Achievement in Innovation: Sheri Kaiserman, Wedbush
Sheri Kaiserman was recognized for Achievement in Innovation at the 2016 Women in Finance Markets Choice Awards.
Describe the highlights of your career to date and your current role/responsibilities?
I feel very proud of all I’ve accomplished during my career. After 10 years at Oppenheimer in equity research sales, I was ready for a new challenge. I met Gary Wedbush in 1999, and we discussed a management position. Initially, I was nervous about the commitment and how it would take more time from my family, but that was outweighed by my excitement about the potential. I joined Wedbush as the Head of Equity Research Sales and often refer to those first days by saying I started as Head of Sales, Head of No One! In 1999, the Capital Markets group was a nominal part of Wedbush, which was the opportunity. By 2007, I had played an integral role in building and running all of Equity Sales, Trading and Research, helping those departments become the largest part of the Capital Markets Group, and more than a third of Wedbush Securities’ total business. At that point, the Head of Equities title was created and the role of leading this dynamic and important division was formally given to me. I remained in that role through June 2015. Currently, I am “Head of Advanced Securities”, an expansive role which was created for me to use my energy and creativity to explore and build innovative revenue streams involving private emerging growth companies as well as blockchain technology.
What do you — and by extension, your colleagues — do to achieve excellence in innovation?
I had a hard time hiring people with experience when I joined Wedbush in 1999, but was resourceful and grew the team by bringing in and training smart people. Under my leadership, Wedbush became known for its high quality research and repeatedly ranked #1 stock picking firm. While in the role of Head of Equities, I always thought about how our team could be more helpful to our clients. When pure data driven research grew in importance in the mid 2000’s, Wedbush became one of the first research firms to offer a data driven product by creating its Consumer Specialist Group. To this day, this Group remains the underpinnings of the firm’s specialty retail research. We were the first to publish research on Bitcoin and Blockchain technology, becoming a thought leader on the topic, and were also one of the first to embrace trading and researching private companies.
What is your perspective on being a successful woman working in financial markets, and what is your advice to those who may strive for this?
Wall Street has changed significantly over the years and more credit must be given all around for changing the “Boys Club” into a more welcoming place for women. To that end, I want to credit Gary Wedbush for being a boss that provided me with the flexibility I needed to balance my work and professional life and for the encouragement; being able to work for a boss who believes in you allows you to truly grow. When you make mistakes, or doubt yourself, having a boss who makes you realize it’s all part of learning and getting better, builds your confidence to not be afraid to fail. As for being a woman, I rarely thought of my gender and did the best I could as always being true to myself. I am a positive and direct person who always sees the silver lining. I view obstacles as opportunities to make improvements. Most importantly, I know my strengths and weaknesses and surround myself with people possessing complementary skill sets. As a leader, I like to create an environment of respect and support no matter what a person’s role. I’ve learned the more fulfilled I am at work, the happier person I am, making whatever amount of time anyone spends with me, especially my children, even more enjoyable. Wall Street has become a terrific place for women to work and I encourage all women to strongly consider any opportunity to work in the financial markets as a wonderful, fulfilling adventure.
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