Wunderkinds 2013: Samantha Eichenberg, 28
Trading Operations Manager, Kingdom Ridge Capital, LLC; Owner, The Dessertist
Samantha Eichenberg moved from Liberty, Ohio, to Sleepy Hollow for an Ossining-based publishing job in 2007, the day after her final class at Kent State University, from which she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business and marketing. The 28-year-old brought with her a strong Midwestern work ethic, which she credits for her success at Kingdom Ridge Capital, an eight-person hedge fund in White Plains where she began working in 2010. Though she had no prior knowledge of finance, hard work catapulted her from office manager to trading operations manager in less than three years. All the while, she’s been running a growing dessert catering business, The Dessertist, out of her Croton kitchen.
From 2007 to 2009, Eichenberg worked at Boutique Design magazine as director of sales and marketing. She produced events in faraway places like Dubai, but the hours were grueling, and, in need of a more balanced lifestyle when she got pregnant, she took a job at Kingdom Ridge as office manager in 2010. Says Kingdom Ridge Managing Principal Chris Zepf, “I told her on day one, ‘If you want to learn more, we’ll help you.’ She took that and ran with it.”
It wasn’t long after Eichenberg took the job that she was dabbling in areas outside her job description. She started managing trading records and working directly with some of the firm’s Wall Street brokers. By 2011, she was promoted to data manager. And when the firm’s head trader left in 2012, all eyes turned to her. “They looked at me and saw my progress, my ambition, and said, ‘Jump on in,’” recalls Eichenberg. So, in 2012, she was named trading operations manager and moved to the trading desk full time.
She’s now the primary contact for the firm’s Wall Street brokers and handles dozens of trades per day. It’s up to Eichenberg to see that the money changes hands exactly as Zepf intends it to. And that’s not a job for just anyone—especially when you consider Kingdom Ridge’s multimillion dollars in assets under management. “I have grown so quickly in an industry I never imagined myself in,” says Eichenberg. “It’s been incredibly rewarding.”
When she’s not on the phone with brokers from Goldman Sachs or Credit Suisse, Eichenberg is The Dessertist. She’s known for the inventive flavors of her popular cake pops, such as “Fruity Pebbles” and “Animal Cracker” from her kids’ line. She also has an alcohol-infused line called the Party Crew, with flavors like Margarita and Jack n’ Coke. They’re consumed at parties, book signings, and charity events, and they’ve even been ordered for the sets of 30 Rock and The Good Wife. Recently, she was hired by Connecticut-based bar and restaurant Darien Social as dessert chef to design (and bake) the dessert menu.
All these accomplishments before the age of 30 leave one wondering where she’ll be by 40—and whether she will go the route of Martha Stewart or Lloyd Blankfein.