Carmen Bermúdez: 1943—: Financial Services Executive
An Industry Pioneer
In less than a decade, Mission Management & Trust grew to 19 employees, who manage more than $300 million in assets. It is the only independent trust company in Tucson, and is believed to be the sole one to be run by a minority woman in the United States. A knack for making quick decisions, and for hiring the right people, has been her key to success. As Bermúdez said in the Palm Beach Post, "All of my employees know more than I do, and they teach me." She added, "My best talent is hiring. I go by my guts. There are a lot of people with great qualifications, but if there's no chemistry, it doesn't work."
Bermúdez and her husband had a commuter marriage for two years, but he eventually joined her firm as chief investment officer. Mission Management donates a percentage of its revenues to charitable projects supported by clients, directors and staff, such as the YWCA. Bermúdez has also established the Martha R. Seger Work/Study scholarship for women and minorities considering business careers. She has won several industry awards, including the Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World award sponsored by IBM and Chase Manhattan Private Banking, and an Avon Women of Enterprise Award, co-sponsored by the U.S. Small Business Administration. But Bermúdez is sanguine about such honors. She told Hispanic Online, "I didn't do it for this or that title. What keeps me motivated is the commitment I made on Day One. Part of my mission is to leave a legacy, accomplish something, and fill a need. There is a fire underneath."
Bermúdez has one other impressive achievement to her name: she once took first place in her age group in a notoriously difficult athletic competition, the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon. To prepare for the grueling swim in the frigid San Francisco Bay waters followed by a run to the Golden Gate bridge, Bermúdez bathed in ice-cube filled water daily for four months. She finished first in the women's 40-49 group in 1993, and was the Triathlon's oldest female finisher that year. Believing that athletic pursuits boost success, she told vistamagazine.com, "Sports is the foundation people need to succeed in the business world. Both require focus, discipline, sacrifice and teamwork." An inspiration to others, Bermúdez's success can be attributed to the fact that, as she told CHB, "I always want to improve myself at all times."
Los Angeles Times Business Journal, June 26, 2000, p. 24.
Palm Beach Post, January 28, 2002, p. 1D.
Tucson Citizen, August 25, 1997; January 5, 1998.
EntreWorld, February 2001, http://www.entreworld.org (May 28, 2002)
Hispanic Online, http://www.hispaniconline.com/cc/leading.html (May 23, 2002)
Mission Management and Trust, http://www.missiontrust.com (May 28, 2002)
Vista Magazine, http://www.vistamagazine.com/augpow/htm (May 23, 2002)
Additional information for this profile was provided by Carmen Bermúdez and obtained from a personal interview with Contemporary Hispanic Biography, June 6, 2002.
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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