The wonder women of wall street are here! The gender ratio in the list of biggest and brightest names on Wall Street continues to approach equality every time its measured, and soon the traders we emulate might not all be men.
The drive to attract women to STEM fields, which includes finance, mathematics, and engineering – the trio of majors most-widely cherished on Wall Street – has attracted talented, ambitious and focused women to the stock markets.
Let’s recognize them as a category of their own as the “Fearless Girl” statue standing across from the “Charging Bull” gains official authorization to remain in place through February 2018.
#1 Geraldine Weiss, The Grand Dame of Dividends
Wall Street’s first female stock broker, Geraldine Weiss, also known as “The Grand Dame of Dividends,” shattered a sturdy glass ceiling in her youth. But her face-off with sexism did not end there. Armed with a degree in business and economics from the University of California, Weiss started her own investment advisory service, Investment Quality Trends (IQT), with a male partner.
“We sent out identical promotional letters–one signed with his name, and one signed Geraldine Weiss,” the top broker told Forbes in a 2002 interview. “He got all the responses, and I didn’t get a single one.”
After her partner left the venture to trade full-time, Weiss began signing her newsletter G. Weiss – a trick to hide her gender in a male-driven industry. “For years I received letters addressed to Mr. Weiss because nobody realized this service was being run by a woman,” she said.
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Her analysis marketed a patent dividend yield theory, which urges investors to buy stocks with high dividends because they represent real growth in total capital. Rises in stock value might only reflect speculative hikes in a corporate market cap, which is why Weiss sorts her recommended buys by dividend yield value, rather than ticker trends.
By the mid-70’s, Weiss’ gumption scored her an invite to Wall Street Week, which is where most of her high-profile subscribers first realized their mistake.
“By then I’d been in business long enough that people were making money with my service. At that point they didn’t care whether an ape was running it,” she added.
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#2 Sallie Krawcheck, One of New York’s Most Powerful
“People say to me, ‘Has being a woman helped or hindered your career?’ And the answer is yes.” –SK
Flashing forward to the present, Sallie Krawcheck is now considered one of the most powerful women of wall street in New York’s investment scene. After working top positions at Wall Street’s foremost banks, Merrill Lynch appointed her president of its wealth management unit in 2009. Two years of Krawcheck’s tenure led to $3.1 billion in profits for Bank of America’s investment wing.
The Columbia Business School grad’s most recent contribution to Wall Street is Ellevest, a digital investment advisor designed for and by women to bridge the gender gap in stock market participation.
Her LinkedIn description of the venture is corny but succinct: “Dream big. Invest smart.”
#3 Mary Callahan Erdoes, Wall Street Powerhouse
“There is no substitute for hard work. There is a little luck along the way, but there is no substitute for really super-hard work, first in, last out.”–MCE
Clocking in $12.5 billion in revenues in 2015, Mary Callahan Erdoes is a powerhouse on Wall Street. Her clients trust her with $2 trillion in assets, which landed her a position on Business Insider’s list of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women on Wall Street.
Like Krawcheck, Erdoes’ flagship project has been devising tools to allow women to embrace the stock market and a career in corporate life. She heads J.P. Morgan’s Re-Entry program, which retrains women who previously had careers in finance before leaving the industry to start a family.
“Led by Asset Management CEO Mary Erdoes and Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake, senior women took the program on the road, hosting events in locations where the company employs hundreds, and often thousands, of women,” the program’s official website says. So far, the duo has brought the program to 23 American cities, touching 6,000 employees across the country.
#4 Marie Chandoha, The New Leadership
“I’m a firm believer in ‘if you can see it, you can be it.’–MC
After years of working in financial services, Marie Chandoha has made management diversity a cornerstone of her career. Morningstar’s recent industry survey found that just nine percent of American open-end fund managers were women, which convinced the Charles Schwab executive to pay a larger role in helping female advancement within her company.
Chandoha’s Women’s Leadership Program and associated executive coaching initiatives promise to make Schwab’s upper management more reflective of 21st century America. It’s one that promises to become a minority-majority nation in just a few decades.
Surface-level diversity isn’t her only goal, either.
“I believe that fostering an open, respectful work environment, and encouraging people to speak openly about what is working and not working has been a huge contributor to what has made us so successful,” Chandoha told American Banker.
#5 Edith W. Cooper, Global Watchdog
The hunt for the next generation of Wall Street traders does not end at routine on-campus interviews for Edith Cooper, the Global Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs.
True, Cooper does not represent female traders as the rest of the women of wall street on this list do. But her efforts go a long way in ensuring that gains in corporate life diversity cross gender, race and educational background.
Over 250,000 students apply for Goldman Sachs summer programs every year, making Cooper’s job one of the most difficult human resources puzzles in the modern workforce. In recent years, her team has ditched the previous model of on-campus headhunting, in which campus recruiters scour thousands of applications from private and public schools alike to recommend some to move on while condemning others to a reject pile. A new videoconferencing selection process allows history majors, art enthusiasts and students from other backgrounds to get an opportunity to work at Goldman Sachs.
Cooper’s human resources department also became the first on Wall Street to ban interns from working past midnight and protected junior bankers’ weekends from job-related encroachment. Her watchful eyes protect everyone from the young and vulnerable to the old and fragile.
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