If You Want to Hunt Lions, You Have to go to the Jungle.

I was almost 25yrs old, when my boss, Tim, founding partner in a little brokerage firm, asked me to be his partner, October 20th 1987. Wow, partner by age 25. Not bad. Sure, it was a small firm, seat on the Philly exchange, which his ex-wife paid for and he kept in the divorce. At the time, the Philadelphia Exchange had an OTC market (Over The Counter) which later became the ultra-powerful NASDAQ.
October was busy that year. The first weekend in October, we took the sailboat out of Key Largo for the weekend. Two weeks prior, he married my office mate and best friend, Julia. I was Maid of Honor in the wedding. She “retired” after the wedding (bad shoulder from a car accident and began to drink too much) but was adept and understood when we talked business. It was just the three of us for the weekend on the boat.
The wedding was an enormous affair as Tim had a big Sicilian family from Boston (same exact town where Big T was from – in fact Tim graduated from same high school where Big T’s daughters graduated), and Julia’s family was centered in Sands Point, on Long Island. Wedding and reception were in Key West, but relatives lingered for weeks. With all the family gone, this was the weekend we could recoup and get back to business. I was between boyfriends and my boss and best girlfriend took pity on me. Nothing cures the soul like the sea.
As a broker, I was doing well but had a hard time. I was young and a female. Think about it. How many 55yr old guys, Presidents of their own companies, would trust me with their fortune, let alone their company pension accounts? So, I became an IRS code, WHORE. I read everything I could. I kept manuals in my bathroom and bedside tables. I became a technical freak. I knew IRS code better than people who worked for the IRS. And pension law…., oh, I knew it backwards and forwards. I got to a point where other brokers/local lawyers called on me for help when they needed it. My boss noticed…..
Our little firm was doing well, couple hundred million under management and we had returned 28% that year, thus far. Excellent performance for the mid/late 80’s. Tim was nervous and did not want to be greedy. I had never seen him that way before. He was pushing a conversion into all cash. We were down a few points in September and he didn’t want to lose the gains for year end. “Let’s hold and see what happens.”, he said. By the time we brought the boat in and had dinner on the dock, Sunday night, he had me convinced. I helped him sell the idea to the rest of the brokers. We were all moving to cash. That was October 4th, 1987, and I remember driving home that night like it was yesterday. I was disappointed. “Cash” felt like we were giving up.
By Wednesday-Thursday, which would have been October 7th-8th, we had almost everything converted to cash. We sat, farted around, and I started working on year end reports for my handful of clients. Might as well get ahead, right? The following weekend (10th and 11th) was the Columbus Day Regatta. We participated and had a great time. Didn’t know sailing could be so much work…. or that Tim could yell so much. We were competitive, sure, but there was never any chance in us winning. We did make a respectable showing, however. Dinner Sunday night on the dock was for a tired but happy crew.
By mid-October, Tim looked like a genius. The Market was nervous. We went out sailing the next weekend, which would have been 16th-18th, skipped lunch on Friday and bugged out to Key Largo. Jessica McClure (the Texas kid in the well) had been rescued. I recall, we heard the news by radio and everyone was happy. Business-wise, I was bored, sitting and watching a very skittish market, with a couple of deep dives. I had a few funds/companies, significantly down, which I wanted to “poke at”. Tim resisted, “Don’t be greedy, be patient. There’s a lot going on…..”, he kept saying. I didn’t have his geopolitical perspective at the time (The Storm in London or the Iranian Silkworm Missile, which would later be blamed) because I was young and stupid. Yet, by Sunday night dinner, we agreed to buy a few things on Monday. I had a Conch Chowder that night, with the best biscuits I’ve ever put in my mouth. Frozen in my memory. It was October 18, 1987.
Sometimes, when I could not sleep, I used to watch the markets open around the world on PBS, Sunday night, trying to get a jump on Monday. Yet, Sunday night, I slept straight through and had an early breakfast with a diamond dealer. By the time I got to the office, word was out.
October 19, 1987, the market crashed.
The Dow was down about 25% over 600 points. What a day it was……. We were fine, but everyone else was scared as heck. It was a moment in history, and it hung in our throats. No one knew what would happen next. We fielded phone calls in the morning from clients, who were all safe…. the same clients who previously complained about a $25 transfer fee to move them to cash. I left the office at 3:30pm. I’ll admit, as I drove down Brickell, I stopped at a light, and checked the high rises to see if anyone was jumping. I almost never drink alone, but I poured myself a double bourbon and decided to swim off the tension. Dad called and we watched Tom Brokaw together. The evening news was incredible. Blood on the floor.
What would tomorrow bring? We were all scared.
