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Denise Krisko, Top Women in Asset Management Awards winner

Denise Krisko went out on a limb and sent her resume to the founder of Vanguard when she was 22 years old.

“I had heard that Jack Bogle read all the shareholder letters that came in,” Krisko says. “As it turned out, they called me less than a week later for an interview. They hired me.”

Krisko has since helped launch Vident Investment Advisory, a sub-advisory business specializing in ETFs that manages 40 products and oversees $4.5 billion in AUM. The firm registered with the Bank of Ireland last year, its first step toward going global.

Krisko, president of VIA, says she started the firm because the asset management industry wasn’t paying enough attention to a growing ETF market. She had a desire to service both smaller and larger industry players.

“It really did turn out to be a bigger growth opportunity than we thought it would be,” Krisko says, noting that she has not actively marketed the firm and that new business has come from referrals. “Without trying very hard, we’ve grown quite a bit.”

This isn’t to say things have been easy — growth has taken research and focus, she says, especially when the firm registered with the Bank of Ireland and expanded its product management into London.

Krisko says that, throughout her career, she has always been one of the only women in the room. While she may have been the minority, she hasn’t necessarily felt like an outsider. “I have worked with men in my career who were really supportive, and that really did make a difference,” she says.

Still, there is a sense of camaraderie she has only found in other women. She says this is why she has sought mentors in her career, including a finance professor while she was in the MBA program at Villanova University. Krisko has mentored other women as a member of Women in ETFs and former leader in BNY Mellon’s Women Initiative Network.

“We have been underrepresented for so long,” Krisko says. “There’s more women now, and women have been hired, but there’s still a ways to go.”

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