The first of four children of Irish immigrants, Ms Wood spent much of her childhood moving – her father was a radar technician for the Air Force – before the family moved to Culver City, California. school in 1974, then attended the University of Southern California, majoring in Business Administration.
There she found a mentor in Arthur Laffer, one of the patron saints of the supply-side economy, after she applied for admission to one of her graduate courses.
“It took a lot of nerve,” said Mr. Laffer, 81.
He found Ms Wood to be an impressive student, unwilling, he said, to drop a subject until she fully understood it.
“I’ve never seen someone so thorough, so careful, and so research-oriented in my life, which makes her pretty sure of herself,” he said.
Ms. Wood’s work ethic and her voracious consumption of information are recurring themes among her former colleagues. She often woke up long before dawn to catch one of the first trains at Grand Central Terminal each day, treating the nearly two-hour ride from Connecticut as some sort of perpetual cracking session on the tracks.
Before smartphones, tablets and laptops, his colleagues remembered his bags loaded with research reports in and out of the office every day.
Sig Segalas co-founded Jennison Associates, a fund management store in New York City where Ms. Wood worked from the early 1980s to 1998, first as an economist and then as an analyst and fund manager. For many years her desk was next to his, and he remembers her as usually one of the last people to leave the office each day.