The (lonely) view from the top: Dominique Mielle on surviving and thriving in the male-dominated hedge fund business

Having risen to become one of the only senior women in hedge funds, Dominique Mielle spent twenty years as a partner and senior portfolio manager at Canyon Capital, a $25 billion hedge fund. Named one of the Top 50 Women in Hedge Funds by Ernst & Young — and one of the Top 30 Power Women of The Room — she currently sits on several corporate boards and is a regular contributor to Forbes.

In asset management and particularly in hedge funds, female participation at the top level is almost as non-existent today as it was when I started twenty years ago.

In an op-ed you wrote for Business Insider, you spoke about the experience of being called into HR on your first day as an investment banking analyst and told to follow the dress code of “no pants allowed” for women. How did this experience affect you? Did it serve as an introduction of sorts to the boys’ club within which you were operating?

“Women lack examples of successful women in investing… which I think leads women to opt out of the career path.” I set out to write the book for women to opt-in. I wanted to present a female success story.

How did you learn to survive sexism and misogyny in the workplace? What kept you going through it all?

Trading is powerful in that it teaches you to accept failure as business-as-usual. You must accept it as just the flip side of positive trades. It’s a powerful way to build resilience.

In your excellent Forbes article, you wrote about the shifts that are taking place across many sectors, including the financial realm, with diversity in leadership positions slowly increasing. Are you hopeful that the situation is improving?

The job of investing is highly creative and it requires imagination, ingenuity, and guts — all qualities that women have in equal quantity with men.

How did you find the experience of writing it?

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