Too Sexy

Donna Childs, 33

Passion. Enthusiasm. These are words that Childs, president and founder of Chrysalis Capital LLC, uses when talking about her work and anything else that puts her financial skills to good use.

Childs founded her Wall Street risk-financing firm in 1998 after working in reinsurance. Seeing a need for this type of institution, she decided to take a chance. "I think there are wonderful opportunities in the market, and I'm more of an entrepreneurial person, so it's always been my dream," she says. And the dream is paying off. Last year, Chrysalis, whose offices in New York City and London employ 18 people, had a 45 percent return on equity.

When not leading her successful company, Childs finds time to go to school and do volunteer work. Already holding a bachelor's degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry from Yale and a master's in international economics and finance from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachussets, Childs is currently pursuing an executive MBA at Columbia University. "It's nice to be able to tap into some of the expertise that exists at the business school when I'm working on a problem for work," she says.

Childs also finds time to lend her financial expertise to worthy causes. In 1993, she was named one of the 100 Real Heroes by Maxwell House Coffee for a business plan she developed to provide home health care to senior citizens in Massachusetts at no cost to taxpayers. She is on the board of governors for a charity that has operations in 25 developing countries and does pro bono finance work for other organizations. "It's a great way to contribute to worthy causes," she says, "but you also learn a lot that you can take back to the business."

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This article was originally published in the October 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Too Sexy.

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