This was a key message from Advance's first Lounge Chair Series at the Andaz Hotel in West Hollywood last week, where business reporter Louise Pennell chaired a panel of three Australian-born leaders of industry working in America: Taco Bell Corporation President and Chief Concept Officer Greg Creed; Andrew Cohen, Head of J.P. Morgan's Private Bank in Los Angeles; and Shane Brennan, Executive Producer of NCIS (the number one scripted drama on U.S. television) and NCIS Los Angeles, (the number one new show on television this season).
J.P. Morgan's Mr. Cohen agreed that unemployment was likely to remain a critical issue, especially in California, where the unemployment rate stands at 18 per cent.
"Credit is freeing up a lot more at the corporate level, and credit markets are fluid and working, but I think many people in big business would probably know that on the private level, and on the small business level, it's still very tough," said Cohen
Unlike other major banks - and most companies in other industries - Cohen
said JP Morgan
had fared well during the recession.
"We've had an incredible two years," said Cohen
"We have great management and are now in a position to grow while other firms have faced bigger challenges.
Here in California, our private banking business is robust and client service is our top priority, so we intend to continue hiring to keep up with our strong business momentum."
And hiring in the worst global financial crisis since the 1930s, said Cohen
, means "it's a biased market right now for us".
"At all levels of the organization we've been able to upgrade with people who either didn't think to work in our industry, or were great and lost their job at other banks because they were part of a head cut," said Cohen
"Intellectual capital is key, but the emotional quotient - not the IQ the EQ - is something incredibly imperative in a recession," said Cohen
: "I use the example of, right now, an organization can either spend time putting picks and stakes and building fences to protect what they've got, or while everybody else is focused internally, take the opportunity to go out and grow your business."
Creed: "I agree with Andy