Like the companies she targets, portfolio manager Elizabeth Jones, who has co-managed the Buffalo Discovery Fund since 2004, has made it her business to embrace change and make it work to her advantage.

Her fund’s investing sweet spot is companies that can take advantage of long-term trends in markets and company operations. Those trends might include the growth of internet commerce or the long-term tendency of robots to replace human labor.

Launched in 2001, the Buffalo Discovery Fund, a $1.9 billion mid-cap growth fund, has a five-star Morningstar rating. In the last three years, it’s been less volatile than both the Standard & Poor’s 500 and its peers.

Her journey, however, has been a long and sometimes painful one. From 1992 to 1996, Jones was a practicing physician working at the University of Chicago Hospitals in internal medicine and pediatrics. From 1996 to 2000, she served in the U.S. Public Health Service/Indian Health Service in Phoenix treating HIV patients and starting a clinic dedicated to Native American adolescents.

In these early years of her career, the relentless long hours and emotional strain of the health-care rat race took their toll. “When I started doing my residency, I wasn’t entirely happy, but I was too far in to stop,” she recalls. “I remember going through the park on my way to work on Saturdays and being jealous of people who had the time to just hang out or walk their dog.”

After her residency was completed, her stint as a physician on a vastly underserved Indian reservation confirmed those sentiments. Still, working in the public health space for several years meant her vast pile of government medical school loans would be forgiven. Once that financial burden was lifted, she took some time off and eventually obtained a master’s degree from Arizona State University.

Her father and two siblings, all physicians, were skeptical of the move at first. “Now they are jealous of me,” she says. “I found my passion in investing. I was born to do this.”

She joined Kornitzer Capital Management (KCM), advisor to the Buffalo Funds, in 2003 as a health-care analyst and became a co-manager of the Buffalo Discovery Fund a few months later.

Jones, who specializes in evaluating health-care and biotechnology companies, believes that many of the skills she acquired in her previous professional life apply to her current job. “With patients, you need to gather information and use deductive reasoning to arrive at a conclusion,” she says. “The same holds true when you’re evaluating stocks.”  

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