"The Queen of Wall Street," sounds like a nice movie title! We've heard of "The Wolf of Wall Street" which was played by Leonardo DiCaprio and usually when people think of Wall Street, the image that has been embedded into society is a bunch of White men in suits. Although, there was a Black Wall Street and prominent African-Americans who played a part and continues to do so in Wall Street, which are not documented in history books nor press; but as time goes along, we will discuss those things. But anyhow, the real Wolf on Wall Street is actually an African- American woman named, Suzanne Shank.
So, how come we have not heard about her? Now, those are the kinds of questions to ask and this is where we step in shinning the light of truth! I mean, babygirl got a powerful, extensive resume and is a major heavyweight in Wall Street.
Let's get to it!
Pictured above is Suzanne Shank who was promoted to CEO of Siebert Financial Corporation (a broker/deal institutional investment bank founded by Muriel Seibert, the promotion blew the door wide open for Shank who made history in 2014 as the first African-American woman to spearhead a publicly traded financial services institution. In doing so, Shank manage to generate a monumental $1.2 trillion dollars in transactions of bonds, trading, assets, stocks and etc.
As one of the most powerful Black women in Wall Street, Suzanne Shank's humble beginning's started when she acquired an MBA in finance at Wharton in 1987, she then went on to obtain a civil engineering degree from Georgia Institute of Technology and begin her journey in Wall Street when she became the President, a Municipal bond trader and; CEO of Siebert Brandford Shank & Co, LLC, the largest Black owned municipal finance firm in the United States. From there, Shank is part of Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. LLC., where she forged ahead and developed her own firm and networked with other heavyweights like herself in Wall Street.
Suzanne Shank was featured on Black Enterprise "Women of Power" 2014 February issue, during the course of the interview, Shank talked about the expansion of Siebert Brandford Shank & Co.
“We are working on some strategic initiatives going forward and my focus this year will be trying to expand the business,” she elaborated. “We have about 40,000 retail accounts and they’re constantly looking for products. Those customers have about $7.2 billion in their accounts at the firm. They have money and they’re always looking to participate in the capital markets.”
Suzanne spoke about the challenges and success of Siebert Brandford Shank & Co, in referencing being Black owned and the diversity of women in Wall Street. She also, highlighted other challenges when it came to keeping the firm afloat.
“We remain the top minority and woman-owned firm in the business and we also remain No. 2 for largest average deal size. But we have faced an environment of increased regulatory requirements and declining spreads and that has had the biggest impact,” Shank expressed.
“But we’re really struggling with declining spreads, so you have to do more business to reach the same revenues and be very aggressive. It’s a very interesting time in the business. “
In concluding her interview, Suzanne Shank spoke about the importance of drive and ambition, how those key factors play major roles of opening any doors when it comes to goals and dreams.
"While education and talent are extremely important to attaining success, nothing can replace persistence and determination,” she indicated. “Through the ups and downs of business cycles and financial crisis, persistence is what has been most critical to ongoing success.”
Editor's Note: We feel it is important to write articles about Suzanne Shank, Tristan Walker and so many others who are cultivating and paving the way for the next generation; to follow their own path to success, greatness and not let racism or any form of ignorance stop them. This kind of leadership invokes power in the youth and the faith to believe in themselves. And that they too can make a difference as leaders, innovators, visionaries and also; in their communites, as well as the world.