Once upon a time, women couldn’t vote, have a will, or own property. That was certainly the case in 1792 when the New York Stock Exchange was first launched.

What makes it even more fitting is that, for the first time ever, a woman will be president of the New York Stock Exchange.

History Has Been Made

Stacey Cunningham wasn’t made the president of the NYSE because she is a woman. She was appointed president because she has a spectacular resume.

Cunningham has worked her way up in the organization, starting as an intern in 1994. There were few women working at the exchange during that time, and it’s reported that the women’s washroom was actually a converted telephone booth.

“I was a woman trader on the floor, and I never thought about it,” said Cunningham. “I never thought for a moment whether or not that could happen, and whether or not that was an opportunity available to me.”

A Cuisine Inspired Detour Along The Way

Although Cunningham was making progress on Wall Street, she decided in 2005 to go to the Institute of Culinary Education to become a chef. Upon completing the program, she got a job at a restaurant called Quest that has since closed down.

Despite coming back to the stock exchange in the end, Cunningham has no regrets.

“I just don’t think your career is linear,” she said. “I didn’t think it was going to be a problem to take time off, and I didn’t think it was going to be an issue coming back in. Your skills are transportable.”

Leading The Way Into The Future

There are still a lot more men working at NYSE than there are women, but Cunningham hopes that will soon change.

“I think it’s just really important to recognize that any time a woman pushes the boundaries and redefines the boundaries, she’s redefining them for everyone else that follows her.”

With stellar examples like Stacey Cunningham, it’s likely that we’ll soon see more women embracing the financial industry and working on Wall Street!