Kristen Winther didn't always imagine she'd go into asset management.

"Physics was kind of a passion of mine, and I'd wanted to stay on the sciences side," she says. Right before entering university, however, she changed direction and decided to major in economics.

"I think on some level I knew, as much as I loved the sciences, that I wanted to have something to do with business," she says. "I come from a fairly entrepreneurial family, and that was always something that drove me."

She cut her ETF teeth at Toronto-based Horizons. She then gained valuable global experience following Mirae Asset's acquisition of Horizons; she was sent to Seoul, South Korea, as a member of the global business strategy team, and then to help launch some of the first ETFs in Bogotá, Colombia.

Now, based in New York, she develops and implements business operations, as well as sales marketing strategy, for GraniteShares as its director of product development.

When she joined the firm two years ago, she was one of its first employees, and GraniteShares had no products on the market.

"I came in as somebody who worked in several ETF startups in the past, and could offer some expertise ... and really grow out parts of the business," she says.

The company currently has five products on the market. "Now we're a full-fledged business," she says.

Outside of work, Winther is a member of the Global Events & Education committee for Women in ETFs (WE), an organization that supports women in the industry. Representing WE, Winther helps lead the annual Ring the Bell for Gender Equality initiative for International Women's Day.

"It's really been a great opportunity not only to continue to connect with a lot of the women in the industry ... but also a really important way to give back to International Women's Day, and shed some light and bring some importance to that day each year," she says.

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Rebecca Stropoli

Rebecca Stropoli is a contributing editor with Money Management Executive.