Alumni Profile: Derek Sheeler ’97

February, 2009

by Rhiannon Hutchinson

sheeler

With a passport about as thick as War and Peace, Derek Sheeler gives new meaning to the term jetsetter. “I spend 35 to 40 percent of my time traveling to speak with the executives of companies and policy makers,” says Sheeler, the chief investment officer of Legatum Capital, an investment company based in Dubai. “You can’t just read the newspaper and think that you know what’s happening.”

Armed with what he learns in his meetings with global movers and shakers, Sheeler chooses which opportunities are the best investments. Legatum then puts its capital behind those investments, creating new jobs and incomes that help developing countries grow and prosper.

In addition to his work of evaluating investments, Sheeler also places transactions in the world’s major markets—up to half a billion dollars’ worth a day. His days often stretch into nights, since there are only three hours out of 24 when the major markets are all closed, yet Sheeler finds his work deeply fulfilling. “It gives me joy to make a small impact on the world around me,” he says.

Sheeler credits much of his career success to what he gained as a student at Plymouth State University. “PSU gave me what I needed, when I needed it,” he says. “PSU was, by far, the best and most influential educational experience I have had. At a time when I was open and hungry to learn as much as possible, the professors were there, both in and outside of the classroom, to help me, to counsel me, and to challenge me.”

Among Sheeler’s mentors were Professor of Business Ned Harding, economics instructor Colleen Brickley, Associate Professor of Economics Michael Couvillion, Professor of Accounting Frank Kopczynski, and Professor of Business and Communication Studies Warren Mason, whom he credits with teaching him the art of effective business communication. “It’s not enough to simply know the answer; if you can’t communicate your thoughts to others and influence them to take action, then you will never have impact,” he notes.

“I was blessed to study under them,” he says, “and PSU is blessed that they continue to serve students today.”

Rhiannon Hutchinson is a freelance writer based in Windsor, VT.


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