23-year-old Lauren Simmons Graduates To NYSE Floor

The Kennesaw State University graduate is the only full-time female trader at the New York Stock Exchange

Imagine breaking a glass ceiling at 23-years old— you don’t have to ponder for too long, it’s been done. Lauren Simmons, a Georgia native is the only full-time female trader at the New York Stoke Exchange.

Simmons graduated from Kennesaw State University in the Fall of 2016 with a BA in genetics and minoring in statistics with the hopes of entering the medical field. Like most college grads, once you have your degree in hand plans tend to change. Realizing her passion wasn’t in the medical field Lauren Simmons took to LinkedIn to browse Finance positions. Simmons always had an affinity for numbers, realizing it’s a universal language.

Before starting her new career in March 2017, Simmons had to pass the Series 19 exam, a requirement for all floor brokers to earn their badge. Only having a month to study and pass the pressure was on. “When I see stats that say 80% don’t get through, I look at the 20%… so when everyone kept saying ‘it’s a hard test, don’t worry if you don’t pass’ for me, I needed to pass to prove to myself that I could do this” says Simmons. And she did just that.

Those Who Came Before

Simmons story reminds us of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson who were portrayed in Hidden Figures, with a mix of Wolf of Wall Street. The NYSE, a male-dominated arena resembles a men’s locker room. Foul language, high stress, a men’s club with no woman in sight… until now.

We can recall Jordan Belfort’s many obscenities in Wolf of Wall Street, life truly does imitate art. And just how we saw Katherine Johnson walk miles a day to relieve herself the NYSE was no different. Just 50 years ago there were no restrooms for women, and even now they are further away than the men’s restrooms.

From The Floor To The Ceiling

Drawing from her own journey Simmons says “Be comfortable and go after what you want. Apply for the job— you have no idea what lies behind the door. And if you don’t get the job, it’s ok. Apply for the next job and move forward. Don’t let that be a stop in your career, your life or whatever you want to do. I think it’s important to keep going.”

Since its establishment in 1792, the New York Stoke Exchange finally has its first female president, Stacey Cunningham. Although slow to progress, Lauren Simmons sees a culture shift soon. Working as an equity trader for Rosenblatt Securities at the New York Stock Exchange was not Simmons’ dream in college but she literally hit the floor running.

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