Marquette University Alumni Association Alumni National Awards Weekend
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Mary M. McDonnell, Bus Ad ’77


Mary McDonnellMary McDonnell focuses on the future. And not just for business reasons.

As someone who manages a staff of 80 traders, she has to. Making bets on the future value of bonds, commodities and stocks is the name of the game — a game she’s been playing successfully for 25 years, currently as president and CEO of Geneva Trading USA LLC.

Early in her career, fresh out of Marquette with a degree in accounting and an auditor’s job at the Chicago Board of Trade, Mary focused on getting ahead.

“My approach for success at that time was to work the hardest and volunteer for the most complex assignments,” she says. “I thought I needed to stand out as the smartest person in the room.”

Over time, Mary’s perspective changed. Success was still the goal, but she realized there was a better way to stand out.

“The most critical factor for success is integrity,” she says. “Your reputation is one of the few legacies over which you have complete control.”

In other words, what’s important is not just what you achieve — but how you achieve it.

“The financial services world can be very ethically challenged,” she says, “and it is easy to lose your way when there is so much money involved.”

Thanks to the moral compass provided by Marquette, Mary says, “I have always been true to myself and my values and always strived to be consistent in my way of doing business and to clearly distinguish between right and wrong.”


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