Michelle L Marquez – Changing the Status Quo
During my time at university studying law I made friends with a girl who would go on to become one of my closest friends and a lady that inspires me daily. Michelle L Marquez during those years would often tell us how she was going to work in the stock exchange, something which many scoffed at as during that time, this was an industry which was very much dominated by males. Michelle however ignored those naysayers and went on to become, what I think, was a trailblazer in this industry and someone that helped to make it more accessible to women.
These days there are women on the trading floor, working for the securities commission, dealing with fraud prevention and working in arbitration but when Michelle started, she was the only woman that worked for the law group that took her on.
Michelle will often concede that she didn’t plan to be a trailblazer or someone that altered the stars quo, she simply wanted to follow in the footsteps of her Dad who had a very successful career working on the legal side of the stock exchange. Not many of the women who have changed the way that we do things intended to change things as much as they did and perhaps in that there is an even more admirable quality to be found.
As someone who was there during the early years I can remember quite vividly the nights that Michelle and I would grab wine and pizza and she would recount the struggles that she was having in the job. Each day Michelle would face sexist comments or innuendos, she would be quietly mocked for what she wore or how she spoke and she would regularly come against insubordinate staff simply because of who she was. Michelle is a very resolute person however and she showed incredible strength to get through all of this, in order to get to where she wanted to go.
Something else which Michelle always felt that she had to do was work harder than everyone else, she was regularly made to feel that she didn’t belong in her job role and that is why she made the decision to work harder, faster and smarter than everyone else, in order to prove to them that she most certainly did belong in the position that she held.
Position of Power
Eventually Michelle was able to take on a leadership role which gave her the ability to hire and fire, something which she relished given that now she would be able to give other women a chance. Michelle would always hire the best candidate of course, regardless of gender but even the fact that it was a woman doing the hiring was something that gave many other women the confidence to apply for the jobs.
These days the stock exchange still has more men than women but this is simply because it is more a more popular career choice amongst men, those women who have gained a career in this industry should be grateful to ladies like Michelle who helped to change things up.