Kristen Capuano, Top Women in Asset Management Awards winner

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Kristen Capuano, VanEck’s managing director, head of marketing and product strategy, has been a part of growing the firm from a few billion to over $45 billion in total assets.

When she first joined VanEck from ING Investment Management in 2007, the firm’s marketing unit had seven members. “Now we have established a reporting and analytics group outside of the marketing department that handles all of our performance reporting,” she says, adding that the team has grown to nearly 35 members.

Capuano now oversees all marketing communications, including digital marketing, active and ETF product management, and institutional marketing. She recently took on duties related to digital and IT projects that the firm prioritized for 2019.

It’s a far stretch from where she imagined her life before changing her focus in college to business from engineering. “I was poised to fail out of my undergraduate engineering program. I was great at calculus and statistics and bad at science, especially physics,” she recalls. “I was encouraged to go to an open house at the school of business, and I met a woman who would become a notable mentor.”

After graduating with a degree in marketing from the University of Connecticut, she earned an MBA in product development from Quinnipiac University.

At VanEck, Capuano gives an annual briefing to new interns. “The interns we have today are brilliant,” she says. “I don’t think I could do the things they do at their age.”

For women starting a career in finance, Capuano says she hopes they find the same unbiased mentorship she had.

“I think you can find an environment where you can learn the business [and are] encouraged to ask questions and not feel self-conscious about that,” she says. “I don’t know if it’s about gender as much as it is about the opportunity.”

She adds that two of her five direct reports are women. “Their opinion of me is what’s relevant, and I try to have a really open and forthcoming relationship with them.”

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Marketing Diversity and equality Digital marketing Asset management Gender issues VanEck Money Management Executive