While there’s no doubt that we’ve still got a long way to go, women have been making headway in the financial world for decades. Here are five pioneers who paved the way for our own CEO Alison Burns.
Muriel Siebert: Wall Street’s original Fearless Girl
Early this month, Wall Street’s charging bull met his match in the form of the now iconic Fearless Girl statue. But she wasn’t the first female to take on the Exchange. That would be Muriel Siebert, who made the trip from her childhood home in Ohio to Manhattan in 1954 when she was 26.
Siebert started her career as a low paid analyst, but she quickly proved her capacity for finance, and by 1965, she’d made partner at Brimberg and Co. But she still only made 60% of what a man would make doing the same work.
Rather than settle for less, Siebert launched her own firm in 1967, and from there, she became legend. She was the first female stock trader on Wall Street and New York’s first female superintendent of banking, and she donated large sums of her Exchange earnings funding other women in business.
Cathy Engelbert: the CEO who’s letting employees have it all
Siebert paved the way for other other firsts, including Cathy Engelbert, the first female CEO of a “Big Four” accounting firm. As the CEO of Deloitte, a 75,000 person company, Engelbert has been an inspiration to other women in business. She’s advised women to define what they count as success rather than having it defined for them, and she’s encouraged them to make more time for life outside of work.
She practices what she preaches in her daily life, making time to attend her daughter’s lacrosse games. She also practices what she preaches at work. In September 2016 under Engelbert’s guidance, Deloitte unveiled its generous new family leave policy that provides employees with 16 fully paid weeks off to care for family members.
Janet Estep: the most influential woman in payments
In the payment processing world, Janet Estep is arguably one of the most prominent pioneers. The President and CEO of the National Automated Clearing House Association has made PaymentSource’s Most Influential Women in Payments every year since 2013.
As the leader of the organization that sets standards for the ACH Network, Estep works collaboratively with diverse organizations to develop rules that benefit everyone who participates in modern payments systems. She’s been a major proponent of faster payment processing while always paying attention to the lessons that come from rapid change in the economy.
Alexa von Tobel: the CEO who’s helping women master finances
She may have been a business school dropout, but Alexa von Tobel is tuned in to the financial needs of modern women. In 2009, she founded LearnVest, a digital financial planner, to equip women with the tools they need to understand and manage their finances wisely.
Her mission to provide affordable financial advice to the average Jane using technology was surprisingly original, and the market was ready for her. She raised her first $1 million easily in six months, and confidence in her ability to corner the market hasn’t let up yet.
Cheryl Guerin: the VP who put the heart in commerce
MasterCard’s award-winning Priceless™ campaign has been going strong since 1997. It launched as a television commercial posing the unique proposition: “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”
However, under the direction of Cheryl Guerin, the Executive Vice President of North American Products & Marketing US Mastercard, the campaign went viral. Guerin’s aspirational approach to financing encouraged people around the world to think about what “priceless moments” they were saving up for. She used social media and photo sharing to connect people with their finances and with Mastercard.
We’ve come a long way, baby!
Muriel Siebert may have been the first Fearless Girl on Wall Street, but more pioneering women are finding their places every day. At Precision Payment Systems, we welcome the company.