Women in Finance Awards Q&A: Carol Kennedy, Cboe


Carol Kennedy, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Cboe Global Markets, won Excellence in Marketing and Communications at Markets Media’s 2019 Women in Finance Awards.

Which mentor(s) have helped you most in your career, and how?

Carol Kennedy, Cboe

Two obvious answers come to mind — Bill Brodsky and Ed Tilly. I’ve worked for either Bill or Ed for the majority of my career. When Bill was Chairman and CEO at Cboe I was fortunate to work closely with him and learn from him on a daily basis. Now, as Cboe continues to change and grow, I’m grateful to learn and benefit from Ed’s expertise and guidance. In addition to being incredibly generous mentors, Bill and Ed both champion equality and are strong advocates for an equitable workplace. They gave me a seat at the table, which really helped me grow in my career, learn and contribute at the same time.

Oftentimes, I think we underestimate the guidance our peers can offer. There are a number of women at Cboe who I’ve relied on for advice and wisdom over the years, many who I still count on today. Also, I’m especially fortunate to have close relationships with my sisters who have been unending sources of wisdom and support to me.

How important is it to recognize women in the financial industry?

I think it’s incredibly important. The financial industry has been so male-dominated for so long that I’m thrilled to see women being given more opportunities and recognized as industry leaders. Highlighting their success is a service to the entire industry — it demonstrates that women are a force in the industry and that the industry is becoming an environment where women can thrive.

What is your advice for women considering or just starting financial careers?

Sometimes you need to fake it ‘til you make it. I think women — very generally speaking — tend to judge themselves too harshly, but we can’t let that tendency undermine our confidence or boldness.

I think developing resilience is huge because so much is beyond our control and because none of us is perfect. Expect setbacks and screw-ups, including the self-inflicted ones! If you’re not making some mistakes, you’re probably not stretching or taking enough risks. It’s more about learning how to weather setbacks and to keep going and remain open to unexpected paths.

Also, no one does it alone. Having the support of family and friends, both in and out of my work life, has been key to maintaining a career that I love without losing perspective over it.

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