Female Finance Superpowers: Women Who Changed the Finance Market


The following post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga.

As the month that honors women through International Women's Day draws to a close, it's important to remember that not selling to or working with the women's finance market is kind of like Blockbuster thinking that video streaming wouldn't ever become popular... Hello, Netflix!

All female pioneers and finance superpowers deserve a nod, and the finance industry should take note of their achievements. Take a look at the following female finance superheroes.

Sheryl Hickerson, Females and Finance 

Sheryl Hickerson, an international speaker, award-winning diversity change agent, community-building strategist and social media evangelist, founded Females and Finance to focus on building a more inclusive landscape for financial service professionals. 

Females and Finance serves 3,000 professionals and gives members a user-friendly, professional platform to host networking, training and education events. Females and Finance supports women through business development, practice enhancement and entrepreneurship support. Women from all financial services and financial technology professions use Females and Finance to power their businesses.

Sallie Krawcheck, Ellevest 

Sallie Krawcheck's professional mission helps women reach their financial and professional goals so they can live better financial lives. Krawcheck built a successful career on Wall Street as the CEO of Merrill Lynch, Smith Barney, US Trust, the Citi Private Bank and Sanford C. Bernstein. She also served as chief financial officer for Citigroup. 

She now serves as CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, a digital-first, mission-driven investment platform for women and chair of the Pax Ellevate Global Women's Leadership Fund. 

Krawcheck has been recognized as one of the most influential women in business as a "Top Female Founder" and was named the seventh most powerful woman in the world by a number of publications. 

Jean Chatzky, HerMoney.com

Jean Chatzky, CEO of HerMoney.com and host of the podcast HerMoney, was the financial editor at NBC Today for 25 years and the financial ambassador for AARP. 

An on-demand motivational speaker and fierce advocate for financial literacy, she partnered with the PwC Charitable Foundation and Time for Kids to launch Your $, an in-school magazine that reaches two million school children each month.


Barbara Provost, Purse Strings 

Barbara Provost's Purse Strings aims to provide resources to women to help them make excellent financial decisions and plan for a wonderful financial future. Purse Strings helps women become financially fearless by teaching them how to make the right financial decisions for themselves and their families.

Provost also strives to help women find the best financial provider possible, one that serves a powerful female market. Purse Strings demonstrates how to provide tools and resources for women when they need financial products or services. She curates a list of Purse Strings-approved professionals who take the time to focus on women's unique needs. 

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, Making Sense of Cents 

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner's personal finance and lifestyle blog, Making Sense of Cents, showcases woman power in her success as a personal blogger. Schroeder-Gardner created her blog to help her improve her finances and pay off $38,000 in student loans in seven months, keep track of her progress and help readers improve their own finances. She's a true inspiration for women everywhere. She now lives on a yacht and sails around the world!

Schroeder-Gardner graduated from an expensive private university in May of 2010 with a lot of student loan debt, then graduated again in August of 2012 with her MBA and even more student loan debt. 

Through her own trials and errors, she created her blog to help others who find themselves in the same boat. She also teaches bloggers how to make $100,000 a month online.

Ksenia Yudina, UNest

Ksenia Yudina grew up in Russia but always wanted to live somewhere warm. She moved to Key West, then Los Angeles, where she worked at a mortgage company to pay for college. She got a real estate broker license and started specializing in short sales, earned an MBA, then worked for a private wealth unit of Capital Group Companies. There, she discovered 529 college savings plans and the tax advantages they afforded her wealthy clients. 

Seeing enormous value in the underused vehicles and great opportunity in new delivery mechanisms, she created UNest, an app-based RIA offering 529 plan advice at modest fees. She's an inspiration for women everywhere and a true pioneer for helping moms of kids build up their 529 savings for as little as $25 per month.

Catherine Coley, Binance.US

In an industry heavily dominated by men, Catherine Coley has taken over as CEO of Binance's United States branch. The largest cryptocurrency exchange in the world, Binance chose former Morgan Stanley foreign exchange associate Catherine Coley to lead the Chinese exchange's entry into the American crypto market. Coley led the company through an 82% increase in its user base thanks to the new resurgence of investing interest in cryptocurrency.

Abigail Johnson, Chairman and CEO of Fidelity Investments

Under Abigail Johnson's leadership, Fidelity's assets under management climbed 26% in 2019 to a record $3.2 trillion. Johnson commits to offering a seamless digital experience to customers and Fidelity will spend $3 billion on technology this year, especially in quantum computing and cryptocurrency trading.

Johnson believes in person-to-person contact and continues to put a premium on hiring financial consultants, software engineers and licensed phone representatives across the United States.

Johnson also wants to get more women involved in investing. By commissioning teams to study how the packaging of financial services and products are perceived along gender lines, Fidelity has started to make headway in expanding investment interest and financial literacy among women.

Ida Liu, CitiPrivate Bank

Before joining Citigroup in 2007, Ida Liu worked at Vivienne Tam as the global head of sales and business development. There, she encountered many fashion designers who asked her for investment advice. This made her realize designers needed help with wealth management. 

Liu is now the head of Citi Private Bank North America after being promoted to the post in May 2019. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, her team is on pace to eclipse the growth in 2019.

Liu also supports the Forté Foundation, a nonprofit that provides professional development, education and mentorship to women starting their careers.

Diana Avila, Wise

After moving from her home country of Colombia, Avila found herself frustrated trying to pay down her student loan debt and figuring out how student loans work across continents. She could send some money to Latin America with some methods but these often came with high fees and unfair pricing — until Avila joined money transfer company Wise. 

Under her role as the head of global banking and expansion at Wise, Avila brought affordable money transfer options to South America and beyond. Her offerings cater to the Brazilian market — a country underserved by Western financial standards. Under Avila's direction, modern financial solutions have become more inclusive around the world.

Wrapping Up International Women's Month

Today, women control a third of total U.S. household financial assets. Companies and businesses who don't cater to women may miss out on more than $10 trillion, according to McKinsey & Company.  

Provost says her group of Purse-Strings approved professionals strives to help women succeed. "When financial professionals learn how to serve the female market, they become the go-to referral when women reach out for advice. That expert has earned their trust as an indispensable advocate. Becoming a Purse Strings-approved professional does just that," she says.

The preceding post was written and/or published as a collaboration between Benzinga’s in-house sponsored content team and a financial partner of Benzinga. Although the piece is not and should not be construed as editorial content, the sponsored content team works to ensure that any and all information contained within is true and accurate to the best of their knowledge and research. This content is for informational purposes only and not intended to be investing advice.

Posted In: Personal Finance