” I had brokers with very large decks telling me to my face that they’ve never traded with a woman, they weren’t going to trade with me and that I shouldn’t take it personally… A lot of those same guys became awesome friends, but we had a real rocky start.”

In this profile video from John Lothian News, Carolyn Leonard recalls her journey through the volatile world of trading at the Chicago Board Options Exchange beginning in the late ’70s. Leonard started trading after a divorce, with two young children in tow and in need of a fresh start. She had a friend at the CBOE, and after seeing the chaos of the trading floor firsthand she was hooked. Leonard took out a $250,000 loan to secure a seat at the exchange, where she was one of the few independent female traders to own a seat.

Leonard recalls some of her best trades, along with some of her losers. She says the hardest thing to overcome is the out of pocket education and watching money disappear. Leonard had a set of rules she lived by and maintains there’s no room for ego in trading. And if she was struggling she would reduce her trade size until she regained her confidence.  Leonard liked trading volatile markets because she could sell more premium, which translates to more cushion. 

Leonard’s latest endeavor, DyMynd, helps women in finance build trusting relationships with financial advisers so high net-worth women can safely invest their money. DyMynd has launched the 1920 campaign, which is a fundraiser for female-led startups in the Chicago area and surrounding Midwest. Leonard is spearheading the fight for equality for women in finance and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.


Interview by Jessica Titlebaum Darmoni

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