At CAPIS, we put relationships first. We think of our team as a family, which is why it is
important for us to get to know each member and shine a spotlight on them. To that end, we sat
down with one of our senior equity traders, Kelly Eskildsen , to discuss how she got started in
the trading industry, some of the best moments during her 17 years at CAPIS, and her hobbies
and interests outside of work.
What piqued your interest in the financial services industry?
I first became interested in this industry because a really good family friend was working
as a market maker at Southwest Securities, which is where I eventually had my first job.
She would tell me stories about trading while I was in college at Iowa State. Until that
time, I thought I’d always be working on my family’s farm in Iowa. The conversations that
I had with her are what first piqued my interest.
What was your first role at CAPIS?
I was working at the agency-only call desk at Southwest Securities and, from watching market makers, I became interested in the trading side. When I found out there was an opening at CAPIS as a junior sales trader in 2003, I decided to make the move. I liked
that all junior traders are matched with senior traders who serve as mentors. It helps to provide an extra layer of support and ensures proper execution when you are new to the job.
I learned that on the trading desk, you wear many hats. For instance, you are taking orders, trading, executing, allocating your own trades, and basically being the point person from the beginning of the trade to the end of the trade.
What has been the most impactful moment of your career or best experience?
I was in the first round of junior traders that they hired at CAPIS — there were five of us.
I got to help train some of them, and it was really rewarding when I saw one of the junior
traders whom I trained do so well that they were promoted to the next position. I like to
help coach and teach colleagues in other CAPIS departments about trading operations
so they can learn and excel.
What do you like most about your job?
I am currently a senior equity trader and have been working at CAPIS for 17 years,
which is crazy to say out loud. At CAPIS, we are very much focused on relationships,
experience, and consistency. In fact, while I’ve been here for nearly two decades, I am
still one of the newest employees out of all the people on the trading desk, which speaks
volumes about our loyalty and dedication to both CAPIS and our clients. We are
essentially an extension of the client’s desk and they consider us one of their traders.
When I first started as a junior trader, I backed up nearly all of the traders on the desk at
one point in time. Because of this, I can say that I know just about every client that
CAPIS has worked with. In fact, clients will still ask for me by name when their trader
isn’t available because they know that they can count on me. Even recently during
quarantine when we and our clients have been working from home and they can’t
necessarily get their trader on the phone, clients will contact me directly for support
because they know I will get them where they need to go.
I also really enjoy that I have become a trusted team member and know that members of
our leadership team will look to me for guidance, come to me with questions, and ask for
my assistance in making decisions, like whether to implement a new trading system.
Where do you look forward to traveling to after COVID-19 passes?
This is an easy question – hands down, we are going to Denmark. Our family hosted a
foreign exchange student two years ago from Denmark and he lived with us for a year.
He became part of our family. His family came here at the end of his program to spend
time in Texas and learn about America, and we want to go stay with them for a few
weeks in Denmark and be a part of their family.
What are your interests or hobbies outside of work?
I have a green thumb and love to garden. In order to get outside and stay active, I like to
go walking with my group of mom friends. While I love to be a trader, I’m a mom first and
have three kids, so I spend almost all of my free time hanging out with them. In fact, I
just finished reading How to Catch a Unicorn with my daughter — I highly recommend it!