MEREDITH WHITNEY

Chief executive officer, Meredith Whitney Advisory Group

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

EDUCATION

The Madeira School, class of 1987

“I straddled the nerd world and the fun world. I loved Model UN, but then I was also reasonably athletic.”

Lawrenceville School, class of 1988

Did an extra year of high school

Brown University, class of 1992

WORK EXPERIENCE

1977-78

Papergirl

“When I was 8, I had a paper route for two years. I was the youngest Washington Post deliverer. I got a plaque because I delivered through the blizzard of 1978.”

1983

Busgirl

1989

Checkout girl at Stop & Shop

“I worked at Stop & Shop one summer on Cape Cod. I’m excellent at packing bags. Always eggs on top.”

1993

Joins Oppenheimer as an analyst in oil and gas research

“In school, I didn’t even know research existed. Research didn’t get cool until Henry Blodget in the late ’90s.”

1995

Joins Oppenheimer’s specialty finance group

1998

Head of financial institution research, Wachovia

“I was 28, and I was the youngest person hired to run a financial institutions practice at a Wall Street firm. I was working with zero women. In my career there have been nearly no women.”

2002

Leaves Wachovia

“Two years in a row, some pretty schlubby guys got promoted and I didn’t. So I left. It wasn’t about the money, it was about the whole package. I was traumatized.”

Unemployed for two years, because of a non-compete agreement

2004

Managing director, CIBC World Markets

Whitney’s October 2007 downgrade of Citigroup shocked the markets

“The world changed after that Citi call in 2007. It was really a culmination of everything I’d done up to that point. The market was down $400 billion! People were questioning who I was and saying how dare I. I was just doing my job.”

2008

Appears on the cover of Fortune magazine

“There really wasn’t that much recognition about it at my firm, and that was disappointing to me. Not even a pizza party. I know that sounds silly, but it felt important.”

2009

CEO, Meredith Whitney Advisory Group

“My friend Jimmy Dunne at Sandler O’Neill says it best of running your own company: ‘The highs are higher, and the lows are lower.’”

2013

Author of Fate of the States: The New Geography of American Prosperity

“I’ve always been underestimated. It’s a gift. You can’t pay enough money for that. I have a friend who always gets underestimated, and her line about it is, ‘No, I just look stupid.’”

LIFE LESSONS

1. Do everything fast, learn as much as you can, get over being self-conscious. 2. Stop texting and start talking. 3. If you’re upset about failing, you haven’t failed enough.

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