Those of you who attended the annual client appreciation party may remember the introduction of our newest employee Kirsten Halpin. Kirsten was hired in September as an Investment Analyst and will work primarily with the balanced portfolio team.
Kirsten has had an interesting road to the world of finance. Born and raised in Homer, Alaska she wasn’t sure what she wanted for post-secondary education. After high school, as a competitive cheerleader she moved from Homer to Soldotna to continue cheering one more year and to take classes at the Kenai campus. After taking some general requirement classes and bouncing around to a couple different schools, including her first stint in Fairbanks as an undeclared political science major, she left school for an internship in the Philippines. At the Resources for the Blind, the largest organization for the blind in the Philippines, she was a grant writer. The grant she wrote was funded and they were able to purchase a new operating microscope that enables remote cataracts surgeries. Of her time there she says, “It is satisfying to know what you did helps someone.”
Kirsten returned to Alaska and enrolled at UAF again as a Business Administration major. It was in the Student Investment Fund class that she had her AH-HA! moment. Her face lights up in the retelling; it was challenging in a new way, there was nothing static about the hands on work, you have to back-up your work with real world data. Also, she largely credits all of the teaching staff with being enthusiastic and inspiring. These kudos are familiar to us at APCM, as many of the applicants from the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation Intern Program that we participate in annually come from the UAF program.
Having found her career mission, to work in investment management, she participated in the Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation Intern Program, decided to move on to graduate school at UAF and to achieve the CFA® designation. Kirsten graduated with an MBA and is currently studying for the Level 2 exam of the Certified Financial Analyst® program, she is in good company as William Cox, our fixed income analyst, will also be taking the exam at the same time. Giving back to the community, to contribute to the greater good, is an important part of her life. Reflecting on her education journey, Kirsten hopes to one day be an adjunct teacher at the University, “to be able to get one or two students excited about Finance that would be great.”
As a lifelong Alaskan, Kirsten has no desire to live anywhere else and is thankful she is able to do the work she is passionate about in the place that will always be home. Since she has been working here for a couple months; I asked what she enjoys about APCM and if there was anything surprising, she noted two things. One, she is pleased that her own investment philosophy matches the company’s “slow and steady wins the race.” Two, “Everyone seems vested in my success; from offers to help me study for the exam to taking the time explain new concepts.” Through her enthusiasm for the work and her dedication to community, Kirsten fits in quite well at APCM and we look forward to her growth at the company.
Amber Frizzell, AIF®
Client Relationship Manager