The next morning, Tim asked me to be his partner, October 20th, and we started buying by 10:00am. He needed a right hand and I was it. He was 20yrs my senior, and taught me everything I know about money. He was my second dad, gave me miles of rope to run, and yanked me back, HARD, on occasion. He let me fail spectacularly, and was merciless with his “I told you so.” Many valuable lessons learned. We were a perfect mix of young, highly technical, zeal………. and street smart, fabulous ability to read people, crusty Sicilian wisdom. Our relationship would never be allowed in the era of MeToo, and for that, young women in business are at a sincere disadvantage.
While we were drawing up papers of partnership, we had to assign tasks to each other. I didn’t have a whole lot of gravitas, so, I got the duties which Tim hated. First among my duties was recruiting brokers. It was closely followed by taking tests and updating more licensing in various states so we could grow. Tim insisted I attend any kind of a “mandatory” convention… which he absolutely hated. And he said I had to accumulate  more credentials as a partner, so I became the designated test taker. Accounting and reporting, IRS fights, and any fight with a lawyer (a place where I excelled), was given to me, first. Paperwork, the IRS, and fighting with lawyers was easy for me. Okay, fine. But where was I going to recruit new brokers?????
I was a young gun. I wasn’t part of the Palm Beach crowd. My daddy didn’t own a sugar plantation in the Dominican. I wasn’t “old Miami”. What was I going to do? I had no street cred, no trust fund. I called my dad for advice. Dad played well in wealthy circles. He told me to find someone who could “get me in the room” and hire those people. “Figure it out”, he said. Dad grew frustrated with me as I hedged from my own lack of self-confidence, “Get over it”, he said, “You want to hunt lions, you better go to the jungle.”
Well, the jungle was closer than I thought.
The next weekend was the weekend before Halloween. I met a bunch of Bond Daddies for drinks after work in Ft Laud, at the same bar where the “Monkey Business” was docked (Gary Hart/Donna Rice and the election of 1988). The “boys” often took cigarette boats from that dock, and we would head to Bimini for lunch. I swear I still own part of a hotel there….. somewhere.
That night, I spotted a particularly attractive guy and we struck up a conversation, lawyer with a British accent, and I liked him. His friend, however, swooped in and thought I was the cutest thing he’d seen in a while. The friend was pushy and loud. The friend was a tall/big man, looked like a Scotsman, head of a clan. Eventually, the three of us retired to my penthouse terrace, and drank pots of coffee and Bailey’s. By 2:00am, I hired the friend, the Scotsman, kissed them both on the cheek, and bid them goodnight. He was the former Treasury Secretary of Bermuda. My first hire. The lawyer became my new boyfriend. I returned to work on Monday, mission accomplished. Tim was impressed when he actually showed up for interviews, etc. A profitable alliance.
Tim was a favorite invite for local Miami Embassy parties. With his new wife, my girlfriend, down for a few months, I swiped the invitation for the firm, through Christmas holidays, and upped my wardrobe a few notches. I went on to hire Chile’s Finance Minister, a US Trade Rep for Jamaica, did biz directly with the PM Pindling of Bahamas (until I was warned off), several Ambassadors, officials from Bolivia, Panama, Paraguay, and at least a dozen other countries. We doubled the firm, and the firm became a powerhouse. Within our ranks, someone always…… “knew a guy”. The network was amazing.
Bottom line, I figured out third world countries are usually run by 10-20 families. All I/we had to do was gain entry. The families all wanted their money in USD for stability of their family fortune, in case governments were to change….. which happened often. The safety and security of the USA was a natural choice.
Yet, imagine a wealthy family from Paraguay entering a local Merrill Lynch office, for example. I saw it happen all the time, the guys in Miami would make fun of them. The Merrill broker didn’t have time for them, dismissed them, didn’t LISTEN/ask questions about how to save/transfer the money to the next generation. No, 20 million dollars from Paraguay would never taken seriously by a newbie broker from Merrill. The Merrill guy would have signed them up and never called them again. Who wants to be treated in such a rude way? Answer = no one. A little bit of humility and common decency goes a long way.
Friends do business with friends, especially in South America/Latin America/Caribbean. We had the “friend”, and I had the expertise. I was young and an obsessive nut about doing everything correctly. In retrospect, I spent TOO MUCH time with husbands and wives, and their many businesses. It was easy and comfortable, and we dug deeply. Forensic accounting filled my days. We solved problems of patterns in spending. It was a natural process for me, like breathing.
