Throughout her career, Doreen Mochrie ’85 blazed a path down Wall Street and continues to do so for those who hope to follow in her footsteps.
She is passionate about supporting eager, yet disenfranchised, talent to have a chance to work on Wall Street. For example, she and her husband, Chris Tuohy ’81, a Wall Street veteran turned high school guidance counselor, donated $100,000 to the Student Investment Club at SUNY Oswego in 2015 so that Lakers could manage and invest real money before they graduate.
“Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of Oswego graduates on Wall Street, and we thought it was important that graduates of Oswego at least have a level playing field,” she said. “We felt that we needed to contribute additional monies to the investment club, so that the kids who were interested in investing at Oswego would have the same experience that other kids from some of the private schools have. Then they’d at least have similar experiences when competing for those jobs.”
As the only woman partner at the hedge funds where she worked, she is also acutely aware of the dramatic gender gap within asset management. In fact, fewer than one in five hedge fund professionals are women, and only 11 percent of senior level professionals are women, according to a 2019 report by online financial database Preqin.
So she also carves out time to support young women who hope to enter or remain in finance and investment management careers. Doreen is an angel supporter of 100 Women in Finance and has served as the senior practitioner events contact for the organization, which is a global network of women professionals in the finance and alternative investment industries. She also serves on the advisory board for the not-for-profit, Girls Who Invest, which seeks to have 30 percent of the world’s capital invested by women by 2030. She co-founded a women’s networking group called #moretogo for senior women in the asset management business.
“This didn’t exist when I was a young professional,” she said. “I had to figure it out on my own. I had very few women mentors.”
So how did the wife and mother of two navigate the “boys club” and the aggressive, fast-paced, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. workday of Wall Street?
A combination of early life experiences backed by an incredible family support system, she said.
Set Up to Succeed
As the youngest of six (four minutes younger than her twin brother) in the small Adirondack town of Broadalbin, N.Y., Doreen pushed herself to compete with her older siblings in whatever the task—riding bikes, playing basketball or soccer, winning at board games.
Her childhood was infused with friendly competition, voracious reading, academic accomplishments and extracurricular activities ranging from student government to theatre to three varsity sports to national honor society. Most of all, she said her childhood was filled with love, laughter and an instilled, unwavering commitment to what was important in life—her family.
She credits her parents and particularly her father, Kenneth, a World War II Purple Heart Navy veteran who worked 30 years for the U.S. Postal Service, for keeping her centered.
“He loved openly and easily his entire family,” she said. “He did not leave a conversation without telling you how proud he was of you and how much he loved you. So I try to do that for my kids because it gives you a sense that when you fail that—well, what did you really fail at? You still have everything that’s most important in life—your family. He was also all about the simple things in life—just sharing a meal with somebody, taking the time to spend time with your family and to laugh. Those are the things I try to bring into my house and into my family.”
Working with a strong moral compass provided the clarity she needed to pursue clients as an investor relations executive at some of the top hedge funds in the world.
“Wall Street doesn’t always attract the best-intentioned people,” she said. “You want to find and work for the people with the highest levels of integrity. That’s super, super important. Building and maintaining relationships was the most
important part of my job.”
In the highly competitive and male-dominated world of finance, Doreen often faced unique challenges. She said her birth order as the youngest of six, as well as her knack for talking with people—a skill she fine-tuned as a waitress at Admiral Woolsey’s and bartender at the Cameo during her college years in Oswego—helped her succeed.
The biggest challenge was not being excluded from conversations by male counterparts, nor was it the career decisions made without her because of a boss’s assumptions about her role as a new mother, nor was it being penalized for focusing on work during the workday rather than spending time building internal relationships with coworkers around the water cooler or on the golf course.
Those challenges got her frustrated occasionally, but the biggest challenge that she struggled to come to terms with, was the schedule.
“This is definitely not a 9 to 5 job,” she said. “So when you’re a Type A person, you try to do everything well in your life be the best mother, be the best wife, be great at work. Work is just so all-consuming, but I didn’t want my children and Chris to suffer. That was the biggest challenge.”
