Working in an industry where you are one of very few women can be challenging enough — but imagine what it's like to be the only woman on staff.
That was the case for New York Stock Exchange trader Lauren Simmons. In 2017 at 23-years-old she was the youngest woman to be a full-time trader for the New York Stock Exchange serving as an equity trader for Rosenblatt Securities.
Lauren is one of a few women in history to occupy a trading role, and according to the BBC, she joins a short list of women who have signed their names in the book containing the constitution of the New York Stock Exchange alongside the likes of John D. Rockefeller.
She was both the youngest and the only full-time female employee to hold that position at the NYSE as well as the second African woman in 226 years.
Lauren, we salute you.
3 1717 hours ago
Like many students, Martina Marshall Edwards started in one major, but eventually made the switch to another major. In Edwards’ case, her proficiency with numbers and definitive solutions drew her away from nursing to the world of finance. “Then the intersection of opportunity and preparation guided me to a highly sought-after internship, where I was among the top 10 percent selected from 2,000 applicants for Sponsors for Educational Opportunity — the chief provider of diverse talent to Wall Street for high-achieving students of color,” Edwards explained.
Later, Edwards headed off to Merrill Lynch for an unforgettable summer in sales/trading in New York City. “I was in awe of the boisterous vibe of the trading floor — the epicenter for how shares of public companies are traded and currency is exchanged,” she recalled. Edwards says a job offer leading into her senior year helped seal the deal for her Wall Street career.
In 2004, she became the only African-American female stock trader on the New York Stock Exchange. After settling into her role by her third year, the head of the floor for Merrill Lynch thought Edwards had the wherewithal to become a broker.
“It was a whirlwind for me working in the belly of the beast — a dynamic, fast-paced, steep learning curve in a male-dominated environment with high-stakes trading activity, and little to no room for error,” she noted.
Edwards was recognized as the first African-American female trading broker for Merrill Lynch on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 2004, often executing volatile stock orders of more than $50MM in daily trading value. At the time, she was also identified as the only actively trading African-American woman seatholder among its then 1,366 members.
Edwards now serves as Chief of Strategic Partnerships at Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), whose mission is to provide community economic development to underserved people and communities.
Martina, we salute you.
0 1117 hours ago
When it comes to chasing your dreams, Gail Pankey-Albert knows you have to jump right in with both feet. Pankey-Albert dreamed of attending college since she was a youngster. Unfortunately, her family could only afford tuition for one of her three siblings, so her academic dreams would have to wait. But not her professional dreams.
Pankey-Albert got right to it, graduating from high school on a Friday night and reporting to work at the New York Stock Exchange the following Monday. She had already interviewed successfully for a position during spring of her senior year of high school.
By June 1971, she was working as a carrier, which entailed traveling among traders gathering computer punch cards that were then fed into the NYSE’s ticker system. She was quickly promoted to a squad messenger.
Over the course of the next decade, she would work for several Wall Street firms, serving first as a computer operator; then as an institutional clerk; and, later, as an elected floor official – all the while accruing professional credentials, securities and exchange licenses and working with seasoned colleagues who guided her.
In 1981, Pankey-Albert became the first minority female NYSE seat holder representing York Securities, a discount brokerage house.
In March 2001, after a 30-year affiliation with Wall Street, she decided to close the doors of her firm and take stock of her own life. Her new direction would include earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree in 2010.
Gail, we salute you.
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