Stock Exchange trader Lauren Simmons to speak at SJU

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October 31, 2019

Lauren Simmons

Wall Street in New York City is the center of the Financial District in lower Manhattan. It’s where the financial power brokers make million-dollar deals for their clients.

It’s also where Lauren Simmons made a name for herself.

In 2017, Simmons became the youngest and only current (but not first) full-time female trader at the New York Stock Exchange, and just the second African American woman in the Exchange’s 225-year history.

Simmons will deliver the annual Mark Kennedy Frontiers of Freedom Lecture, “The Power of Being the OTHER in the Room,” at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, in the Stephen B. Humphrey Theater at Saint John’s University. Her speech, co-sponsored by the CSB/SJU Black Students Association, the Donald J. McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship, Bennies in Business, the Joint Events Council, Intercultural LEAD, John and Elizabeth Myers Chair in Management and the Sr. Nancy Hynes Institute for Women's Leadership, is free and open to the public.

A graduate of Kennesaw (Georgia) State University in 2016, Simmons majored in genetics and aspired to go into genetic counseling. However, when she moved to New York City, she had a change of heart.

“I knew I wanted to do something completely different and networked like crazy,” Simmons said in an interview in Forbes magazine. “I had many people tell me no or that I didn’t have any direction because I was making the switch from genetics to statistics (her minor in college).

“Although I didn’t know what that role looked like, I was serious about it involving numbers. Ultimately becoming an equity trader was something that chose me,” added Simmons, who was dubbed the “Lone Woman on Wall Street.”

Her networking led her to Richard Rosenblatt, the CEO of Rosenblatt Securities, who took her under his wing as an equity trader, Forbes reported.

Since then, Simmons has earned widespread recognition. She’s been featured on ABC, CNBC, CNN and Fox networks.

Simmons has earned numerous honors. She was named an Ebony Magazine Power 100 honoree, and
a Woman of Impact by Politico. In 2019, Simmons was named a Woman of Distinction by the American Association of University Women.

She is also the executive producer of a film based on her life, starring Kiersey Clemons. She has received endorsements from Invisilign, Ford Motor Company, Club Pilates and LinkedIn. 

Kennedy is a 1979 graduate of Saint John’s who is currently president of the University of Colorado. He served in Congress representing two Minnesota districts from 2001-07.

The Mark Kennedy Frontiers of Freedom lecture series operates through the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement at SJU.

“My earnest desire is that the McCarthy Center becomes known first and foremost for promoting standing for the courage of your convictions,” Kennedy said in a speech inaugurating the lecture series.