- Associated Press - Monday, September 1, 2014

OSHKOSH, Wis. (AP) - Fifty years ago, Armene Hafemeister’s search for the perfect job led her to the fifth floor of the First National Bank in Oshkosh.

The part-time clerk position at Carl M. Hennig Investments was better than the job at the wildlife nursery where she had worked for 13 years.

“How much better could I have it than a job that goes from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.?” Hafemeister asked.

The year was 1964, one year before the firm’s current owner, Tom Harenburg, joined the company, and three years before Muriel Siebert became the first woman to join the New York Stock Exchange.

It would be nearly another decade before Hafemeister would become a broker herself. Fifty years later, it’s a job she still relishes and one that has always fit perfectly with her tireless German work ethic, Oshkosh Northwestern Media (https://oshko.sh/1AYyGDV ) reported.

“I’m loving every minute of it,” Hafemeister said with a smile. “I’m lucky to have the opportunity considering where I started from. The people here thought I had the wherewithal to do it more than I did. Now, I love it.”

Harenburg said Hafemeister’s personable, no-nonsense, dedicated approach to the business made her an obvious candidate for getting a brokers license, even though Wall Street remained male-dominated in the 1960s and ‘70s.

“A woman on Wall Street for 50 years is unheard of,” he said. “But we felt there was an opportunity for women in the securities business. And Armene took to it quickly. Now, she’s as addicted to it as I am. She’s fantastic with the older clientele and women and she has a wealth of knowledge I’d hate to see the company lose.”

Oshkosh resident Sally Farley got to know Hafemeister in the early 1990s when she sought help managing her portfolio.

“Armene was a sharp woman, very nice, but even at that time, I didn’t think it was so normal she was a broker,” Farley said. “It was still a man’s world.”

Farley said Hafemeister routinely went above and beyond her role as a broker.

“I was going to UWO and she encouraged Altrusa to give me a small scholarship. I was appreciative and surprised she thought of me,” Farley said.

Hafemeister still favors the old approach to investing in which clients buy a stock and hold on to it for years, if not decades, through thick and thin. She said she looks for stocks that pay dividends, have a reliable name and show consistent, long-term performance, though she’s also grown flexible enough to advise clients to buy or sell when the margin seems too good to be true.

“I’m not much of a gambler,” she said. “I tell them to buy good stocks and they’ll be OK.”

Hafemeister said the challenge of shepherding clients’ investments for years, sometimes over multiple generations, keeps her going.

“I shouldn’t have to work. I can get by without this,” she said. “But I like the challenge. People are looking for help with things like this and I just love my clients. They’re good to me. And they have so much confidence in me.”

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Information from: Oshkosh Northwestern Media, https://www.thenorthwestern.com

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