Martha Everett — Director of Client Service
By age 15 I probably held the best Rolodex of babysitting clients in my hometown of Swarthmore, PA. I loved the responsibility and knowing that I could make myself helpful while also building a nest egg. To “market,” I walked my puppy down streets with toys in the yards, introducing myself to parents as their children pawed at his wagging tail. As parents circulated my name, I learned the business magic of referrals.
Once while paying me, a father asked what I did with the earnings from my busy babysitting schedule. When I boasted that I deposited everything into savings, he asked whether I ever invested in stocks. My jaw dropped. Stocks were for grownups, nowhere on the radar of this teenager. He then explained mutual funds, describing how I could invest in one for exposure to many stocks and over time watch my savings grow. Upon arriving home, I announced to my parents that I needed them to open a brokerage account to invest my first $1,000 of babysitting earnings in a long-term growth mutual fund. The seeds of a finance career were planted.
At the University of Pennsylvania, I majored in art history as I have always had a passion for museums and travel, seeing art and architecture as lenses through which to view people and cultures throughout history. Although not a business student, my teenage introduction to investing fueled a daily routine of reading the Wall Street Journal, watching CNBC and tracking stocks from my dorm.
Later in my twenties, while working in a junior role at the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church, I developed an interest in institutional asset management. Lacking an academic finance background, I decided to pursue an MBA at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. At Kenan-Flagler, I joined the Applied Investment Management program, in which a small class manages a sliver of the school’s endowment. While most members only wanted to research and trade stocks, I recognized the necessity for a marketing manager to liaise between the class and the program’s board. Knowing we could not simply hand out stacks of spreadsheets at board meetings, I worked with the portfolio managers to develop comprehensive presentations and reports.
This process of communicating about investment strategy and results is based on a simple but important premise: it is a privilege to manage other people’s money. Investors have a universe of options, so you must make every communication count in demonstrating the value you offer. These lessons, coupled with my personal desire to add value and earn trust, naturally oriented my career toward investor relations and client service.
Following graduation, I joined Belltower Advisors in North Carolina, a start-up long/short equity hedge fund, where my job was to build and manage the marketing and investor relations functions. I learned all the inner mechanics of a hedge fund while hitting the road to build relationships with investors. This prepared me for moving to New York to join KLS Diversified Asset Management, a $3 billion-plus fixed income hedge fund manager. At KLS, I spent almost five years helping to build the firm’s investor relations function into an institutional-quality operation serving a rapidly growing client base.
When introduced to Daruma, I immediately knew that this is a unique firm. Like the stocks in Daruma’s portfolio, every person at Daruma counts and the entire team shares my passion for delivering excellence to clients while striving to improve the business. I think of my role here as being like an invisible wheel, always turning quietly and smoothly in the background — contributing to the success of the entire firm by meeting and anticipating our clients’ needs.
As a babysitter and then an art history student, I never imagined living in New York and working in finance, but my experiences, coupled with a persistent desire to work hard and be helpful to others, paved a road toward serving clients. I am proud to be a part of Daruma, and I look forward to delivering excellence to our clients while developing relationships to build the firm’s future.