The latest episode of Zonda’s Inspirational Leadership with the Best in Home Building podcast features an interview with Margaret Whelan, founder and CEO of Whelan Advisory Capital Markets (WACM), a boutique investment bank and broker dealer focused on mergers and acquisitions and capital-raising advisory exclusively for the residential housing and construction industry.

Whelan is a trailblazer in her field, drawing clients from all over the world to WACM.

Here are some highlights from the episode:

On starting her own company after a career on Wall Street
“I had identified an opportunity to start this boutique with the goal of offering a higher level of service to a smaller group of clients. I have this attitude of abundance in every aspect of my life, but, in particular, there are so many great companies and so many great clients in this industry. I wanted really to be their trusted adviser. I started out in November 2014, grabbed a couple of former colleagues to join me, and the rest is history.”

On the realities of growing up in Ireland
“Growing up in Ireland and leaving Ireland, you know, any time there’s a life change I try to think of what opportunities I’m getting rather than what I’m giving up. And Americans, in particular, love to romanticize Ireland, but I was born in the 1970s, when we essentially had a civil war. I left in 1994 before the peace process. So, my whole childhood was bombings and bomb threats, unemployment rates in the 20% range. Everyone who was educated left. There was no other choice for us. All of my friends, we graduated together and essentially got right on a plane to London, New York, or Australia.”

On what drives her
“The one thing that drives me more than anything else is independence, being independent. I’m very particular about a lot of things, which is why I started my own business. … I wanted to be financially independent. Having a home was always very important to me—I’m a complete homebody.”

On what draws her to the housing industry
“Investment banking is a skill set. It’s not an easy skill set. You learn there are tips and tricks to every trade, it takes time. But housing itself is a vast industry, and … I think as an immigrant, the opportunity for homeownership was so important to me, especially as someone who was beating the odds as a woman in finance and a woman on Wall Street.”

On WACM’s success
“A boutique like ours closing half-a-billion-dollar transactions? Those are deals that the big investment banks would love to have. The success keeps building on itself. I think being very clearheaded about what we are and what we’re not, and really leading with integrity, is very important. It differentiates me from several of my peers, which helps too.”

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