As managing director at Old City Investment Partners, a New York-based firm, Audrey (Russakov '92) Weitz connects investors with promising alternative investments, from asset-backed leasing to private credit funds.
“I’m a matchmaker, plain and simple,” says Weitz, who after graduating from UC Santa Barbara first went to work in political fundraising. That experience, which included time with the Democratic National Committee’s finance arm, laid the groundwork for her current career.
“When I was fundraising, I was learning one skill: how to ask people for money and how to get the check. At the time, I didn’t realize how valuable that would be in the future,” Weitz says. “Many people aren’t comfortable discussing finances, asking for donations, but for some reason I was — and that world of political fundraising gave me the tools to do what I do now.
“I did have to learn the lingo. I’m not going to lie, I bought ‘Hedge Funds for Dummies,’” she jokes, “but UC Santa Barbara gave me enough of a foundation that I was able to pick things up quickly.”
Weitz didn’t study finance as a Gaucho. Her degree is in political science; she specialized in global peace and security and spent a year studying in Israel.
“Because I’m not a math brain, I wasn’t an economics brain; I never thought about this work for me as a career,” says Weitz, a mother of five who got into finance when her youngest started preschool. “But this is an amazing career for those who are comfortable in the space and know how to listen to people’s needs- — especially women, mothers included — who can do sales, and for those who have high social intelligence.”
Weitz worked at Nordstrom throughout her high school and college years. “It’s a retail and consumer brand and although it’s sales, the focus is always on the customer,” she says. “What I do now is no different.
“This is a great opportunity,” adds Weitz, who helped launch the nascent Gauchos in Finance group prior to the pandemic. “There are many careers within finance that are not about how to make a dollar, and they can be really lucrative.”