Web Exclusives: Alumni Spotlight

Kim Goodwin '81 was number 45 on Boston Magazine's list of the 100 most influential women.

September 10, 2003:

Ignoring the naysayers
Kim Goodwin '81 makes her mark in finance

Though her family prized education, Kim Goodwin '81 knew that carrying books home from elementary school in her Cleveland neighborhood was a surefire way to attract bullying. So she did homework in class, making every minute count.

When she reached ninth grade, her mother took out a loan to pay for private school. There, studying was encouraged, but young black women were not. "There were few minorities," Goodwin says, and "lots of preconceived notions."

They didn't stand a chance against Goodwin's will to succeed. Today, the teacher who discouraged Goodwin from taking calculus can watch her on TV sharing her savvy as a panelist on Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street. Goodwin is managing director and chief investment officer for equities, overseeing 55 professionals and nearly $40 billion, at State Street Research & Management, a Boston mutual fund company.

She rose to the top of a profession unaccustomed to smart, ambitious women by putting in 12-hour days and embracing every opportunity. "There are certain situations where, if I had listened to the naysayers, I might have ended up doing something completely different," says Goodwin, who majored in politics at Princeton and earned an M.B.A. and master's in public affairs from the University of Texas, Austin.

Starting as an analyst at Mellon Bank, she was rewarded for her knack for analyzing numbers and choosing stocks, and quickly became a portfolio manager. She then became a vice president at Prudential and later a senior vice president at Putnam Investments, managing increasingly larger funds. She was the highest-ranking female investment executive at American Century Investments before leaving for State Street.

Her schedule is demanding, often restricting "family time" with her large extended family to e-mails and phone calls, but Goodwin, who is married to Jose Figueroa '81, has adapted because she believes fervently in her work's value. "Investing other people's money is a huge responsibility. It's their retirement fund, their kid's going-to-college money. Being entrusted with that is a real motivating factor."

By Regina Diverio

Regina Diverio is a writer, editor, and researcher from Andover, New Jersey.