About Me — Mariko

Money is not mysterious

Mariko O. Gordon, CFA
2 min readSep 28, 2021


I built a $2.5B money management firm from scratch, flying my freak flag high. It had a weird name, a non-Wall Street culture, and a quirky communication style. For years, we crushed it.

In 1995, when I founded Daruma, only a handful of women of color owned their firms. I had to noodle out running a business, while duking it out with Mr. Market daily and raising a family. It wasn’t easy.

In 2014, I pitched investment ideas before 5,000 people at Lincoln Center. I was a speaker at the Ira Sohn conference, a charitable fundraiser that is a marquee event in the investing world. Daruma was at its peak.

I was also suffering from burnout, about to get divorced, and on the brink of menopause. In 2019 I closed my business. I learned a lot from that too.

I now help people develop a healthy relationship with money. Whether it’s mentoring the launch of their business, helping them get their finances in order, or run their businesses better.

I grew up in the middle of my parents’ small businesses in the French Caribbean and Hawai‘i. I have analyzed thousands of companies and interviewed hundreds of company managements over my 30-year career as a bottom-up small-cap stock picker. Business is in my bones.

My mother’s parents came from Okinawa to work in the plantations, bought themselves out of indentured servitude, and owned a pig farm. From them, I learned about perseverance, grit, and endurance. I fight the lessons they passed on to me about silence and women’s place in society.

My father’s parents moved to New York from Tennessee and South Carolina. My grandfather was a self-made man, and my grandmother ruled the household in only the way a woman with thwarted ambition can. From them, I learned the virtues of prudent investing and the cost of stifling a woman’s drive.

I am also a poet, hypnotist, hula dancer, and serve as Treasurer on the Board of the Asian American Writers’ Workshop.

If you liked this article and want to read more, follow me on Twitter or visit my website.



Mariko O. Gordon, CFA

Built $2.5B money mgmt biz from scratch. Coaching badass women to build & love their businesses, manage their finances, and make sure the thrill is never gone.