Monica Landry thought she was going to go into medicine, then research, then hospital administration. But taking a leap of faith with a temp job at Farallon Capital Management propelled her into a 26-year career in finance.
Now retired from daily work, she continues to serve as a senior advisor for Farallon and works on special projects for the company. She also spends a significant amount of time working on creating a mentorship program for Farallon and advising women in finance. It’s part of the work she believes in paying forward, especially for people like her who had a nontraditional path toward a career in finance.
“Mount Holyoke gave me that boldness to feel like I belonged wherever I was going to be,” she said during a Launching Leadership conversation earlier this year. “It gave me the confidence to know that if I could open a book and sit there and go through it, I would be able to figure it out and look at it. And if I didn’t … I knew I had a big community. So I leaned on that community.”
Landry wasn’t a natural student when she was at Mount Holyoke and struggled with some of her classes, she said. After she graduated in the middle of a recession, she moved back home and took jobs simply to pay the rent. Wanting something different, she moved to San Francisco in 1994. That’s when she landed the temp job at Farallon Capital Management, then just a small company.
A few weeks into the temp job, she was offered a full-time job she was deeply interested in — running the residency program at UCSF. She gave her notice to Farallon, and they countered it with their own job offer.
“And I said, ‘What am I going to do?’” Landry said. “And they said, ‘We don't know. We just really like you. We think you’re smart. Come in and we’ll just figure it out.’”
She decided to take a chance and became Farallon’s thirteenth employee. “It ended up being probably one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Landry said.
She credits the mentors she had at the company, and at Mount Holyoke, with helping her believe she could do — and actually execute — the work she signed up for.
“I thought, ‘Well, they know what they’re doing,’” Landry said. “They have more experience than I do. If they believe in me to do this, I must have it in me to do this.”
Class Year: 1990