How This Female Engineer Pivoted To Become A Top Wall Street Leader
original article by Cherly Robinson, ForbesWomen
I first learned about Suzanne Shank when my husband shared an Instagram article with me. I don't always read every word in most articles, however, Mrs. Shank had me mesmerized, so much that I started researching more about her and her accomplishments, She has inspired me and helped me to look inside me to see that I am this powerful woman and I can do anything. I look forward to the day when I meet her and perhaps she and I can have a conversation over tea or coffee. Just to be in the same room with her would be electrifying. Thank you Suzanne Shank for being you and helping us in ways you may never know! - Charlie Whitfield, CEO-WhittyIT
Suzanne Shank, CEO of Siebert Cisneros Shank & Co., L.L.C., is one of the top female leaders in the financial sector. She had the privilege and honor of being mentored by Muriel “Mickie” Siebert, the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. With Siebert’s passing in 2013, Shank has now taken the lead in continuing to create and develop opportunities for women and young people in finance.
Shank, along with her former partners, built a firm that has managed over two trillion dollars in financings for municipal users, corporate bonds and equity transactions. “There’s a great sense of pride,” Shank explained, “when your book of business is so robust you can compete head-to-head with your competition without a lot of explanation.” Throughout her 30 year journey, Shank has been able to successfully pivot by adopting a ‘don’t give up’ mindset.
Shank initially worked as a structural engineer and began to realize that without an advanced degree there was no career path; there was no room for growth. She enrolled in the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Her interest in finance piqued.
Shank is now in a position to pay-it-forward. She advises women looking to enter finance to “understand that you don’t have to sacrifice all of your personal life to experience a leadership position in the industry. The most important thing we [women in finance] can do right now is give a hand up and provide mentorship for other women.” In addition, she shares her three essential steps for a successful pivot:
Be prepared. Pursue all necessary training even if it means earning another degree.Be persistent. Expect that it’s going to be challenging at times. Don’t give up until you have exhausted all options.Become the expert. Experts in a particular area tend to be highly sought after both within and outside of their organization.
Shank wishes Siebert was here to witness the first woman president of the New York Stock Exchange, especially considering where Siebert came from and all that she had accomplished. “I’m proud,” declares Shank, “that I can have the opportunity to hire women in our business and young people who are extremely dynamic.”