Men Bet Against Her; $26 Billion Later They Respect Her

Dawn Fitzpatrick manages the billions in family wealth of the investor George Soros.  In 1992 as a clerk on the American Stock Exchange trading floor, Dawn Fitzpatrick sensed that the odds were against her.  Surrounded by men in suits woofing trade orders across the floor, Dawn stood out in her pleated skirt and twin sweater set, her male colleagues placed wagers that she would not last in the business.

The trading floor of the American Stock Exchange in 1992, when Ms. Fitzpatrick landed a job with O’Connor & Associates as a clerk. Credit: Alan M. Rosenberg/AMRPhoto

Ms. Fitzpatrick started her career at O’Connor & Associates, then a unit of UBS and had risen to become chief investment officer to steer the firm through a period of market upheavals that would leave some of the biggest names on Wall Street bankrupt.

Ms. Fitzpatrick said that, on the whole, she has not felt discriminated against because of her gender in the workplace. At UBS, Ms. Fitzpatrick kept a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes under her desk but often walked around the office barefoot, a display of her confidence.

“Clearly, there are single moments in time when I would have rather been a 6-foot-3 blond-haired ex-football-playing guy,” she said. “But those tended to be offset by the times when I thought it was an advantage to be a woman.”

Today, Ms. Fitzpatrick takes on her biggest role yet, working for the estimable octogenarian investor and philanthropist George Soros.  Ms. Fitzpatrick is bullish. She believes stocks in the United States, having hit record highs, can rise higher still. But she attributes this optimism to what she says are fundamentally healthy companies, not investor giddiness over the Trump presidency. “In reality, if we had Hillary Clinton as our president, I think we’d be here or higher,” Ms. Fitzpatrick said.

As the first female chief investment officer at Soros, Ms. Fitzpatrick becomes a woman with few peers; most everyone managing such a large pot of money on Wall Street is a man.  Succeeding against the odds, Fitzpatrick is one of Wall Street’s most powerful women managing around $26 billion of Mr. Soros’s personal and family wealth.