Meet Alexandra Moncure, Reporter at the Financial Times
Alexandra Moncure is a reporter for the Financial Times publication MandateWire. She previously worked at Daily Candy, and we met when we both worked at Levo League. When Alexandra isn’t working, she spends time volunteering, being an active member of multiple organizations, and finding out the best places to go in NYC.
What are your roles and responsibilities as a reporter at the Financial Times?
I’m a reporter for the Financial Times publication MandateWire. We cover the investment trends of institutional investors, such as public and corporate pension plans, foundations, and university endowments. My focus is on endowments, so I interview the Chief Investment Officers (CIOs) at universities and colleges across the US.
What does a typical day look like for you? Please walk me through a day.
I read the top headlines on FundFire, Financial Times, and NY Times during my commute into our SoHo office to ensure I’m aware of any breaking news and investment trends that might affect the institutions I cover. I arrive in the morning and immediately start making calls to set up interviews or try to catch a few CIOs at the start of their day. I then spend the remainder of my morning helping get our issue together before it goes out at 11:00am. The rest of my day is spent researching filings with the Securities Exchange Commission and other financial reports, interviewing CIOs, and writing up articles for the following day’s issue.
You previously worked in business development. How did you switch industries and move into editorial?
I started my career in business development for one of the top pharmaceutical advertising agencies. Although I developed an incredible skill set, I knew that I really wanted to try to work in editorial and I decided to listen to that voice. I didn’t have any job experience in the field, but I took the plunge and accepted a position with DailyCandy. Sometimes it’s worth taking a sidestep in your career path in order to achieve long-term success.
What is the most important skill to being successful in your role?
The most important skill for any reporter is to be persistent, but personable. I learned this very quickly when I first started with MandateWire. Unlike my previous editorial roles at DailyCandy and Levo, I was calling people who didn’t necessarily want to talk to me. The relationships I develop with my contacts are imperative for me to do my job well.
What advice do you have for other people who hope to work in journalism?
Write as much and as often as you can. Your portfolio is your biggest asset and will make you stand out. As I learned from the closure of DailyCandy, always take screen shots or print out copies of your work. Even if it’s published online, it might not be available in the future!
You’re also extremely involved in the community. You are active with The Junior League, The Met, and The Whitney, and you are a volunteer with Covenant House. What are your tips for getting (and staying) involved in your community?
My advice for getting involved in your community is to join an organization that reflects your passions. For me, this is art and community service.
The arts have always been an important part of my life. My mother was a fashion designer in NYC before she married my father. There isn’t much in the way of a fashion scene in my hometown of Delaware so my mother passed on her love of art and creativity by bringing me to countless museums growing up. Although I have free access to many museums in NYC through the FT, I joined the Whitney to take advantage our their incredible programing, including artist studio and private art collection visits, after-hours tours, and some very fun parties!
Joining the New York Junior League (NYJL) has been by far the best decision I’ve made since moving to NYC. I have met so many wonderful, like-minded women through the organization, and many of them have become close friends. I’ve also had the opportunity to volunteer with incredible organizations such as Covenant House and All Souls Church Monday Night Hospitality Service, which both support the NYC homeless community.
I joined both of these organizations not knowing any current members. This might sound intimidating, but I just kept in mind that these are organizations of people who share similar interests with me!
However, as much as I would love to join every organization and go to every event, I have learned that I need to manage my commitments in order to not overwhelm myself.
Your Instagram account is one of my favorite accounts to follow. You go to so many fun events and venues in NYC. What are some of the must-see events and places for someone in NYC for a short time?
My favorite thing about NYC is the art and food scene. There are so many free art events to enjoy in the city, including performances in the park and gallery openings. I always suggest that my visitors not only visit our world-class museums, but also take advantage of the free access to beautiful works in the art galleries throughout the city.
Food and art are usually intertwined events for me. I always grab a piece of apple strudel after a visit to the Metropolitan Museum from the Neue Galerie’s gorgeous Café Sabarsky. I also love to nosh on mussels at Malaparte or pancakes at Bubby’s before exploring the Whitney or the galleries in Chelsea.
Other favorite spots include: Pig and Khao, Cherche Midi, Prosperity Dumpling, Russ and Daughters, Narcissa, Bar Primi, Grand Banks Oyster Bar, Dominique Ansel, Acme, Rose Bar, and Sweetwater Social.
What advice would you give to someone in the first five years of her career?
“Take criticism seriously, but not personally.” —Hillary Clinton
The time will come when your work will be criticized. When this happens, it’s imperative that you not only accept the criticism with grace, but understand and learn from it. I promise, your manager is not out to get you, but is rather helping you identify an area of weakness that needs to be developed to make you a stronger employee.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Comparison is a brutal attack on oneself.” —Cameron Diaz
Comparing yourself and your career to those around you is an easy trap to fall into, especially when you live in NYC. You are surrounded by some of the brightest, most driven people in the world. Let that energy be a source of inspiration and motivation rather than comparison. Everyone’s career is their own journey and there is no one definition of success.
Thank you, Alexandra!