Monday, September 24, 2018 - 10:15am

Lauren Simmons Event

At 24 years old, as the youngest female trader and second-ever African American woman working for the New York Stock Exchange, Lauren Simmons said she is often compared to the Fearless Girl, a statue signifying female empowerment so close to where she works today. What might’ve surprised Mercy College students, faculty and staff who attended her discussion at the Student Success Series in the Rotunda on September 17 was that she sought less to inspire people than to normalize her experience.

Graduating Kennesaw State University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in genetics and a minor in statistics, Simmons originally aspired to go into genetic counseling, though like many graduates, she soon discovered her passion for the field had diminished. What hadn’t, however, was her passion to move to New York City, where networking led her to meet Richard Rosenblatt, the CEO of Rosenblatt Securities. Beyond her many qualifications, it was ultimately Simmons’ confidence that led Rosenblatt to take her under his wing, a fact she recanted with pride to more than 100 members of the Mercy community taken in by her story.

“Being a trader, you make decisions within microseconds,” Simmons said on meeting Rosenblatt, “so I think for him, even for me, the choice of coming onto the trading floor made sense immediately.”


Rosenblatt, who also attended the talk, said he has always been impressed with how comfortable and insightful Simmons is for someone so young, but when asked how he’s seen her grow professionally, he’s quick to add that he can take very little credit for her success. 

“She works hard, she takes on challenges easily, and she also fights for herself, so I don’t have to worry about her in a competitive environment like the floor of the exchange,” said Rosenblatt after the event. “She will stand up for our clients, and that’s refreshing and relaxing, but most of her career success has been an explosion of appreciation for how well she tells her story; for how inspirational she is speaking to young people, and much older people around the world. So this caught fire, and I had nothing to do with it.” 

Sophia Caputo, a junior finance major with the Business Honors Program who helped lead the event, felt that one of the most important takeaways of the evening — to her and other Mercy undergraduates — was not only the message of resilience, but also of versatility, that Simmons embodies in her career.

 

“I think the fact that Lauren studied genetics and statistics in college and kind of landed someplace very, very different from where she might’ve planned — it’s just a testament to the fact that you can go to school, you can study something, you can plan for something, but at the end of the day you have to keep an open mind,” said Caputo. “You have to not lock yourself into one idea and one path and one plan.”