Women Leaders

Lori Pearson, Brookfield Asset Management

Lori Pearson

Embracing Diversity

Editors’ Note

Prior to joining Brookfield in 2003, Lori Pearson was with one of the big-four accounting firms, initially in a client-facing role and subsequently as head of human resources for the company’s Canadian tax practice. She is a Chartered Accountant and is on the boards of the Brookfield Foundation and Pathways to Education in Canada.

Company Brief

Brookfield (brookfield.com) is a leading global alternative asset manager with approximately $250 billion in assets under management. They have a history of more than 100 years of owning and operating real assets with a focus on property, renewable energy, infrastructure, and private equity. Brookfield offers a range of public and private investment products and services, and is co-listed on the New York, Toronto, and Euronext stock exchanges.

For a company like Brookfield, how do you define your role?

We invest capital and manage the investments on behalf of third parties, alongside our own balance sheet capital. We’re a global alternative asset manager with four businesses: real estate, infrastructure, private equity, and renewables. We’re in over 30 countries, and we have approximately $250 billion in assets. The organization has grown significantly since I joined over 10 years ago. My role as Chief Operating Officer is focused on the operations of our asset management business, specifically the functions that don’t involve the investing of capital and managing of the investments. It is specifically related to managing our growth in a way that reinforces our culture and operating philosophy as we continue to grow. Some of the hallmarks of our culture and operating philosophy include the way the teams share information across the businesses, the way we share resources, and our grow-from-within talent strategy. Making sure that is reflected throughout the organization is a key part of the role.

How challenging is managing the growth and is it hard to maintain culture when you’re growing at that speed?

It’s just something we have to be mindful of. It helps that we’re a very long-term focused organization, which requires constantly stepping back and seeing the forest for the trees, and it’s about being strategic and disciplined. This long-term approach applies to the transactions we do, the markets we choose to get into and how we get into them, and it applies to managing our people.

The fact that we have a very collaborative environment helps as well. Teamwork is an important aspect of our culture. We have worked – and continue to work – very hard not to have silos and to be very cognizant of sharing information, and of decisions that are being made in one business that could impact the broader organization. Our long-term focus and team approach really help to maintain our culture. This is why, for example, we are able to move people across businesses in order to develop the talent or resource a significant transaction.

Will you talk about Brookfield’s focus on diversity?

It’s very hard to be a successful global company without embracing diversity and, like most organizations, we are committed to it. At Brookfield, we have a tailored approach to developing executives, and this helps us factor in the needs of any one individual with respect to their own development, including gender-based considerations. In addition, we do track our progress in the area of diversity and are always looking to improve.