Category Archives: Career Inspiration

Success and Society with George Soros

Before he was an active philanthropist and busy fighting for voting rights, George Soros survived World War II while living in Nazi-occupied Hungary. Rising to become Chairman of the Soros Fund Management LLC headquartered in New York City, Soros’ story has been an incredible one. His journey led him to leave Hungary, eventually authoring fourteen books and becoming a successful hedge fund manager all while making philanthropical strides with Open Society Foundations. After fleeing Hungary in 1947, Soros made England his home, graduating from the London School of Economics in 1952. Upon graduation, he began his career in finance first as an entry-level investment banker in London, then moving to the United States in 1956. After gaining experience at several New York firms, Soros founded his own hedge fund company in 1973 called Soros Fund Management. Soros’ foray into this venture was hugely successful. Soros Fund Management evolved into the Quantum Fund firm, known for aggressive investments which successfully made returns upwards of 30% per year. Soros proved to be so accurate in his investments due to his talent at translating economic trends into market plays. Although he specialized in the short-term move, his big predictions always proved wildly accurate. Using his hard-earned insights, Soros churned out not one but fourteen books on the subject. His expertise has led him to become a best-selling author, with readers clamoring for his financial wisdom. His book subjects span a wide range of the global market, politics, and the economy at large. His books cover European Unions, the Crash of 2008, global capitalism, the Soviet system, and many other subjects. With his latest release in 2014, his insights continue to be fresh and relevant. In addition to his lengthy career in finance, Soros has made philanthropy a center focus in his life. Establishing his organization Open Society in 1979, Soros sought to establish open societies instead of governments following an authoritarian style of rule. He has set out to tackle this goal through a variety of ways. For example, he supports black students at the University of Cape Town in South Africa through scholarship support to give them an opportunity they may not have previously had. Soros has also begun supporting the fight against voter restrictions in the United States. Currently, there is a legal battle hoping to clear the way for more equal voting rights and Soros is ensuring Democrats have the financial backing to continue the fight. Republican-led legislation seeks to impose time restrictions on early voting and voter identifications that target the vulnerable’s right and ability to vote. Soros has noted his pride in this fight to ensure equal ground on Election Day. His philanthropy has also been a highlight of his career, crediting his success in the financial market giving him the freedom to pursue just causes. Although this work is certainly to be admired, his incredible success in the financial industry is an accomplishment that can stand on its own as well.

Kenneth Griffin, The Master of Philanthropy

Ken Griffin is a successful hedge fund manager. He is the founder and chief executive officer of Citadel LLC, a firm established in 1990. Since founding Citadel LLC, Griffin has seen his net worth and that of his company increase tremendously. According to the recent Forbes release of the 400 richest people, Griffin jumped up 14 places to number 89. Citadel LLC’s present asset value is estimated to be $20 billion.
One aspect that sets Griffin apart from other successful entrepreneurs is his philanthropic activities. He has been an active donor supporting various courses ranging from education to those that work on improving communities. Griffin has also donated to candidates running for public office. He broke the records in June 2014 by writing a $2.5 million check to boost Rauner campaign.
In February 2015, Griffin offered $150 million gift to his former university Harvard, as a financial aid to students. As a way of recognizing the gesture done by Griffin, the university renamed its Financial Aid Office in Honor him. This happened as the Harvard university leaders, alumni, and friends alongside the students gathered to thank him outside the office at 86 Brattle St. The gift was the biggest that Harvard University had received from a single donor. Griffin of noted that the experience he had at Harvard changed his life. He hoped that the donation would offer a similar chance to the brightest students in the nation and across the world.
Griffin has been a great advocate for charter schools. In 2006, his foundation together with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation funded the opening of Woodlawn High School, a new charter school, in Chicago. Griffins Foundation has also made several other donations that include a $10 million gift to the Chicago Heights Early Childhood Center. The foundation also donated $16 million for the Children’s Memorial Hospital. Griffin contributions and donations to charity have surpassed the half a billion-dollar mark helping different organizations in making a positive impact in people’s lives.
Griffin started his trading career while still a student at Harvard University in 1987. He operated from his dorm room with basic tools such as a personal computer, fax machine and telephone. His ambitions to start an outfit that would change the investment industry caught the attention of Glenwood partner’s founder, Frank Meyer. Meyer offered Griffin funds to invest in his business. This rare opportunity helped Griffin establish Citadel LLC. With his exemplary leadership and management style, Griffin has grown the company to its current success. Currently, Citadel LLC is a diversified financial institution. Under its operations, the company has Citadel Technology, Citadel Securities, and Citadel that engage in different lines of operations.
Griffin supports a number of cultural institutions within Chicago. Griffin has been appointed to serve in board of trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago, the University of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Whitney Museum. Griffin is also a member of different business organizations that include the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Economic Club of Chicago, and G100.

