dazed & Confused to Playboy (circa 1960-70s)! Joining a strictly digital publishing house and helping create a print product that stands out from others in the market has been my greatest achievement, and this year is set to be its greatest yet in terms of circulation, readership, revenue, content, and strategic partnerships.”
What would you like to see more of in the financial industry?
CS: “I would like to see more business leaders reconsider motives that are driven by ego and for them to actively raise the profiles of people in their team. Some companies in our sector do this very well and they benefit from a wider, more representative presence; they attract and retain talent at a higher rate; and they get complete investment and buy-in from their people, which ultimately makes for a better business. By ‘better’, I mean sustainable and something to be proud of. I’d like to see the definition of success redefined, but it also be appreciated that being a ‘good’ and ‘successful’ business does not have to be mutually exclusive.”
BF: “Diversity. We’ve been banging the drum about this for years, and will continue to do so, but it’s about time words are put into action. It doesn’t just stop at women!”
What do you wish you’d known when you first started your career?
CS: “I enjoy feeling things out as they develop and can’t say that I have been hugely surprised or blindsided by much over the last 11 years. A huge amount has been learned, but I don’t know if I’d have preferred a forewarning—it’s all part of the experience to figure it out as you go.”
BF: “That it’s ok to take up space as a woman in a male-dominated industry and not let people talk over me.”
Who were mentors that encouraged you?
CS: “Incidentally, I feel that this industry lacks mentorship in the traditional sense, but, over the years, there have and continue to be special people who took the time to support and encourage me, and I can still call on those people to work through an idea or get some perspective. For me, honest, non-judgemental, kind people are the ones I have turned to as sounding boards. In a sort of reverse situation, I am encouraged by my team, daily, as they trust me to move us forward ns a positive, productive way. A mentor/mentee relationship works both ways, for sure.”
BF: “Caron has been a fantastic mentor throughout my time at Medianett Publishing. She has always pushed me to be my best self. My parents have also always given me the confidence to reach for the stars.”
What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
CS: “Listen more, and don’t try so hard to get people to understand you—those are not your people.”
BF: “To invest in Bitcoin and not dye my hair black.”
What fact would people be surprised to know about you?
CS: “I passed up an opportunity to go to university in Cape Town, where I’m from, and instead arrived in London in January 2006 for a ‘gap year’, a few months after graduating high school—it was my first trip abroad. I never left.”
BF: “I own a cream Morris Minor 1000, complete with red leather seats—but I can’t drive.”
If you could have dinner with three inspirational women, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
CS: “Chelsea Handler; my favourite comedian and talk show host, who has met so many people and has an admirably open, curious view on the world. She isn’t afraid to ask questions or appear uninformed in the pursuit of becoming a better person. Dolly Alderton; journalist, podcaster, author and girl about (London) town, whose relentless commitment to romance is joyous to me; and Candice Brathwaite – unapologetic social influencer, ambassador for equality and issues affecting mothers, style icon and bastion for honesty.”
BF: “Janis Joplin, Amy Poehler and Paris Hilton. I don’t think I need to explain.”