With her merited achievements and stark determination, Dr. Mary Daugherty has successfully shaped a career that utilizes her CFA designation and PhD all the while keeping her personal values a priority. When hearing about her numerous successes, many wonder, “How did she get started?”
When Daugherty distinguishably earned her Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in ‘86 by consecutively passing the grueling series of three exams, she could not have predicted the path her career was about to take.
After earning her general business degree from the University of St. Thomas in ‘80 and receiving her Master’s degree in Finance from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management in ‘82, Daugherty took her first professional position as an equity research analyst for First Trust. This is where she met her mentor, Gerry Bren, who she describes as an instrumental influence on her career. After a six year career developing her skills as an equity research analyst, Daugherty was about to take the biggest risk in her career by leaving not only First Trust, but also the entire industry to pursue a new path. That path being college teaching.
When Daugherty gave birth to her first child while at First Trust, she tacked on her company-allotted two weeks of vacation in addition to her six weeks of maternity leave in order to meet the demands of mothering her newborn daughter. However, her boss discouraged her from taking this extra time off as he said, “You are an officer of this company, so you should set an example.” Daugherty took the extra two weeks but did find FedExed documents on her doorstep for her to work on during maternity leave. It was not until she received a call from her husband while on a business trip in New York that she decided to leave her current position and look for a more accommodating career. She learned she had heartbreakingly missed her daughter’s first steps.
“Similar to many professional women in that era, I looked for an opportunity that would allow me more flexibility while still staying active in my professional community,” says Daugherty. So, what was the next step?
She simultaneously enrolled in a PhD program at the University of Minnesota while accepting a teaching position in the Finance department at the University of St. Thomas. During this time, she proceeded to have three more children and impressively wrote and defended her dissertation on private college endowment management. After six years of “a complete blur,” as she describes it, she earned her PhD in ‘93 and focused on building her consulting practice while also teaching as a professor at the University of St. Thomas. She would go on to receive four awards for excellent teaching awarded by faculty, students and alumni, and has been nominated for several more. Daugherty is known on the St. Thomas’ campus not only as an outstanding teacher, but as a generous, understanding and committed mentor. She says, “I love my job as a professor and do my best to bring out the talents in every one of my students.” Through mentoring, lining up job opportunities and helping students reach their full potential, Daugherty is always eager and happy to help anyone who knocks on her door.
While continuing with her teaching career, she decided to further utilize and monetize her PhD and CFA designation, and pursued consulting opportunities with individuals and corporations, including U.S. Bank. While building upon her consulting business, another mentor taught her an indelible trait. Daugherty says, “Tom Holloran role modeled by example how to collaborate and work together with people to get great things accomplished. I learned a lot by observing Tom in action. Tom recommended me for my first Board position.”
How has Daugherty created such success for herself in every aspect of her career, and what advice does she have for others in this industry?
Exceptional merit is not the only thing that has contributed to Daugherty’s success, “I don’t even know how to say ‘I can’t’.” She says this trait of insistent perseverance was ingrained into her through her family and mentors. As a mentor herself, she frequently tells her students, “I will always help those who help themselves.” In order to be successful in this industry she stresses the importance of reaching out to peers, taking on new challenges and look for opportunities to learn.
As a professor and consultant, Daugherty has a true passion for helping people. She currently serves on four different boards of directors and is an advisor and professor for the Aristotle Fund at the University of St. Thomas. She encourages all students pursuing jobs in finance and investments to get their CFA designation because of the “appreciation and breadth of knowledge” it entails. She also cannot stress enough the importance of reading and being well versed in all subject areas in order to further enhance one’s diversity of thought. In a world of increasing technology she reminds us, “Robots can do anything we can do, but they cannot be resourceful and creative. I would take a resourceful person over a smart one any day.”
Daugherty also strongly encourages young women to consider careers in the financial and investment industry. Presently, while businesses are more willing to accommodate the needs of mothers, she sees the male-dominated culture of this industry as still being prominent. While advising the Aristotle Fund, Daugherty has observed a wider range of ideas and problem solving strategies brought to the table when female and male students are collaborating. She urges more women to jump into the world of finance in order to bring different perspectives into this industry and ultimately bring a change to the current culture.
With her 35 years of success in the financial world, Daugherty would give young professionals this specific piece of advice, “Absolutely get a job, any job, and then be the best at that job you can possibly be.” This is certainly how Daugherty has seen such success in each aspect that her career path has taken her. Nevertheless, it is clear to see that, as a professor, she has ended up in a position she is highly skilled at, truly passionate about, and that which provides her an abundance of gratification. She recognizes how fortunate she is to be able to say that she leaves her “office”, her classroom, almost every day with a smile on her face!
Maria Vitale is a sophomore at the University of St. Thomas studying Economics and Political Science. She grew up in Stillwater, Minnesota and plans on pursuing careers in the financial industry upon graduating in 2020. Maria hopes to incorporate her passion for writing in any position that her career path may take her.