In 2018, Lauren Simmons, then 23, made headlines after it was revealed that she was not only the youngest female trader to work on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) floor but also the second African-American woman to do so.
Technically, Simmons was only 22 when she began her job as an equity trader for Rosenblatt Securities and shattered the Black ceiling. While ticking those boxes was a major feat, it was never the goal.
In the latest episode of UnBossed podcast with senior editor and host Marquita K. Harris, Simmons digs into her journey from Marietta, GA, to Wall Street— and now, Hollywood.
Learn about how her career blossomed after she left her history-making job as a trader and struck out on her own as a financial advisor and film producer.
(Spoiler: Her early life as a trader will soon make it to representation on the big screen.)
Below, check out a few highlights:
On her humble beginnings in trading: “I started on the trading floor as an intern, making $5 an hour, if that,” she said. “It was a rite of passage…. Other employees on the trading floor would say, ‘Oh, you’re supposed to start from the bottom.’ Which—I agree, but then I don’t, because I think people should be [compensated accordingly for] their time. Ultimately I told them, ‘You’re not even paying me minimum wage.’ And they were able to hike it up to $23,000. And that is how much I was making on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange.”
On why she left the NYSE and struck out on her own: “I loved working on the trading floor. I genuinely mean that. Even making my small amount of money, I loved going into work every single day. But I did see that our clients were institutional clients, and they were all white men. And it was starting to frustrate me that there weren’t more women, and people of color, that were in those spaces. So because of that, I said, ‘I’d rather empower people to be financially savvy.'”
On turning her life into a movie: “The movie [stars] actress Kiersey Clemons. We’re both executive producers on the film, and we’ve been working closely together. I’m super excited for everyone to see it! And the writing process and the casting has been a wonderful experience. Of course, production has slowed things down a bit [due to the pandemic]…. It’s an important story to share and the bigger the platform, the better, in the sense of just giving people the courage to go out and be fearless.”
To hear more about Lauren Simmon’s journey, and to get some major budgeting tips too, check out the UnBossed podcast, below!