Our new “brokers” were powerful men, but Tim was their equal, and Tim was comfortable in his own skin. In effect, I was the boss as well and thrilled with my new power, little bit of the big head, ………..but that was a disaster, a spectacular fail…… In one meeting, a finance minister introduced me as his new boss. The family was embarrassed for him, and he was shamed as well. The guy drove us both back to the office and was ready to quit, but he knew I obviously meant him no harm. We were at a delicate crossroad. He was humiliated.
I had an idea, “What if I pretended to be your secretary?” The thought wormed through his head for a long few seconds. We got to a stoplight and he looked at me, confused. “Why would you do that?, he asked. The answer was easy for me, “You’re an honored man in your country, storied career, why would I ever want to dishonor you, here?” and “It makes no sense for me to do so.” and finally, paraphrasing, “The only reason I am with you now is because you are new to this ‘factory’ and don’t know the details. I’ve been in the factory for 3yrs, and in 3yrs you won’t need me at all. Yet, from now until then, it can be our secret, and we can work as a team. Whaddaya say?”
OMG, his eyes lit up like it was Christmas morning. Strangely, those men became unbelievably loyal to me. No one touched me, not a hair on my head nor a snide comment anywhere. Wow, that was easy.
Rather than reinventing the wheel, fighting stereotypes, and “gender” preconceived notions, I decided to make the wheel work for me….. I had to put my ego in my pocket, to make a boatload of money, travel the world, and help people, …….. Oh, gee whiz, I can do that…… if you insist.
Therefore, I played the role of mom/secretary and “trainer on details” to my new hires. I hired other gorgeous and talented women to follow them around and pick up their paperwork…. to make them look good. It worked.
Quickly, the day came when I had to board a small plane to a foreign country to meet powerful people on their own turf. I was a little nervous and asked boss/partner Tim about it. “What if something happens to me and I disappear?”, I said……… hands on hips. Tim stopped, peered over his papers, wrinkled an eyebrow for a second, threw his head back and laughed loudly, “No one in their right mind would ever kidnap you!” It was a perfect answer. I was insulted but no longer fearful……. at all.
And off I went to the real jungle, hunting BIG lions.
We had no cell phones back then. Often, I would return and listen to a message on my answering machine from Grandma Della. She would be angry I had not immediately returned her days old call. “Sorry Grandma, I was in Bolivia for a few days…”, did not make her happy. She would call my dad, who would call me, and ask me if everything was okay, if I was doing anything illegal, if I was taking drugs, if I was working for the government…… Dad understood, but to Grandma, I should have been home, making lemon squares and waiting for the kids to come home from school. Only later in life did I learn being a mom was my best job.
Nonetheless, it became commonplace for me to travel to various countries to meet with the “founding families”. It was a whirlwind of grand haciendas, private air strips, small obscure corners of the world, as we dragged hundreds of millions of dollars back to the USA. I always played the role of super-whiz assistant to the big powerful man whom the family already knew. Having me as an American “assistant”, elevated the guy, made him more important (with a wink and nod between us). Of course, all final biz was conducted in the USA, with USA banks, usually in a 5 star hotel or a on a runway tarmac. It was fun, glamorous, and the food/drink/dance were incredible.
Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined where my job would lead. I never knew I could do the things I did ………. I got lucky…… I picked a good boss, a Vietnam Vet, a noble man who pushed me, laughed at me, insulted me, STILL loves me like a daughter, trusted me, and let me run, all at the same time. I soaked it up like a sponge. I grew. Eventually, we did business with a few dictators, and I had the temerity to tell them, “No, I’m sorry, you can’t do that….” I grabbed street sense in rapid fire, and became gracious but cynical, ….. and I never lost my sense of right and wrong. No, the voice of Daddy sat on my shoulder the whole way.
I learned about places only studied in 7th grade geography class, places I never thought I would go. Most importantly, I learned….. first hand…..  how lucky I was to be an American. It makes me tearful to think about how fortunate we are, and how grateful I became for those who fought for what we know as the USA. We take America for granted, for others it is a dream.
What an education it was …. hunting lions. Turned out my lions were Kings of their own jungles, but they were really pussycats when they talked about their love for their wife/children, when I removed the thorn from their paw. People are people, same all over the world.
It was simple but highly technical, tough, and complex at the same time.
I loved it.
Please, don’t ever think there is a job you cannot do. “Figure it out”, as Dad would say. Have no fear, step off and try. Amazing things happen when you try. You will fail, spectacularly, it is a guarantee, but the successes……. The successes are worth the ride.
Be kind, please, but never a pushover. Know when to be humble. Decide early on, where lies your dividing line on ethics, because once crossed, there is no coming back…..
Live your life, drink it in, explore, and try it all.
No regrets!