Focused on Family
The work-life imbalance came to a head early on in Doreen and Chris’s family development, as both worked demanding jobs on Wall Street and struggled to find the time needed to care for and parent their young daughters.
“We just couldn’t have two people working at that intensity,” Doreen said. “Our kids were just more important to us, so Chris ended up taking a step back in his career. He left the workplace for a couple of years when our kids were little and then he went back to school to become a high school guidance counselor. He is an amazing father and husband, who has supported me every inch of the way.”
His family lives close to them and also provided support that enabled Doreen to maintain her demanding career.
“You always think that you’re not doing the right thing,” she said. “You have self-doubt and criticism. I didn’t always get to have dinner with my kids every day, but we made sure on the weekends that I wasn’t jet-setting. The weekends were when we sat down and caught up with what was going on in each other’s lives.”
Throughout her career, Doreen has always made time for her family and her friends.
In fact, she maintains close relationships with a group of 16 Oswego alumnae who met each other on the fifth floor of Seneca Hall as freshmen in 1982. Various configurations of that group have gotten together every year since graduation for their “ChickFest” gatherings or to celebrate each other’s life milestones—birthdays, weddings, children’s births, christenings, graduations or promotions.
“Doreen keeps up her connections with a very diverse group of people and is always organizing outings or hosting gatherings at her house,” said Gail Healy Burns ’85, who has known Doreen for nearly four decades. “She takes the time to talk to people and is a genuine friend. Success hasn’t changed who she is. She’s still a great girl, outgoing and fun to be around. She’s a wonderful mother to her two girls. She seems to be able to do everything—and effortlessly.”
It was in her role as a mother that Doreen first met her neighbor and now good friend, Jacqueline “Jackie” Keenan Rush ’92.
“She and Chris were coming to pick up their daughter, Molly, from a playdate with our daughter at our house,” Jackie said. “I noticed her Upstate accent and told her that my husband, Jack (John ’91), and I met at a small college Upstate. She asked where and I told her Oswego. We couldn’t believe it!”
They quickly connected over their common Oswego experiences—both lived in Seneca Hall, watched the sunsets on Lake Ontario and survived the cold winters.
“We did the same things, just at different times, and we immediately forged a bond,” Jackie said. “I trust her implicitly, and she’s always my first call when I need to talk through a parenting question or a work issue. She’s confident, hard-working, gracious, kind, and we just feel comfortable around her, Chris and their daughters.”
The two families have vacationed together and their families get together for a hike every Thanksgiving morning, Jackie said.
“They have a tight bond with their children, who are both just lovely girls themselves,” she said. “They are a very close family.”
Doreen also makes time for her favorite charities, including the Oswego College Foundation, having served on its board since 2011 and currently volunteers as secretary and a member of the Investment, Governance and Executive committees.
Bill Burns ’83, senior vice president and financial advisor at Morgan Stanley, was recruited to the board in 2016 by Doreen, who has been friends with him and his wife, Gail ’85, for more than 30 years.
While Bill describes Doreen as “very warm, family-oriented, caring—a beautiful person all-around” in her personal relationships, he said her professional persona is “competitive as hell.”
“When you get her in a boardroom, she’s not someone to be pushed around,” he said. “She’s formidable—as powerful as any executive you’ll ever meet. She’s very, very smart. She’s always well-prepared and is highly respected.”
After retiring in 2019 from Olympus Peak Asset Management, a firm she co-founded with Todd Westhus, Doreen has plans to travel for fun with Chris and some of her Oswego friends.
She also plans to continue mentoring young women who want to pursue a career in finance and asset management.
“I’ve enjoyed doing the work and now I really enjoy giving back to the asset management community in a different way,” she said. “I hope I’ve made an impact on some of these people who worked for me over the years—in giving back and helping them to navigate their careers.”
Doreen’s Advice: 7 Characteristics Needed to Succeed on Wall Street
- Strong work ethic.
- Willing to travel.
- Commitment to continuous learning.
- Strong skills in mathematics, statistics, probability, finance and history.
- Relationship building and people skills.