PHILADELPHIA — At the age of 23, Lauren Simmons of equity trader Rosenblatt Securities has become the youngest woman to work at the New York Stock Exchange in its 226-year history.
On Dec. 5, 2017, she made history as the second African-American woman to sign her name alongside John D. Rockefeller in the constitution of the NYSE.
The Modern Wealth Concepts Executive Services Group, the African-American Chamber of Commerce and the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce gathered with other community members to recognize Simmons on her huge accomplishment.
"The Power of Personality With Lauren Simmons" was held Tuesday in Philadelphia at the Pyramid Club, giving people an opportunity to meet Simmons, who is often called “The Lone Woman on Wall Street.”
Born and raised in Georgia, Simmons described her journey to New York and the NYSE as predestined, mixed with her desire and determination to live in the Big Apple.
“I will definitely say the exchange found me. I went to college and wanted to go into genetics and was pretty sure I was going to go the medical route,” said Simmons.
“I later decided that was not the case for different reasons but the other thing I definitely knew for sure was I was moving to New York,” she added.
Simmons said one of her biggest challenges during this time was how to move to New York with zero connections, taking a leap to such a big market at only 23.
“How was I going to leverage moving to New York? Was I going to be mousy and not make a living for myself? If you're going to be in New York, you gotta be financially stable,” she said.
“I moved and it was definitely a mindset thing that I was going to make this work without a doubt because I wanted to be in New York.”
Simmons described her story as “her story” and is surprised by all the support and feedback she’s received along her journey.
“All of this is amazing and I don’t know if I could really grasp everything that’s going on. The messages, emails and letters saying [I am] an inspiration? And to think I’m only 23 that I am an inspiration? I’m speechless.”
With supporters all the way from Toronto, Simmons was surprised at all the feedback she’s received from Canadians who heard and took interest in the "Lone Woman on Wall Street’s" journey.
“You think small world New York and I think that was definitely one of the moments where I’m again speechless but so happy that I’m a part of this,” she said.
“I am happy that people can be proud of this story and hopefully it’ll make their own success stories because that’s truly what I want.”
Simmons explained that she doesn’t want to be viewed as an anomaly but wants to see other women break into huge platforms and be able to tell their stories.
Her advice for other millennials looking to make an impact in the world is not to have fear.
“Don’t have fear. Don’t say, 'Oh, I don’t have connections,' because I had zero connections when I came to New York.”
“There are plenty of successful people who did it from zero and I know people find that hard to believe but it is true. I did it, plenty of other people have done it before me, and plenty of people will do it after me.”
Simmons added it’s all in your mindset, and if you think you can’t do something, you will have an even tougher journey.
“Get yourself out of that mindset, be self-aware and get out there. You can do it.”