Tell us about your role at Chevy Chase Trust.
I am part of the equity trading desk and we handle transactions on behalf of all the portfolio managers. Along with that, I am constantly monitoring market conditions and any developments that may occur throughout the day with respect to our holdings.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I spend the morning digesting news: I listen to Bloomberg while I get breakfast ready for my kids, I check in on international trades, I check my email, and I keep my eye out for anything related to our holdings. Once the market opens, I constantly monitor what is going on while executing trades. It is important for me to be aware of anything our portfolio managers need to know and for me to alert them to it in a timely manner.
Tell us about your background.
I grew up right outside of Baltimore and I went to school at The George Washington University. My junior and senior years of college, I interned at an institutional investment firm near school. When I graduated, they needed help on the trading desk and offered me a position. I didn’t know much about trading at the time, but the head trader had faith in me – I was truly lucky to be in the right place at the right time. I worked there for 16 years, eventually being promoted to Head Trader myself.
What led you to a career in this industry?
My siblings and I are first generation college students in my family, so I wanted to study something that would benefit me in the long run. I knew that finance is the basic foundation of everything. If I studied finance, I would be able to make a career for myself.
What’s been the biggest surprise about your career?
That I’ve been doing this for so long. I consider myself really lucky. I’m grateful I get to do something I love.
What is the most rewarding part of the job?
There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new, and that’s why I’ve been doing this for so long. There’s never a dull moment.
What makes Chevy Chase Trust different from the rest?
The best part of Chevy Chase Trust is the leadership and the people, they truly make a difference. They are a great group of people to work with.
Did you have a mentor and what are some lessons learned from her?
Louise Toler, the head trader who encouraged me to become a trader in the first place, was and is my mentor. She taught me everything I know about trading. One of the most important lessons she taught me was not to take things too personally. Trading can be high pressure, and people can get emotional. Another important lesson she taught me was to strive for perfection; there is no room for mistakes in trading. If that means having to ask the same question multiple times, it’s worth it.
What would you do if not this?
Now that I have two kids, I think I would have liked to be an elementary school teacher. Those younger years are really formative and teachers have such an imperative role – to be a part of that would be truly amazing.
If I had nothing to worry about, I wouldn’t have minded being a chef. It’s not so much about cooking, more the environment. I think the pressure in the kitchen is probably similar to trading and that would be very exciting. You never know what is going to happen next, and you have to work in tandem with a team to excel.
Do you have a book or podcast to recommend?
I love podcasts. I listen to Tim Ferriss’s podcast, the Tim Ferriss Show, he interviews world class performers and they share their tips, tricks and tools to what made them successful. I also enjoy listening to The Drive by Dr. Peter Attia; he discusses overall wellness from physical to mental health.
As for books, I love The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom. It’s a fairly simple read, but a great reminder of four principles to live your life by: “Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best.”
What advice would you give to someone considering a career in your industry?
Always be curious and never be afraid to ask questions. The worst someone can do is say no. Also, seek out professionals in your area of interest– there are a lot of people who are willing to teach, educate and share knowledge.
What parts of your job do you find most challenging?
Trading requires a great deal of mental endurance. This can be a very high pressure position. It is important to be acutely aware of everything that is going on around me; this role is fast paced and requires multi-tasking, but nothing can slip while I am doing that.