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As an infant, Mijanou Spurdle took her naps in the back of giant station wagons on the floor of her father’s auto dealership in Brooklyn. Though she inherited a love of fast cars from her father, an inductee into the East Coast Drag Racing Hall of Fame, and went on to become General Manager of the dealership, she just didn’t love the business. Spurdle found her footing in another male-dominated industry, as a First Vice President and Branch Manager at Morgan Stanley.
These days, she relishes designing individualized programs for clients by looking at their goals, risk tolerance and net worth, rather than trying to fit a client into a pre-described car with set packages.
CRASHING THE BOYS’ CLUB
Navigating her way as a woman among many men, she says, has proven difficult at times but also had its advantages. “There wasn’t always the expectation that you were an authority, whether in the car business or this business, so you had to prove you knew what you were doing. I certainly didn’t shy away from the challenge.”
At the same time, she says, it was easier to find mentors. Further, Spurdle says, women are increasingly appreciated for their unique perspective. “My client book has several matriarchs, and they think differently than patriarchs,” she says. “People are starting to recognize that it’s important to have people on the team who can relate and understand their priorities.”
SETTING THE RIGHT PACE
Born in Brooklyn, Spurdle and her two sisters were primarily raised by their father, Steve Malise. She met her husband, pediatric orthopedic surgeon Craig Spurdle, while both were attending boarding school at The Williston Northampton School, though they didn’t start dating until years later.
Today, they live in Miami Beach with their son, Brooks, 11, and two rescue dogs, Rusty, a Golden Retriever, and Beaches, a lab mix.
Structure is the key, she says, to balancing her career and motherhood. Spurdle wakes up at 5 a.m. and, after a quick scan of email and news, heads out on her morning run with one of their dogs, careful to return in time for her husband to leave for work.
After she and Brooks enjoy breakfast together, she drops him at school and arrives at the office, where she promptly meets with her assistant to review her daily task list and calendar. She looks at portfolios, managing buys and sells, before spending the rest of the morning on the phone. Afternoons are for summaries and follow-ups, with performance reviews quarterly and financial plan reviews annually.
ON THE FAST TRACK
Spurdle and her family wind down by traveling, cooking and boating. “I love fast cars. I love fast boats. But as I get older,” she says, laughing, “I get more boring and want a nice car that runs well and is somewhat practical.”
She also loves fast runs, celebrating her 50th birthday in November 2018 by completing her 11th marathon. Her time — 3 hours, 53 minutes — was seconds from her 2005 Boston Marathon finish. “I was floored, and I was excited!” she says. “And Brooks and Craig had flowers for me at the finish line!”