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You knew the IRS code better than the IRS boys?
Wha… you actually read it! 🤣😂😆


So launched the great mayonnaise battle. Now legendary in the annals of the irs. They got their asses handed to them . In small bite sized chunks


IRS staff are still on compo for the ptsd they got from you


I would have bought tickets!


Whew! I’m out of breath after following you on that journey. Thank you Daughn.comment image

Plain Jane

Great title for fun and interesting thread DNW. This was a mini get away from what has now become a much less rollercoaster existence for me. TY.


I’ve had a couple of those moments — understanding Sarbanes-Oxley better than most, or understanding accounting implementations better than most. There is a lot of money to be made for a while.


Completely off topic but funny as. If Potus wasn’t a lion he’d be this parrot


“Into the cage, you rats!”


Just think of cnn and their staff as that poor mouse


Wolf.anonymous conservative must read. About baby monitors picking up invisible people and the tech on this. Ties into an earlier post re pat tillmans death. The squad he was with nearly went to war with the coroner because the bullets that hit him came from a direction that no one was there. The coroner basically said they were lying. Either there was someone there or it was a battlefield execution.


Very interesting! Thanks!




Great story, as always! Just reading about it, I can sense the “thrill”, but – OMG – I’m like…… maybe not all of us are lion hunters! 😉 Very happy to live this one at arms length from a computer screen! “You go, girl! I’ll stay right here!”