James Dondero: A Financial Genius

James Dondero is a veteran of the game when it comes to the investment industry. With a wealth of experience spanning more than 3 decades, he has extensive knowledge in high-yield bonds, leveraged bank loans, mortgage backed securities, emerging market debts, common stocks and preferred stocks among other financial fields.

Mr. James Dondero on linkedin, or Jim as he is commonly referred to, graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in commerce with the highest honors majoring in Accounts and Finance, Beta Gamma Sigma from the University of Virginia. He is also a Certified Public Account, a Chartered Financial Analyst and a Certified Managerial Accountant. He has affiliations with financial giants Highland Capital Management, NexPoint Residential Trust Inc. among many other companies and organizations.

In the 80s, Mr. Dondero managed around $1 billion for American Express. Between 1989 and 1993, Jim worked as Protective Life GIC’s subsidiary’s Chief Investment Officer where he drove the company from its infancy to $2 billion during the short period he was there. James co-founded Highland Capital Management in 1993 with Mark Okada help’s focusing on credit. The company has led the way in developing the Collateralized Loan Obligation market and finding credit based solutions for real and institutional investors globally. The company has received numerous awards for their other product offerings such as CLOs, mutual trust funds, hedge funds, ETFs and REITs. The awards received include the Lipper Award for Floating Rate Opportunities (2014) and Morningstar’s 5-star designation for Global Allocation (2014). The financial company currently has more than $20 billion under its management. However, part of this AUM is invested in equities.

Mr. Dondero currently serves as the President of Highland Capital Management. In May 2015, James was appointed as a member of the Nexpoint Residential Trust Inc. Board of directors together with Arthur Laffer. Dondero became Chairman of the Board while Mr. Laffer was appointed the Chairman of the Compensation Committee. Founder and chair of Laffer Associates, a firm for economic research and consultation, Arthur Laffer was part of President Ronald Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board. His works have earned him a reputation as the Father of Supply-side economics. He has served in Boards of both Private and Public companies before including the staffing company that was sold for $1.3 billion in 2009. Dr. Laffer has affiliations with the University of Chicago, the University of Southern California and the Pepperdine University. His Laffer curve that showed how government tax receipts can increase when federal income tax rates are reduced was one of the things on which Reaganomics was based.

Nexpoint Residential Trust Inc. is a REIT that trades publicly on the New York Stock Exchange. It basically focuses on the acquisition, ownership and operation of middle-income properties that have the potential to increase in value within large cities and the suburbs around such cities.

Currently, Mr. Dondero sits on the Board of Directors of MGM Studios, American Banknotes, NexBank SSB, Neighbor Inc. and Safety-Kleen Inc. among others. Jim is also known for his philanthropic activities.

Girls Should Take Inspiration From Susan McGalla

The business world can be an intimidating place for women at times, but it should not scare them away completely. Women may have to face more challenges than men do, as they enter the business world, but those challenges should just make them stronger. It’s not fair that women should have to go through more work to get to the same kinds of places as men, but since that is the way that things are, then women should just put their all into the work that they do, and they should make a good career happen for themselves, anyway.
But, even though the business world has quite a few more men in it than it does women, there are some women who have done exceptionally well in their careers. There are some businesswomen who have taken on all of the challenges that they faced and succeeded well at overcoming them. Businesswomen can be just as great as any businessman, and no one should ever doubt them and the things that they can do.
Susan McGalla is a businesswoman who has long had a sense of confidence in herself and the things that she knew that she could do with her life. She grew up with parents who supported her and showed her that they believed in her talents, and they helped to shape her into being the strong businesswoman that she is today. Susan McGalla is a great example to every girl who wants to have a place in a business one day, because she was not afraid to take on the challenges of being a woman in the business world. No, instead, she did everything that she could to make sure that she became a big name in it.
Any young girl who has a dream of being a businesswomen one day should find inspiration from the women who have gone before her. She should gather some courage as she looks to the things that other women have done, and then she should go ahead and try for a great career, herself. There are not nearly enough businesswomen out there, and it is time that all of that started to change. More and more young girls should start to realize that they can do anything that a man can do, and that if they want a place in the business world, then they should go ahead and try for it.