A high school drop out who delivered doughnuts and sold lingerie is a major advisor to Janet Yellen

Dropping out of high school at 15 and delivering doughnuts doesn’t sound like the start of a success story.

But it is for Mary Daly, an advisor to Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, Bloomberg reports.

Daly, is the vice president and associate director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. She advises Yellen wage growth.

After delivering doughnuts, working at a deli, and selling lingerie, Daly earned her GED and continued on to the University of Missouri-Kansas City and eventually got her Ph.D in economics at Syracuse University.

Now her work could influence how policy makers try to stabilise the economy during a recession, answering “questions of central importance,” Fed Chair Yellen said in an email to Bloomberg.

Daly grew up in Missouri as the daughter as a postman and a stay-at-home mum. Her parents’ divorce would prompt her to drop out of school and earn her own living. At 16, Daly was living on her own — and it would be those experiences that prompted her interest in economics.

“People lived on such a margin that they lived or died based on whether their job fell through,” she said in an interview. “That made me really interested in the labour market, interested in how people could be on this knife’s edge, of climbing up the economic ladder or falling down into the trench.”

Head to Bloomberg for the full profile>>

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