Then again, some of us did go to the jungle to hunt lions….and would have been amazingly successful too….heck, even WERE successful in our own way(s)…..but we had bosses that backstabbed us, stole ideas & accounts (clients), withheld promotions, and all the other nasty and dirty tricks inferior bosses did and do to employees who they fear(ed) were better than they were and that THEIR bosses would notice (justifiably so).
No question you had talent and worked hard, but knowing that business from personal, firsthand experience there is no need to tell you that it takes luck….EXTRAORDINARY luck….to have the boss…no, not just boss, but MENTOR…that you did. FINDING such a person is like finding a needle in a haystack, another way of saying “extremely lucky”.
It’s like when I hear astronauts say “look at me…if I can do it anyone can”. That’s egotistical BS. Yes, there were/are people who were just as capable, motivated, and ambitious, but THEY didn’t get the LUCK of getting selected. And I can tell you that not only do MOST people who actually qualify to apply to NASA for the job are fully capable of doing it and doing it well. But NASA can’t take everyone, and it all too often comes down to a literal coin toss. What most people leave out of stories like this one is the simple truth of being in the right place, at the right time, with the right people, and the right circumstances. From there, given capability and work ethic, the rest quite naturally falls into place.
If I had three worldly (vs. spiritual) wishes they would be:
1. To have the luck of perfect timing in all things and circumstances (thoughts, words, choices, etc)
2. To have the luck of meeting, befriending, and BEING BEFRIENDED BY the right people at the most opportune times
3. To have all the close breaks go my way (ie. simply be lucky)
Very few are the astronauts who didn’t get selected in their first attempt, kept applying, and were selected later. And when they do talk about their achievements, they talk about how lucky they were to have had the opportunity they did rather than tell people about how anyone could do what they did if they would just “figure it out”.
THAT ALL SAID, in some ways a response like this is not really fair to those who never did experience the disappointment MOST do. They simply don’t know any better, and not knowing any better they don’t have the experience to understand just how extraordinarily lucky they were. And so they don’t truly understand or see just how much that luck had to do with their success vs. others who were equally talented but simply didn’t have the lucky break(s) they did.
“To whom much is given, much is expected.”
This, right here, is one of the most amazing things about our President. He had it all….success, money, luxury, fame, power. He didn’t need to run for office. In fact, he was wise and experienced enough to know he and his family would suffer terribly if he did run, and even more so if he won. But he also knew that HE was the right man….even the ONLY man….who could do what he is now doing.
When PDJT’s turn comes to stand before the Lord and answer for all he was given, all his lucky breaks and opportunities, he will be able to truthfully say, “I risked it all for others I never met or would met.”
And THIS is why I am not nor ever will be even a pimple on THAT man’s ass. But at least I know it, and I own it. And it’s my humility that will save me from myself. This great Bible quote leaves out one very important thing…
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
Ephesians 6:12
It should have included, “and against our selves” as well. Not “ourselves” but “our selves” (ie. our egos).
If this post stings you, Daughn, please know it doesn’t sting NEARLY as much as the disappointment you quite clearly never experienced in your career. You simply are the one who reminds others (me) of these truths I’m sharing. I sure wish I had been lucky enough to pick the right boss(es) when I was in my 20’s. I suspect most…no, I KNOW most feel that way. For many of us, it had nothing to do with “figuring it out”, not trying hard, or having the right skills. We simply were not in the right place, at the right time, with the right people. You were.
And I am very glad for you. Maybe that luck has yet to manifest for those of us who haven’t had it yet, or at least to the degree it did for you. There is ALWAYS hope! 🙂


You aren’t hearing a word I said.
“I found the right guy/boss/mentor.”
“I found a good boss.”
“I” “I” “I”
Yeah. Uh huh. We could go down that path, listening to the ego justify itself. Instead, here’s an alternate suggestion…
Why not write a post talking about all the great things he did for you, how you benefitted from them, the opportunities he gave to you, the doors he opened for a still-wet-behind-the-ears 25 yr old, the mistakes he covered for you, the chances he took on you, the (no doubt) patience he had for/with you, etc. if he was so great, doesn’t he deserve some of the credit for your success? Don’t you want us all to know about HIM??
THEN…afterwards….once you’ve created the space, THEN talk about how you took advantage of and repaid all that by working your ass off, HELPED double the firm (you didn’t do that by all by yourself, btw….don’t even try to bullshit this bullshitter), etc. Achieved all the goodness you achieved.
I want to hear from the REAL Daughn….the kind, gracious, humble woman I’ve come to know….not her ego.
I know her ego wants to tell me to FO. I also know the real Daughn is HEARING me, but her fake-ass ego won’t let her get a word in edgewise. And it’s her EGO that is feeling challenged and is still stewing over my first post. And you know that.
You have important, relevant, great stories to share, Daughn. Don’t let your ego ruin them for us. Please don’t. You are too F’N good for that crap. And I’m not too afraid to tell you that, either. You deserve that from people who care.
I know you see what I’m laying down. It’s up to you to pick it up. Or not. I’m keeping my fingers crossed, because you are worth taking the risk of speaking this truth. Hear THAT, if you hear nothing else. I talk a lot of shit, but this isn’t one of those times.
Shoot…there’s a damn good book inside you, but it will go nowhere if your ego writes it. Not with anyone who matters to you, anyway.


