Forty Under 40: Kerry Watkins

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It took Kerry Watkins only three years to become a chartered financial analyst, a feat that takes most analysts another year or two. Raised on her family’s Greenland farm, the equity portfolio manager for Garner Asset Management LP learned early in life about hard work. It has paid off, she said, since a strong work ethic is a tenant of her company.

Watkins, 31, earned her bachelor’s degree in financial management from the University of Arkansas in 1992. She followed that with an eight-month stint working for Fernandez, Bartsch & Mirra on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. From 1992-93, she was a research analyst for First Tennessee Investment Management in Memphis.

While working with Greenwood & Associates in Fayetteville for the next 6.5 years, Watkins earned an M.B.A. in 1994 from the UA and became a C.F.A. in 1996. She joined Garner in 1998.

Watkins has been active in the Junior League of Northwest Arkansas since 1997 and is on its board. She also was on the Arkansas Single Parent Scholarship board and is active with Fayetteville’s Northside Rotary. Watkins is a member of the Walton College advisory board.

She’s most proud of the way Garner does business, and she said the trust of her 40 clients makes her give her best.

Even when she’s not at work, Watkins keeps up with Bull and Bear – her two Yorkies.