If you want to play leadership roles in finance and are looking for models, here are three women who have achieved great success—often by being willing to stand out, take risks, and refuse to accept no for an answer.
Geraldine Weiss, Investment Advisor
Geraldine Weiss was one of the first women to make a name for herself in finance and to prove that women could be successful investors. She learned about investing by reading books, listening to her parents' conversations, and studying business and finance in college. No investment firm was interested in hiring her as more than a secretary, despite her studies. ""It was a man's world, and women need not apply,"" she recalls. In the face of rejection, she started her own investment newsletter in 1966 at the age of 40. A response to one of her newsletter advertisements read, ""I can't imagine myself ever taking investment advice from a woman. Unless you take your advice from a man."" To avoid further gender discrimination, Weiss signed her newsletter ""G. Weiss."" It wasn't until the mid-1970s that she revealed her identity, after achieving a consistently successful track record. Weiss's value-based, dividend-oriented stock-picking strategy outperformed the strategies recommended by other newsletters and has achieved above-average returns even in poor markets. She published her newsletter, Investment Quality Trends, for 37 years until she retired in 2003. The newsletter still exists and still follows Weiss's strategy.
Muriel Siebert, Brokerage Founder
Without ever graduating from college, Muriel Siebert obtained entry-level research positions in finance, eventually made a partner and went on to found the brokerage firm Muriel Siebert & Co. in 1967. The difficult process of getting her firm registered with the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) involved numerous rejections from men who declined to sponsor her application and difficulties obtaining the necessary financing to meet the exchange's expensive entrance requirements. She persevered, and her firm became the first woman-owned member of the NYSE. It is still the only national, woman-owned brokerage on the exchange. In 1975, Siebert transformed her company into a discount brokerage, a new concept at the time. This threat to the status quo subjected her to ostracism from Wall Street and near expulsion by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). But she overcame these challenges, too. Siebert went on to bring her financial expertise to politics, another male-dominated field. As New York State Banking Department Superintendent from 1977 to 1982, she helped prevent bank failures in a tumultuous market. As a Republican, she also made a bid for a U.S. Senate seat. Siebert passed away on Aug. 24, 2013.
Abigail Johnson, Investment Advisor
Abby Joseph Cohen, Portfolio Strategist Cohen has been a respected and honored portfolio strategist for decades. After serving as a Federal Reserve Board economist in 1973, Cohen worked as an economist and quantitative strategist at major financial firms including T. Rowe Price, Barclays, and Drexel Burnham Lambert. She joined Goldman Sachs in 1990, became a partner in 1998. Her positive and accurate forecasts of the 1990s bull market made her a star in finance and media. Cohen retired in 2018 as Chief Strategist and President of Goldman's Global Market Institute. But as of 2019, she remains an advisory director and senior investment strategist, as well as a member of the Investment Committee for the firm’s U.S. retirement plans. Cohen has also held prestigious positions with organizations including Cornell University, the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute, Major League Baseball and the Council on Foreign Relations. She has also found her name on Forbes' ""Most Powerful Women"" list that includes women from all professions, not just finances. Lubna S. Olayan, CEO As CEO of Riyadh-based Olayan Financing Company, one of Saudi Arabia's most prominent companies, this Saudi woman is responsible for 50 manufacturing companies and has also been named No"
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