Did he read your post? His comments sure don’t sound like it. FTR, I thought your description of the path was quite specific in attributing qualities. Mr. Right Boss didn’t get short-changed in the kudos department. And neither did you.
You got duck feathers growing on your back, right? You know, the kind that water rolls off. 🙂

tom f

Nothing else could be expected from the the daughter of a Marine.


Daughn…. I remember that ’87 Stock Market Crash…..
I was not into stocks at all then.
But I overheard a Broker type guy talking……
I borrowed $2000 and invested it in our company stock.
Doubled my money in about a week as the Markets returned.
Cashed out, Payed back the loan…….
Had a good Christmas that year 🙂


You could claim the title of The Wolfette of Florida – but with Manners and Morals. Great stuff.


Great story! So many nuggets and take away’s… My favorite al all follows…
Most importantly, I learned….. first hand….. how lucky I was to be an American. It makes me tearful to think about how fortunate we are, and how grateful I became for those who fought for what we know as the USA. We take America for granted, for others it is a dream.
^^^ Americans should savor the beauty of the “American Dream”, we are fortunate the live. We are blessed so very, very much. 100%, folks in other countries wished their countries had the Bill of Rights, The Constitution, the amazing land we encompass…
E V E R Y day, I know and am thankful to be an American!
Thanks for the great story Daughn, with so many insights…

A Fortiori

Here again, I am struck by the manner in which you truly listened to your clients, recognizing that the manner in which you presented your association with them had to fit within their cultural framework.
This is the second time you have reminded me of a scene from the Bruce Lee movie “Enter the Dragon.” Lee is teaching one of his students and it is not going well. They break for tea and Lee goes to top off the student’s cup with fresh hot tea. He continues to pour tea until the cup overflows, scalding the student. The student jumps up and says something like “why did you do that.” Lee then raps his student on the head and says something to the effect that “you must empty your mind of old ideas if you wish to learn new ones.” It is a similar thing when reading people; empty your mind and drink in what they are telling you.


Who else do we know that does that?
Yep, VSGDJT. Everybody comments on how much he listens.

Rodney Short

Good to know we have an AWESOME Lioness in the Qtree writing awesome stories.


Wonderful stories, Daughn, as usual!!. Somewhere, somehow, I’m not altogether sure we didn’t cross paths those years ago. Like yours, my story, especially in Latin America, starts out in the mid-70’s. But while I wasn’t in the financial arena, I was in the game. I met and was welcomed in by many of the same families you mention, in much the same way you were. I learned early on that to try to place myself as their equal would not work in their country. Here in the USA, of course we were equals – very close friends. But, in their countries I was their “lesser” trade/business advisor.
Anyway, what wonderful times … the trips … planes … etc. …. etc. And like you said, while we might miss them, for me the absolute best time of my life have been simply as “Dad.” And all that entails.
God Bless ….


Daughn I love your post … every word. You have a gift of bringing us into what’s happening, it’s great thank you … 🙂🤚❤️
I watch it like a movie in my head … it’s great
You’ve done some awesome things in your life … way cool 😎👍


…. has anyone heard from BigMamaTEA … ? … 🙂🤚⁉️ … I’m missing her .. a lot …


Thank Daughn … good to hear, I know she keeps busy .. much appreciated .. 🙂❤️


Very much and big heart too …. look forward to see her post again .. 🙂❤️