Interview with Jennifer N. Cooper, IACCP®, Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Financial Officer, Martingale Asset Management, L.P.
We sat down with Jenn to learn more about how family values and a strong work ethic have propelled her to become Partner, Executive Vice President, Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Financial Officer, responsible for the compliance, administrative, and financial matters of a growing asset management firm.
Who are your biggest influences?
I’ve been fortunate to have many people in my life that have been amazing influences and strong role models. I’ve always felt that you can learn something from everyone you meet.
It all started with my parents. I grew up being told that if I worked hard enough, anything was possible, there was no limit. From the beginning, they encouraged me to always seek opportunities to learn and challenge myself.
Not only does it keep life interesting, it also helps you to continuously grow and discover new things you’re capable of along the way. My parents led by example.
Even though they were totally different people, both had qualities that they instilled in me that continue to be hallmarks of my life – strong work ethic, integrity, diligence, intellectual curiosity, kindness and most of all, sense of family. My mom used to always say “enjoy life, this is not a dress rehearsal”, and my dad’s favorite saying was “never give up”. Life is unpredictable, but my parents instilled in me the confidence to know that if I do my best, work hard and believe in myself, I would figure things out. I’m thankful and blessed for what they taught me.
What drove you to start your company or firm?
While I did not start Martingale, I have had the pleasure of working closely with its four founders and the opportunity to carry on the leadership of the firm as a member of the executive management team. Successfully navigating this management transition and bringing together a highly talented group of associates to build the business to new heights has been tremendously rewarding. We pride ourselves on being a thoughtful, innovative firm and much of our success is directly related to the collaborative work environment established by Martingale’s founders that still exists today.
Here at Boston Private we understand that wealth rarely has to do with money. What is your wealth really for? Tell us a little bit about what motivates you – the Why behind your passion and Why you work so hard to achieve your goals?
Personally, it allows my family and I to live life with a sense of security, adventure and accomplishment. From a business perspective, it is exciting to be part of a company that continues to grow and thrive in a challenging industry. I’m determined to work hard not only for myself, but for our clients and employees. What motivates me is helping others achieve their goals and hopefully inspiring people along the way.
As a business person, what has been your biggest challenge and how did you overcome it?
Finding the right balance between work and personal life is challenging. Over the years, I’ve learned helpful strategies, but it continues to be a work in progress.
Sometimes life’s challenges can be some of its greatest gifts in the end. My strong sense of self has been vital throughout my life, but especially in navigating my career in the business world.
What are some of the things you have learned about yourself that surprised you most?
Some of the most important life lessons and skills were taught to me by my parents and others during my childhood, not in college or business. Only later did I come to realize how critical these qualities I took for granted were to successfully navigating my business career.
I tend to shine when the pressure is on – challenging situations are the most interesting and fun to work through. I’m able to compartmentalize well, concentrate though the chaos and make it to the other side. Running a business can have so many different challenges – whether they’re internal or external. I love my job and helping others, that motivates me and allows me to focus during the tough times.
“If I could spend 30 minutes with a person of import, it would be….
Abraham Lincoln – as if ending the Civil War and abolishing slavery isn’t enough, he was one of the most effective leaders in history. He was a self-taught man with a strong sense of purpose and great character – an inspiration and brilliant leader from both his heart and mind.
He surrounded himself with people with different perspectives and was an amazing listener. He believed diversity of thought and experience broadens your perspective and can help you solve the most difficult problems. These qualities and beliefs transcend the years and would be helpful in business, life and politics today.
If you’re strong enough and willing to listen to the conflict and people’s differences, and collaborate on a solution, the end result will be better. It would be fascinating to have a conversation with such an effective leader and extraordinary human being – 30 minutes wouldn’t be enough, but I’d take whatever I could get.
My favorite part of the day is...
End of day – where I can reflect about how it all went, focus on what I learned and strategize for what lies ahead.
Martingale Asset Management, L.P., founded in 1987 and located in Boston’s Back Bay, specializes in innovative quantitative investment solutions. They are a $10B investment management firm managing assets for some of the world’s most sophisticated institutional investors www.martingale.com