Changing the Lack of Women Leaders in Finance

Dec 8, 2014 | Leadership, Women on Wall Street

A recent feature in the Financial Times shines a light on a very important piece of LexION Capital’s mission and my own personal work: the lack of women in leadership positions in the finance industry and the need to change it.

The article notes that of the top 150 banks and financial institutions, only six have female chief executives. In other words, less than half of one percent of the chief executives of major banks are women. And, it must be noted, a significant number of those scant few women come from major banking families. This is not to say that those legacy women don’t work hard for their jobs or that there is anything wrong with being born into a banking family, but it only serves to highlight just how rare and difficult it is for women in finance to actually see a viable path to major leadership. Moreover, it doesn’t say much for what we really need in the world of finance: new thought leaders to bring change and innovative thinking in a very traditional space.

For ambitious, talented women in finance who are trying to find mentors, role models, and career paths that they can aspire to, there are precious few female examples they can look to. The lack of women leaders in finance sends a powerful, silent message to women throughout the finance industry and more broadly to women in general, who may or may not ever consider finance as a career.

We need more women in finance. We need more women in top positions of business leadership. A recent study found that the proportion of women on the executive committees of large financial institutions rose just 3% between 2003 and 2013. At that rate, we won’t see gender parity here for about another 120 years. That is ridiculous, and at LexION Capital we want to change that. I want to build a better Wall Street where a woman-owned, woman-run wealth management firm like ours is no longer the very rare exception.

I want more women to consider finance as a career, and I want women working in finance to dream big in their careers and to aim for leadership positions. I share my story and career so that ideally women can see me and can feel like they relate. My hope is that women hear my story and think, if she can do it, I can do it too.

We are in the midst of a charged holiday season that has been electrified with important activism, especially here in NYC. Change comes from thinking differently, from refusing to accept the status quo, but unfortunately in the financial industry, that status quo is changing so very slowly. This is a difficult space in which to get diverse voices heard. I am thrilled that this issue is finally getting more press, because getting more women in finance should be considered a parallel rallying cry to the importance of getting more women in STEM and supporting women who work in those fields. As a 100% woman-owned, women-run firm, LexION Capital stands for a different kind of Wall Street, one that we want to see flourish, grow, and change the face of finance.

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