TRAILBLAZER THURSDAY: Lauren Simmons
by Melanie Roberts
On the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) floor, Lauren Simmons, 23, is trailblazing her way through Wall Street as the youngest and only full-time female on the trading room floor.
Simmons grew up in Georgia, but she had dreams of living and working in New York City. So when she graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in genetics and a minor in statistics, she knew her first venture was to move in with her grandmother in the city.
Her initial path was following a career in the medical field. Inspired by her twin brother diagnosed with cerebral palsy, her original focus was in genetic counseling. However, she quickly realized the technology wasn’t there to explore what she wanted to in the field.
Simmons was like many graduates, who in a whirlwind post-graduation haze, woke up to discover her passions lay in a field outside her bachelor’s degree. She hit the pavement to find a new occupational avenue.
Simmons spent most of the months after graduation utilizing her “best friend” aka LinkedIn to spark new inspiration for a position in the world of finance. She discovered her passion for numbers as a universal language, and in March 2017 joined Rosenblatt Securities as an equity trader.
As one of the last remaining trading floors to use human brokers, the NYSE was the perfect fit for Simmons.
“The one thing that I love about numbers and statistics, and kind of one of the reasons I came to the New York Stock Exchange, is because numbers are a universal language,” she explained in an interview with CNBC. “When you put them on a board it connects everyone, which is probably one of the reasons why the New York Stock Exchange is so iconic.”
As only the second African American woman to sign the book that contains the constitution for the New York Stock Exchange, Simmons acknowledges the significance of her position, but tries not to dwell on it. Instead, she focuses her energy encouraging women to break into “male dominated” fields, and teaching them not to be afraid to speak their minds in those types of environments. She mentioned in most cases women are not being hired not because of the recruitment process, but because they simply aren’t applying.
About landing her spot on the NYSE floor Simmons said, “Be uncomfortable 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 just keep going.”
Though Simmons is a female trailblazer on Wall Street, her boss, Richard Rosenblatt believes she won’t be the last.