Today I’m highlighting Ms. Lauren Simmons, who is currently the only full time, female trader at the New York Stock Exchange. Simmons moved to New York City in 2016 after graduating from Kennesaw State University with a bachelor’s in genetics and a minor in statistics. She intended to go into the medical field, but soon realized that her passion was in numbers. In a special named Make It by CNBC, Simmons says, “The one thing that I love about numbers and statistics, and kind of one of the reasons I came to the NYSE, is because numbers are a universal language.”
She eventually secured a spot at Rosenblatt Securities by applying to an open position on LinkedIn. Her position wasn’t 100% secured though, until she passed the Series 19 exam, an exam that all traders on the floor had to pass. At the time Simmons only had a month to prepare for the exam, which was based on finance concepts. On top of that let’s remember that Simmons did not study finance, she received a bachelor’s in genetics so she had to work a little harder than most. In CNBC’s Make It special, Simmons explains, “… and when I tell you a lot of people did not think I was going to pass, they really did not think I was going to pass.” People would say things to her like, “It’s a hard test, don’t worry if you don’t pass.” As a result, Simmons describes feeling like she had something to prove to herself and to her male colleagues, so there was no other option but to pass the exam.
She studied extremely hard and passed the exam, which shocked everyone. But also, passing the exam gave her the confidence boost she needed in knowing that she could take on the role just like then men she was working alongside of. “When I see statistics that say 80% don’t make it through, I look at the other 20%.” says Simmons. Well congratulations to this queen for being a part of that 20%!
Peter Tuchman, who is known for being one of the most photographed traders on Wall Street, speaks on the lack of gender diversity at the NYSE by saying, “The environment towards women still hasn’t changed in so many respects – and it must change.” The future is looking a little brighter though, being that Stacey Cunningham was recently named the president of the NYSE. Cunningham is the first woman to hold that title since the exchange was established in 1792.
Simmons expresses her excitement saying, “… I really do believe that new changes are coming. Hopefully with her being the new president, and you know even my story, that will encourage other women to come down here as well.” She encourages women who may not feel confident in pursuing a career on Wall Street by telling them not to limit themselves. She says, “Be uncomfortable and go after what you want – apply for that job – you have no idea what lies behind the door. And if you don’t get the job it’s OK… I think it’s important to just keep going.”
If you keep up with my blog, you know that I definitely do not want to pursue a career in finance! But being that Simmons is the only full time trader on the floor, the second African American woman to hold that position, and she had a bachelors in GENETICS, I found her story to be incredibly inspiring. She simply showed us, that if you want to pursue something, all you have to do is remain steadfast, even if it’s not a career in finance. Leave a comment if Simmons’ story inspired or motivated you in some way!
ALL information in this article was taken from : https://www.cnbc.com/2018/06/13/23-year-old-lauren-simmons-is-the-nyses-only-full-time-woman-trader.html