01 August 2023 |

Why We Need A Thousand More Cathie Woods 


In a sea of Warren Buffetts and Charlie Mungers, one money manager has risen to prominence over the last few years – Cathie Wood

As the iconic founder and CEO of ARK Invest, she has gained widespread recognition (and criticism) for her bold investment strategies grounded in her beliefs (mind you, well-researched beliefs) that emerging disruptive technologies will improve the world and level the playing field. 

Or, in her words, “We look at companies differently – we want to see them investing aggressively in their future, even if it means forgoing short-term profitability.” 

Imagine that. 

In my Forbes article on Monday, I detailed Cathie’s journey and mindset, explaining how she built a thriving business that perfectly aligns with her values and vision. (You can read that whole story here). 

The first thing I learned from chatting with Cathie over a Zoom call is that she saw the old boy’s club blueprint, threw it away, and created her own metrics for success that are deeply rooted in her research, making her unwavering and unbothered

However, when I analyzed the coverage of her success, it became evident that most stories had overlooked an essential aspect – her inspiring life journey and the pivotal role of her mother in shaping her beliefs and convictions.

When asked who in her life taught her the most about money, Wood was shocked I asked. “I’ve never gotten that question before,” she told me, her surprise causing my smile to widen. I was so proud of myself for finding the one piece of information that had been missing from her seemingly chronicled life over the last three years.  

This brings me to the gender gap in media coverage. As I delve into the media’s representation of women in leadership roles, I notice a recurring trend – the focus on metrics, business propositions, and evaluation of their value as leaders. 

While these aspects are undoubtedly important, they are not the sole components that define someone’s journey to success. By neglecting to explore women’s personal stories and experiences, we inadvertently propagate the idea that women can only achieve success by emulating male characteristics and sacrificing one’s personal life

But Cathie’s story is an excellent example of how important it is to highlight the role of women in shaping leaders. Her true inspiration comes not only from her father but from her mother. Throughout her career, Wood has been deeply inspired by her mother (aka the “best economist in the world” in Cathie’s eyes), who instilled in her a drive to improve the world. 

As a child of Irish immigrants, Wood’s convictions were born from witnessing her parents’ determination to create a brighter future for themselves and their children. As a child of an immigrant mother, I, too, understand the mission of wanting to move the world forward because our parents left their comfort zones to provide a better life for their children. And Cathie’s desire to continue this legacy and positively impact the world is at the heart of her investment philosophy.

We must celebrate women who have succeeded on their own terms, remaining true to their identity and values. In the case of Cathie Wood, her unique approach and inspiring background should be celebrated, paving the way for other women to see themselves represented in the world of finance and tech. 

When we fail to recognize and acknowledge the life experiences of individuals, we close the door to diverse perspectives and talent. Imagine the countless potential Cathie Woods out there. Still, we might never hear their stories or benefit from their insights if we ignore the importance of representing people’s lived experiences in media coverage. 

Ultimately, I enjoyed getting to know the woman behind the numbers. Cathie Wood’s success is a testament to the power of one’s life experiences and the inspiration leaders can draw from the women who have played significant roles in shaping their journey. 

By recognizing and celebrating the contributions of women in leadership, we encourage more women to pursue their passions and thrive in traditionally male-dominated industries.

It is time to move beyond mere metrics and delve into the human stories behind successful women like Cathie Wood. 

By doing so, we honor their achievements and create a more inclusive and diverse landscape where countless potential leaders can see themselves represented and empowered to shape the future. 

We can shape a world where thousands of Cathie Woods are celebrated for their unique journeys and inspired by the remarkable women who came before them.

And in case you’re wondering, she’s a Fintech Is Femme fan. 

Check out the complete profile via my Forbes column here.