Finance, Fama, and Feminism — Q&A with Rosemary Mauck, 3Points CFO
In 2021, a second Mauck joined 3Points, bringing deep expertise to our financial and HR operations. As CFO, Rosemary Mauck, a banking industry veteran (and mother of our CEO and founder, Drew Mauck), has been working to organize and streamline those internal processes and business operations. 3Points’ Content Director Katie O’Shea sat down with Rosemary to talk through her many years in finance, her view of PR, and more.
Please tell us about your background.
I grew up in one of the most fabulous and diverse areas of the U.S.: Queens, New York. Living in a vibrant, heterogenous, busy area teaches you how to live harmoniously and get along with others. You learn a lot of practical skills from growing up in the city — like “make sure you don’t stand in front of an oncoming subway train.” What I mean by that is that you learn the ropes and become independent and self-reliant.
Because there was a large population of immigrants living there, there was an emphasis on striving for success and getting a strong education. There was also a great appreciation for family. We lived with my grandparents, who were from Italy, until I was 13. I learned a lot from them. Education was number one with them. I attended Catholic schools for 18 years, and that experience, especially my time at all-girls schools, was another major influence on me. I’m a big proponent of single-sex education — for high school especially — because it allows women to compete more. It shows you that you can be whatever you want to be. You, as a woman, can do anything.
How did you become interested in finance?
As a child I loved math. I majored in economics in college and it was my professor who encouraged me to consider attending the Booth School. The Booth School had sent a dean to the New York area to recruit women to the school, and he hosted a get-together in Manhattan. I never visited the school before attending — I just got on the plane and went.
At Booth, I was exposed to so many subjects — finance, marketing, accounting, organizational theory, and international relations. It was while studying under Eugene Fama that I became really interested in finance. I was fascinated with his work in the field — he was very ahead of where others were.
That opened the door to banking, but at the time, I didn’t realize that those doors were really closed to women back then. Before graduation, I started looking for a job. At the time, companies would come to the school and post a list of available times for interviews. Students would write their first initial and last name to sign up for a slot. I went into my interview with Goldman Sachs and he said, “What are you doing here?” I said, “I’m your 10 o’clock.” And he said, “Well, we don’t hire women.” That was a real eye-opener. But, I said, “Talk to me a little bit. What do you mean you don’t hire women?” And he said, “Maybe there could be a spot for a woman in research, but not with clients.”
When I finally did get a job with American National Bank, a small bank that was known as a business bank, some of the male staff had reservations. All the male bankers would sit on the second floor and they wouldn’t let me sit there. They said, “The only women who can be on that floor are secretaries,” and “What would the customers think?” I worked incredibly late hours — the guys would work until 5:30 or 6pm, but I would be there until 10. And I knew I couldn’t make any errors. The bar was much higher for women.
When was that, if you don’t mind me asking?
That was 1972. And I know that sounds like a long time ago, but it wasn’t like it was the 1800s.
There were these private clubs, like the Union League Club, where business was developed. Women had to enter through the side door — the women’s entrance — and they certainly couldn’t be members. I was one of the first women to become a member of one of those clubs. I was sponsored by the bank I worked for and joined the Illinois Athletic Club.
I found myself being the first woman in a lot of cases. When you’re the first, you have to learn not to take things personally — and even if something is meant personally, you can’t let it stop you. I became the first woman commercial bank officer. They had a golf outing for the commercial bank officers, but because it was intended for just men, I wasn’t included. So they told me I could go to the outing that was for all women. It was clear that the men didn’t know what to do with me.
I could have been more strident and demanded to be included in the golf outing, but I asked myself if I really wanted to go play golf with those men, and I decided I didn’t. I decided to be practical about it — I guess it was my Queens background. I learned to pick my battles.
What did you do after leaving that bank?
I left banking when I started having children. I went into real estate and began developing condos in the city of Chicago. We were buying, syndicating, and selling condos, so we were early on in condo development. Then I transitioned to selling homes on the North Shore. By then I had four kids, and that seemed to be something I could do — and do well — while working around the schedule I had with the kids.
When did you get back into banking?
In the late ’80s. I did a lot of networking to get back in. One fellow I had worked with connected me to a bank in Evanston, a one-stop shop bank. I interviewed with the president, chairman, and head of commercial banking. I was looking for a flexible job, and the chairman said, “No, we cannot do that.” And he made some comment like, “Gee, my wife would like a job like that.” The president said to him, “You don’t get it. She knows how to sell. Let’s give her a try.”
From then, I stayed in banking. The bank evolved — it became First Chicago, then Bank One, and then JPMorgan. I worked for 25 years at those institutions. I ended up leaving and went to another bank, PNC, and joined the healthcare practice.
How do you think banking has changed since you first started in the field?
There’s been a couple different kinds of change. There’s the change in technology — that’s a big piece, because what might have previously taken a long time doesn’t anymore. Information is more readily available, analysis is quicker. Tech has changed the way money moves. There’s online banking. All of these things are very powerful. What that has meant is room for people with tech expertise — though they’re still not number-one in a company. The people who meet with clients are still number-one. Relationships are still important. Knowing people’s character is still important.
There are more women and people of color — way more. There are women running big banks and people of color in lead positions at major public companies. Things have opened up tremendously. There’s always room for improvement, but from where it was to where it is now, it’s fantastic.
From your perspective as someone in finance, has your view of PR changed over time?
Before 3Points, I didn’t have a lot of exposure to PR. I often thought of PR in terms of Hollywood — like “Those PR people are making sure Jon Bon Jovi got enough coverage.” I didn’t understand how things got into newspapers, journals, social media, etc. I guess I thought that a reporter at the Wall Street Journal would just know all about a specific topic. I didn’t know that they’re getting information from you! Now that I’m working with 3Points, I see that, while a PR person might only have one slice of the information pie to offer, it’s a piece that a WSJ reporter wouldn’t know without you. And now I see that that’s just one of the many valuable components of PR.
From a client perspective, it’s important for them to understand that they probably won’t get into the WSJ without you and what the value is of being in there. They need to understand why they should care about being in the WSJ — not just that it will make them feel good, but what it will do for their business and credibility.
What lessons from the world of finance do you think the world of PR could benefit from?
- Know everything about your client or potential client. Character matters.
- Develop relationships and stay in contact with your client.
- Always add value, be prepared, and never give up.
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