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Carmen Bermúdez: 1943—: Financial Services Executive

Worked To Improve Herself

The school she attended was poor, but that did not deter Bermúdez. She told Contemporary Hispanic Biography that getting an education is the most important thing, and that "it doesn't matter what school you go to." For those who do not have an education, Bermúdez told CHB, that "doesn't mean that you should give up." Never one to give up herself, Bermúdez told CHB that "It was my hunger to learn, my eagerness to improve myself, that made me do better in school."

Before following an aunt to California, Bermúdez picked coffee beans in Costa Rica for $2 a week as a teen. She arrived in Los Angeles with her mother at the age of 15; her brothers and sister were left with family in Costa Rica. She had never before seen a telephone, television, or even a large street filled with cars, and spoke no English. Her lack of language skills forced her into menial jobs on an assembly line and as a house-cleaner. She and her mother did this for two years in order to save the money to bring the rest of the family from Costa Rica. Then Bermúdez was finally able to save enough for a $54 typewriter. She taught herself to type, vowing, as she told Martinez, "I don't ever want to work [at labor jobs] again."

Bermúdez indeed found work as a secretary, and was eventually hired by Trans World Airlines as a flight attendant. She was promoted to purser, then in-flight service manager, and spent 18 years in the business. She married Tom Feeney, who had worked in the investment management business for many years, and went to work for his La Jolla, California firm, Marathon Asset Management. She served as treasurer, ultimately becoming chairman. She came to realize that the industry was lacking a crucial component. "Interfacing with many of our clients' custodial banks, I was appalled by the quality of service offered, and I thought: 'I can do this better than they can,'" Bermúdez wrote in EntreWorld. She came to realize that most large banks were not interested in managing assets of small accounts.

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Miguel Angel Asturias: 1899-1974: Writer to Don Berrysmith Biography - Grew up in the Pacific NorthwestCarmen Bermúdez: 1943—: Financial Services Executive Biography - Worked To Improve Herself, Treated With Suspicion, An Industry Pioneer