Helen Cristales Harge

Helen Cristales Harge — Director of Administration

Our People

Founder, CEO and CIO
Research Analyst
Trader and Research Associate
Research Analyst
Director of Client Service
Chief Operating Officer
Director of Administration
Research Analyst
Research Analyst
Administrative Assistant
Senior Research Analyst
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Compliance Officer
Client Service Associate
Director of Research
Assistant Controller

From a very young age, I took an interest in planning and details. Growing up in the Bronx, some of my favorite memories are of my family’s trips to Playland, a retro-themed amusement park in Rye, NY. I loved going there and we went several times each summer. I always found myself pestering my parents about which Saturdays we were going. When they finally gave me a date, I would always follow up with them a day or two prior to the big day to confirm we were actually going. I would create mental checklists in my head and actually fall asleep going over them, and sometimes even dream about them - I was the world’s first 8 year-old project manager!

The morning of the big day, I was always ready with my checklist: Step 1: wake my parents at first light to confirm we were indeed going (weather and parents’ mood permitting…); Step 2: wake up my sister, eat breakfast (accompanied by watching some morning cartoons, of course), and get ready for the day; Step 3: see if my dad needed help getting the cooler together.  These were all the things I considered to be vital to make the trip a success. I naturally took on this responsibility and enjoyed it. For me, taking ownership not only encompasses things I like to do — such as planning and defining the details — readying the ship and captaining it to the destination is the key to getting things done.

My first job out of college was working as an administrative assistant at a futures brokerage firm. Just less than two months into working there, the trade desk clerk left us and I was asked to take over this new role. On my first day as the new member on the desk, I was given a booklet with the symbols used for trade tickets and futures contract specs and was expected to memorize it all. I would be lying if I said that I was not nervous when I joined the trade desk, and it wasn’t until I called in and placed my first pit order, in the crude oil market no less, that I became comfortable and felt more at home. Before long, I had systematized all of the processes shown to me and tweaked them so they could be done in less time. For electronics orders, I figured out the shortcuts for each electronic trading platform and used the least amount of keystrokes possible to place orders for each. I also memorized all actively traded account numbers, eliminating the need to ask the brokers or look them up, which became a very valuable time saver.

Shortly after taking on this the new role, I was asked to diversify my set of responsibilities, both on and off the trading desk.  To accommodate some of the new duties, I earned my Series 3 license, became an Associated Person and Principal and ultimately worked with in all areas of the business.

I love the challenge of finding ways to make a process better by experimenting, learning and being creative. When I first walked into Daruma’s office, I knew it was the place for me. It had a different feel and look than your typical financial services firm; it was clear that I would thrive here. Working at Daruma has allowed me to take my interest in processes and workflows to the next level. I have learned that the small things can sometimes make the biggest difference.