I recently met a woman who told me a story about a misogynist professor she once had. He taught a finance class in which she was one of only two women in a sea of male students. On the very first day of class, when the professor realized only two of his students were female, he brazenly declared to the ladies, “Well, you might as well start crying now and get it over with.” Given such a rude and inappropriate comment, you might think these two female students would be defeated, right? Well, wrong! Proving women can absolutely kick butt in the field of financial study, these ladies ended up earning the number one and number two highest grades in the class. As they say, sometimes success is the best revenge.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 4
OK, so we all know we’ve got a long way to go before women entirely bust through the glass ceiling. But there are some enterprising ladies out there who are setting a great example for how to do just that. According to one firm that studies executive compensation, of the top 10 highest-paid CEOs, four are women! They include the CEOs from Oracle, HP Enterprises, IBM and PepsiCo. It’s pretty exciting that nearly half of these top-earning executives are women. In fact, the United States has the largest percentage of women CEOs—8 percent—and the number of female CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies is expected to grow to 27 this year.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Lindsay Burton, Founder of Kayo Advisory and Kayo Conference Series
Whether you’re managing a multi-million-dollar business or just your personal checking account, there’s power in understanding your finances. Economics wiz Lindsay Burton started a financial consulting business and an investment-focused conference with that in mind—all with the goal of bringing more women to the finance and private-equity fields.
Before venturing out on her own, Lindsay was an ambitious lady working in private equity and investment banking. (What else would you expect from a financial hotshot who became a master of calculus in elementary school?) Of course, such industries can be pretty scarce when it comes to female workers. But she didn’t let that get the better of her. Instead, she decided to fight. Having fallen in love with the empowering sport of kickboxing, Lindsay had a light-bulb moment: Not only was she a fighter, but so were other women investors. After all, with so few women in the investment field, a girl’s got to know how to throw a punch or two to become successful.
That’s how Lindsay came up with the name for her financial consulting business, Kayo Advisory, boxing shorthand for “knockout.” Her company provides financial expertise and advises business owners on selling and buying companies.
An extension of Lindsay’s Kayo Advisory business that’s booming in its own right is the Kayo Conference Series, which produces boutique conferences for women leaders in private equity, finance and real estate. This October, Lindsay plans to host the organization’s fifth annual Women’s Private Equity Conference in Washington, D.C.
One key highlight from last year’s private-equity conference was the speech from keynote speaker Janet Gurwitch, whose company has invested in such businesses as Urban Decay and Drybar, and who had the audience riveted as she spoke about the evolution of her finance career. And one managing director for Avec Capital who called the event “magical” cites the conference’s breadth of content and the incomparable connections made.
It’s not easy for a woman to become an authority in an industry that has a long history of favoring the other sex, but Lindsay has clearly become a knockout success, and is proving that, for women in finance, there’s real power in numbers.
QUITE THE QUOTE
I’ll leave you with a quote from mixed martial artist Ronda Rousey, who definitely knows a thing or two about knockouts. She said:
“To be the best, you have to constantly be challenging yourself, raising the bar, pushing the limits of what you can do. Don’t stand still; leap forward.”
This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.