MHB WEEKLY: By the students, for the world

Speaker Series: Wendy Webb | March 18, 2011

Each Friday, the MHB program hosts an industry pro with insight into career opportunities, marketplace trends and new ideas who engages students for two hours of class time. On March 11th, 2011, the speaker series featured Ms. Wendy Webb, the Managing Director of Investor Relations at Tennenbaum Capital Partners, a private investment firm based in Santa Monica, CA.

Ms. Webb, who previously spent two decades in investor relations at Disney, defined the world of IR and differentiated it from public relations, its sister industry. She underlined the importance of maintaining overall brand image and establishing personal relationships with shareholders, two initiatives accomplished through both direct communication (e.g., newsletters and press releases) and indirect communication, like well-positioned stories in the Wall Street Journal. While still at Disney, Ms. Webb headed The Walt Disney Foundation, the company’s goodwill organization, and she explored the overlapping objectives of IR and charity. Certain investors, for instance, might be attracted to a company’s stock if it maintains a socially-responsible and generally ethical profile; others look no further than the promise of financial gain and future stability.

As Ms. Webb explained, well-executed investor relations can yield visible economic rewards within an organization, and can fuel a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy: as potential shareholders are courted by IR pros by promises of growth, they collectively invest in a stock; then, as more of the stock is bought than sold, it naturally increases in value. IR is also good business within a corporation, as many major companies offer stock to employees as part of a benefits package — stock that the company wants held and appreciated, not sold and undervalued. Ms. Webb qualified the IR skill set as a combination of the left and right brain functions, as both a foundation of financial acumen and a working communication knowledge are essential tools in the field’s daily operations. Her presentation provided a first look into the IR profession, which has grown into an important position within any serious organization.

Continue reading for more about Ms. Webb and Tennenbaum Capital Partners.


You can find Ms. Webb on LinkedIn, and you can find a press release announcing her initiation at Tennenbaum here. For more about the company, which converts millions of client dollars into annual profits through strategic investing, you can read about its approach and key staff on its website. Ms. Webb’s Tennenbaum page can be found here.

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    Established in 2009 at USC, the Master's of Science in Human Behavior is designed to equip students with knowledge of consumer psychology, social media and market analysis skills. This is our blog. Subscribe

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