Fast Fire Questions: Ellecia Saffron


Ellecia advises firms and funds globally to connect with the Middle East and Asia Pacific. Maysaffron, which she founded in 2015 is the solution for institutions wanting to connect intelligently and effectively with the Middle East region. They have raised >$500m in capital, advised on more than $35bn in transactions and currently advise groups with assets totalling more than $18bn AUM.

Formerly a Fund Manager at the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Australia, Asia Pacific & Global mandates) and prior to this a Research Analyst at Macquarie Bank, Ellecia is currently an advisory board member of the Australian UAE Business Council Co- Chaired by The Honourable Christopher Pyne and HE Badr Al Olama. She is Deputy Chair of 100 Women in Finance Middle East & Co-Deputy Chair Australian Institute of Company Directors Middle East Committee. She is passionate about community and giving back. In 2018 she was one of 100 recipients in the UAE of an award in honour of the Founder of the UAE the late Sheikh Zayed, for contributions to the business community.

You can listen to Ellecia’s Tilly Money podcast episode here.

1. Did you have a business mentor or someone that inspired your career path journey?

Several. My current business partner David is also a mentor, as is Mark, who doubles as a mentor, friend and advisor to my firm. Both have believed in me, supported me, given me opportunities and shaped my life significantly. They aren’t afraid to say what they think needs to be said also. But mostly they are supportive. There is deep respect, I’m extremely grateful for them.

My previous bosses from both ADIA and Macquarie also shaped my life and were mentors. It’s important however to have mentors outside your immediate work environment to keep you level and help give perspective. That’s where my paddling coaches actually act as mentors, I have been using their approach to coaching us in thinking about my work and business (they probably don’t even realise this!).

In each mentor relationship I have, I have sought these mentors out. They didn’t knock on my door.

So my message is to be fearless and reach out to people you admire, would like to connect with or would love some guidance from. You’d be surprised how many successful people want to give back and will support people they connect with and believe in. They get something out of it too.


2. What are some of the lessons in leadership that you’d encourage other young, aspiring businesswomen to remember and implement?

Be assertive but positive. Good people respond well to direct messages, opportunities and positive praise. People love encouragement – I certainly do.

As the old saying goes “You get more Bees with honey” (but don’t be solely a people pleaser, no one respects that).

I also learnt from another mentor Mo, to be fair and generous, make sure others win with you and leave something on the table for the next person.


3. What is your approach to money and personal finance, and do you have any money rituals or habits?

Measure and monitor has been my focus lately. As is diversification. Cliché but a worthy reminder always.


4. What is your proudest career achievement?

I was going to say taking the leap and starting my business but honestly the failures in business are actually my proudest moments.

Let’s be real here, everyone has failures. It’s how we respond to our failures that really matters.

We particularly have failures in my area of business, not everything works and we don’t ‘win’ everything we do.

I’m most proud when we have a ‘failure’ and we rise to it, learn from it and keep supporting each other. We re-adjust our Crown and keep going.


5. What money/business/life advice would you give to your 21-year-old self (if she’d listen)?

You’re amazing, loveable and capable.

Mine needed/needs to hear that and I think many of us could do with telling our 21-year-old selves this – it’s a fairly vulnerable thing to admit though.



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