FWD Feature | Carolyn Leonard FWD | For Women and Diversity | Collective

Carolyn Leonard, CEO & Co-Founder of DyMynd and DyMynd Angels

FWD Collective is excited to announce that Carolyn Leonard has joined the speaker roster for our Chicago Summit on September 13th 2018!

We had the pleasure of connecting with Carolyn to ask a few questions!

What does diversity, equity, and professional inclusion mean to you?
Diversity means inclusion and innovation. When I say inclusion I mean that ALL people can bring their whole selves to the table, through presence, voice, and engagement. My business partner, Monika Black, often says that "diversity is the innovation that we seek." I could not agree more. We have to stop making diversity and inclusion an add-on program and instead see them as foundational elements of doing business well. At DyMynd we say that diversity done well is just better for everyone. 

How have you experienced and/or dealt with adversity in your professional and personal life?
As the first woman to trade at the CBOE with her own money in 1976, I came up across an entire floor of men who would not trade with me. "Listen, sweetheart, don't take it personally but we don't trade with women and we are not trading with you!" That was my first day of work and as a recently divorced mother with two sons, I was motivated to make it work. They tried to make being a woman work against me and I decided to become even more woman to stand out even further. I wasn't going to let them use my being a woman against me. I used my femininity as armor as I went to war in the pits each day. I use the same mentality today as I approach ways to crack the code on women and finance. I/we turn everything that the “Boys Club” tries to use against women into a strength to benefit to empower women financially.

What would be one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?
Persistence is the key to success. There are no overnight successes. People who get ahead keep going end up ahead.

Name three things that you do everyday to help lead you to success.
1) First and foremost, I listen to really smart people.
2) Second, I fail quickly and pivot to make the adjustments that I need to make to continue to be successful.
3) Third, I have really come to value my story and everything that I did in the name of survival. I now see my story as my strength and share it openly to empower other women in their financial strengths.

Who inspires your professional ambition? Why?
My Mother. My greatest mentor and inspiration was my mother. She was a single mother, educated women with her Masters back in 1936, and a formidable businesswoman. Not only did she teach me that a man was not a financial plan but from the age of six I knew the P/E of just about any major stock. She turned every deficit that I had into a strength and all of the things that she told me about life still ring true today. She put me into acting classes to help me with my dyslexia at a time when it was seen as a curse. She backed me when I needed to buy my seat on the trading floor and moved in with me to help take care of my two children. Women often come to me for advice and really they are getting my mother!

What is your favorite book? Or the one you'd recommend most?
“Red Notice” because it is such a powerful story in today’s political climate. It is a story of courage and fighting against all odds with one of the most powerful men in the world, Putin. When you are done reading that try "Lucipher's Banker" and "Confessions of An Economic Hit Man."


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