It’s all in the numbers for Lauren Simmons —more specifically— the number two, which you could say is a significant one for her. Two years ago, at the age of 22, the Marietta native and Kennesaw State University graduate became the youngest and only full-time female equity trader, for Rosenblatt Securities, on the New York Stock Exchange. The role also made her the second African-American woman in history to serve as a full-time trader. Thankfully, things have changed since the first woman
started working on the floor in 1967, like the creation of a women’s restroom.
Though her signature trader jacket had to be tailored to fit (the item only comes in men’s sizes), the former genetics student has handled stepping into a world dominated by men with ease. Here she talks breaking glass ceilings, the movie being made about her life, and staying centered.
By Melanie Preis
While you job hunted in New York, you created a vision board and read self-help books to maintain a positive attitude. What other tools did you utilize to create the right headspace?
Meditation. My mediation practice started in college and stemmed from a desire to change my mindset. One day, I sat down in my dorm room and just sat in stillness. I loved how I felt during and after. I felt in control of my life and at peace. From there, I have continued the practice. My stress management comes from yoga, Pilates, and mediation. I try to stay in a routine so I can be centered and focused.
How does it feel to be the youngest and only full-time female equity trader on Wall Street for Rosenblatt Securities?
When I first came to the trading floor, I really do not believe anybody thought I was going to pass the Series 19 [the exam all floor brokers must pass to receive their badge], which has a 20% pass rate. But I did it! I did it for me, to prove that I could do it and thoroughly shocked the men on the trading floor. Hopefully, my story will encourage women as a whole to join finance, not just the trading floor. The numbers of women versus men [in this industry] are staggering.
What advice do you have for women working in, or trying to get in, male-dominated fields?
Don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself. You were hired because they thought you were capable. I encourage you to do the job and do the job to the best of your ability. Often, women get in their heads and have imposter syndrome. Your biggest critic will always be yourself. When you let that go, you have the ability to achieve greatness in your role.
Tell us more about the movie being made about your life?
I am working with AGC Studios and am currently one of the executive producers. It will tell my life story and feature actress Kiersey Clemons. I am excited for her to share my message on a larger platform.
You currently live in New York, but what do you miss most about living in Atlanta?
Georgia will always be home. I especially miss its weather during the blustery winter months here. Sweet tea—it’s not a thing in New York. And grass—I love to hike and be outside. New York is a concrete jungle, and I don’t get to experience it as much.
What helps you be your “best self?”
One of the books I rely on is “The Universe Has Your Back” by Gabrielle Bernstein. I reread it often when I’m in doubt, and it helps me be a better me, and reminds me to let things go.
To follow Lauren’s journey, visit https://instagram.com/lasimmons