Leading Ladies of Finance: Most Influential Women Shaping the Financial Landscape in USA

By: GWL Team | Tuesday, 27 June 2023

Women's impact in the dynamic and always changing world of finance is on the rise as they make substantial contributions and help to define the sector in the United States. These pioneering women have cracked glass barriers, defied expectations, and forged a path to success that will serve as an example to succeeding generations from boardrooms to trading floors.

In the worldwide financial services industry, women occupied just 15% of executive committee posts, according to a 2020 Deloitte survey. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, women in the banking industry make, on average, between 62 and 66% of what their male counterparts make.

These women have had a significant influence on the financial landscape thanks to their strategic leadership, extraordinary skills, and steadfast dedication to excellence. Their successes include a wide range of industries, including corporate finance, investment banking, asset management, fintech, and regulatory affairs.

Get ready to be motivated as we explore the inspiring tales of these powerful women, emphasising their extraordinary accomplishments, ground-breaking projects, and unrelenting commitment to bringing about good change. They are real role models who are dismantling stereotypes and paving the path for a future in finance that is more inclusive and varied.

Abigail Johnson

Abigail Johnson, CEO of Fidelity Investments (American multinational financial services corporation), emphasized self-belief and commitment for career starters. Under her leadership, Fidelity achieved a 15% revenue increase in 2021, attracting 2.3 million young investors.

Recognizing the importance of digital assets, Fidelity catered to mobile-centric demands and embraced blockchain. Abigail remains committed to actively managed funds while increasing female representation. Her leadership, core values, and focus on digital assets positioned Fidelity as a leading investment firm.

Adena Friedman

The CEO of Nasdaq (American stock exchange), Adena Friedman, has significantly benefited both the business and the financial sector. She has expanded Nasdaq's reach to 130 international markets and turned it into a technology-driven powerhouse. Through technology and data, Adena has argued for the democratisation of financial markets.

To prevent complacency, she emphasises the need of adaptation and accepting change. Adena supports diversity and inclusion in business and thinks capitalism has the capacity to realise human potential. Even though she was the first woman to run a worldwide exchange, she places more importance on long-term success and performance than on gender identity.

Lynn Martin

The president of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Lynn Martin, has a substantial expertise in technology and coding. Lynn, the second female exchange leader, focuses on finding technological and data-driven solutions to complicated problems. She has held executive positions in ICE's Fixed Income & Data Services division in the past, where she dramatically boosted growth and revenue.

The NYSE has started programmes encouraging sustainability and diversity under Lynn’s direction, including the NYSE Institute and the NYSE Board Advisory Council. Lynn’s knowledge and support for the public interest help the NYSE grow and succeed in the future.

Katy Knox

Katy Knox, the head of Bank of America's Private Bank business, has more than 35 years of expertise in the financial industry. She is aware of how the sector is changing due to developments in technology, wealth transfer, and the complexity of managing family money.

Through digital transformation and strengthening ties, Katy wants to increase the market footprint and talent pool of the Private Bank while also improving the customer experience. She emphasises the value of mentoring and is a supporter of women's emancipation in the workplace. The Private Bank has expanded significantly under her direction and has started programmes to encourage women's achievement.

Elif Zapparoli

The move towards remote and contactless transactions has been welcomed by Elif Zapparoli, managing director and co-head of global capital markets at BofA Securities. She draws comparisons between this development and the changes she has seen in the financial services sector.

By embracing digital innovation and making use of tools like blockchain and artificial intelligence, she has guided her division to amazing success. Elif advocates for the growth of women into important roles within Bank of America. She regularly engages in educational activities outside of work and holds positions on advisory committees at prestigious organisations like Harvard University.

Suni Harford

The president of UBS Asset Management, Suni Harford, encountered difficulties in her efforts to improve gender diversity on the boards that manage the company's investments. By the end of 2022, Suni expects to have at least 50% female members on 400 boards, despite legal challenges and scepticism. She emphasises the contribution that people may make within their own fields.

Suni has also been at the forefront of UBS's sustainable investing initiatives, helping the company manage assets at a record $1.2 trillion and leading investments in energy storage and net-zero carbon real estate. She occupies important positions outside of UBS at the World Economic Forum and the Bob Woodruff Foundation, among others.

Donna Milrod

Donna Milrod, a renowned State Street executive, has been given the responsibility of managing the incorporation of Brown Brothers Harriman Investor Services into the business. The operational model, company culture, and technological foundation of State Street have all been thoroughly reviewed in response to this challenging challenge.

The $3.5 billion purchase will enable State Street to broaden its product offerings and geographic reach and establish itself as a top global asset servicing company. Utilising the advantages of both organisations, Donna has set up an Integration Management Office to ensure a smooth transfer. She participates actively in internal and external networks that support diversity and women's emancipation in the workplace.