The Mamalode Starter Series is an exciting opportunity for us to introduce you to some of the amazing people we get to meet. Starting something takes enormous amounts of work, faith, help and community. Every week we'll share another story of starting. So, community of Mamalode, read up, get inspired and check out these wonder-folk.
Interview with Danielle Hughes, CEO of Divine Capital
Tell us a little bit about your business and how you started it.
I was working at a good sized financial firm, making markets in over-the-counter equities in the Go-Go 1990's in Jersey City. I worked my way up from being the assistant that screamed some stock order across the room to a Vice President running the IPO and Secondary desk. I was an anomaly because apparently most women did not find that screaming at people across the room was a worthy endeavor. Also, the male to female ratio on trading desks at that time was about 9:1, which was why I got into this business in the first place.
I figured out that I had a lot of profitable skill sets like trading and having clients, and at a certain point, I was having so much fun I thought I should have even more fun by starting my own trading firm. Only I didn't have that operating-a-business skill set. I started the firm with a partner in 1999 and then he ran out of money so another partner came in and he ran out of business ethics (or maybe never had any) so I ended up buying everyone out on September 6th, 2001—two blocks away from the World Trade Center. The name of the firm changed to Divine Capital because I believe we answer to a higher calling.
Over a time that was too long by most standards, I learned how to collaborate and take myself seriously and build teams and lead people authentically. And eat bad guys for breakfast. We are an investment banking, trading and wealth management firm that creates capital—financial capital, relationship capital, knowledge capital—for individuals, families and institutions. Personally, I’m thrilled by the fact that we are seeing more women-led businesses seek investment and that more women are endeavoring to become financially savvy.
What do your kids think about your job?
They know I am the boss of something. They think that I might run the stock market.
Tell us about a total mom + biz fail?
That time that my stress was a 9.9 on the richter scale for my entire second pregnancy because the global markets collapsed. I know how many times I believed in my own head that I failed, but I asked my children to tell me about a time when they felt that I had chosen my work before them and they said “never.”
Maybe it was because they were eating ice cream at the time because the next day my son wailed at me when I picked up the phone in my office and he said “You are always on the phone, you love that phone more than ME! DON'T I MATTER TO YOU ANYMORE?”
Share with us a total win (brag away!)
Divine Capital was just named Women-Owned Brokerage Firm of the Year by Traders Magazine. It's a big deal.
What's your relationship with Mamalode?
Dori Gilels is one of my oldest, dearest, roomateyist friends and she's also perfect, which you obviously already know. I am in love with Mamalode. It makes me feel like I am not the only one.