Ann Miletti is hoping her unconventional start in the industry will help more women feel confident in having careers in finance.
Miletti is a managing director and lead portfolio manager for the PMV Equity team at Wells Fargo Asset Management, where she manages the Common Stock Fund, Intrinsic Small Cap Value Fund, Opportunity Fund and Real Return Fund. She joined Wells Capital Management, the firm’s RIA, in 2005 as a portfolio manager. Prior to that, she was with Strong Capital Management since 1991.
During a recent visit to ThinkAdvisor’s offices, Miletti discussed how she got her start in the industry and why she wants to help other women get their start too.
“Early in my career, I was not confident about telling my story. Because I worked with people that had an MBA from Harvard and this is the path that they took and what they always saw themselves doing. And here I just ended up in this position,” she told ThinkAdvisor. “But I’ve learned over time — and I have a track record and I’ve proven myself — that it’s not a story to be embarrassed about that it’s actually something to be pretty proud of.”
Miletti graduated with a teaching degree and taught elementary school for one semester. And then she says her whole life plan changed when her son was born with a “pretty serious heart defect.”
Miletti and her husband, who both worked during the day, needed someone to stay home with their son. But, at the same time they were facing a mountain of debt, Miletti says.
“If we didn’t take control of the situation and try to deal with that, not just dealing with his health issues but the financial implications of it too were just going to overwhelm us,” she said.
That led to Miletti finding a job at a local financial firm, Strong Capital Management.
“I got hired working in the call center talking to shareholders on the phone, working midnight to 8,” she said. “Although that seems crazy, it fit with my needing to be home and working a different schedule than my husband.”
It also allowed her the time to learn about the business, learn about the product offerings and to study for all the licenses that she needed.
“I’d had some business classes in college and was always interested in business but it’s not like I was deeply trained on the financial markets,” she said. “So it was a lot of self-teaching.”
After working in the call center for a couple of years, Miletti applied for a job working with a portfolio manager, mostly as an administrative assistant. Her boss became a mentor and eventually convinced her she was capable of being an analyst.