Photo via: BBC Video Screenshot
Historically, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) floor has been primarily made up of white male traders. There have been few women who have dared to enter into the extremely competitive and fast-paced world of stock market trading and even fewer women of color. Fast forward to today, where there is currently only one woman employed as a full-time stockbroker on the NYSE floor and her name is Lauren Simmons. She’s also the only African American woman and, at 23-years-old, the youngest on the floor.
Simmons was hired in 2017 by Rosenblatt Securities CEO and founder Richard Rosenblatt himself. Rosenblatt has remarked about his confidence in Simmons’ abilities and that “she won’t be the last” woman or woman of color that he would hire to carry on the legacy of his firm. While the trading floor remains male-dominated and advances in technology have begun to turn clients to artificial intelligence resources to manage their stock portfolios, hopefully Rosenblatt’s demonstrated example of valuing and seeking out a more diverse trading staff will influence others in the industry to follow suit.
Simmons grew up in Marietta, Georgia and is an alumna of Kennesaw State University. She completed a degree in genetics which gave her a foundation for critical analysis and data collection. While in school, she held a part time job as a supervisor at a local amusement park and also completed multiple internships that allowed her to hone the leadership and analytical skills that led her to pursue a career with the NYSE.
While interning with the Woodstock Clinical Treatment Center, she created an interactive $300,000 budget sheet after analyzing past expenses that helped the facility better itemize their expenses and plan for anticipated future spending. She also interned with Nordstrom and Saks, Inc. before joining Rosenblatt Securities. “I fell in love with the numbers and the fast movement, and the men in the trading jackets and everything was moving so fast and I’m loving it,” Simmons shared with BBC News during an interview they conducted with her earlier this month.
As the only woman on the trading floor, Simmons continues to leave her counterparts in awe with her meaningful contributions to advance her firm. “They are like you’re a woman, and you are 23, and you are a minority,” Simmons said. As she continues to be asked questions like, “what are you doing, how did you get this job?” she simply continues to learn and excel as she always has. To watch the full BBC interview with Simmons, click HERE.