After Wall Street, Cooking Up A New Job

Wall Street veteran Jessi Walter now runs her own business - teaching kids about cooking.

When Wall Street veteran Jessi Walter goes to work these days, she goes to the supermarket.

What are we shopping for today? CBS News business correspondent Anthony Mason asked.

"Gingerbread," she said. "We're making gingerbread houses and gingerbread kid cookies."

Three months ago, Walter started a new business - teaching kids to cook. She launched her company, Cupcake Kids, after her previous career as market strategist crashed.

"I was at Bear Stearns. I worked on Wall Street for five years and I got laid off. June 2nd was my last day," she said.

Bear Stearns, the investment banking giant, was the first major casualty of the subprime crisis. Last march, on the brink of collapse, Bear was bought by JP Morgan Chase.

"Did you have a moment of panic the day you found out?" Mason asked.

"I'd say shock," she said.

Half of its 14,000 employees, including Jessi Walter, lost their jobs. She also lost a six-figure salary.

"I felt like, okay, this happened. What am I gonna do?" she said.

Young, single and with no mortgage to pay off, Walter decided to risk a radical career change.

Didn't the state of the economy scare her?

"Well, no. I mean it's definitely a tough economy. But I feel like being scared won't really help," she said.

For now, she works alone out of her tiny apartment, hiring part-time teachers to help run the cooking classes.

Income wise, she's taken a hit.

"Oh, definitely," she said.

And Walter says she's working harder than she ever did on Wall Street. But business is picking up.

"So you're thinking, 'if I can get through this ...'" Mason asked.

"Definitely. Then you never know," she said. "Only hopefully good things from here."

The economic crisis is forcing many Americans to rethink how they live. For Jessi Walter it's meant a whole new recipe.

  • Anthony Mason
    Anthony Mason

    CBS News senior business and economics correspondent; Co-host, "CBS This Morning: Saturday"