50 Influential Jews: Women in Financial Leadership - No. 11

These are the glass ceilings that Janet Yellen and Adena Friedman broke. They are not done.

 US Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen and Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman. (photo credit: REUTERS)
US Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen and Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman.
(photo credit: REUTERS)

Janet Yellen

As the first woman to serve as chair of the US Federal Reserve (2014-2018) and then to be appointed secretary of the Treasury two years ago, Janet Yellen’s economic acumen and leadership have shaped global financial markets. Her adept navigation of monetary policy during critical junctures has earned her respect and admiration. Yellen’s influence transcends her previous role at the Fed; she continues to impact economic discourse and policy decisions as the US Secretary of the Treasury, championing efforts to address income inequality and promote sustainable economic growth.

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As Treasury secretary since January 26, 2021, Yellen has extended her influence across various critical issues. She championed international tax reform by proposing a global minimum corporate tax rate in April 2021. This visionary move received widespread support, as finance ministers from the Group of Seven (G7) agreed to reinstate a minimum worldwide corporate tax rate of at least 15% in June 2021. Together with her international counterparts, Yellen emphasized the historic opportunity this agreement offered to reshape corporate taxation, thereby restoring vital government resources.

Furthermore, Yellen has worked to navigate the US through economic challenges: Her involvement in addressing the banking crisis, implementing Internal Revenue Service reforms, and her economic approach to China underscores her multifaceted influence, which spans international diplomacy, financial stability, and monetary policy.

Yellen’s legacy is visionary leadership, innovative economic policy, and an unyielding commitment to fostering a stable and prosperous financial future for the United States and the world.

Adena Friedman

Adena Friedman earns her spot on the list for her exceptional leadership in the world of finance and technology. Her ascent to the position of the first woman CEO to lead a global stock exchange in 2017 marked the dawn of a new era for Nasdaq. She now serves as its chair and chief executive officer.

With her unique perspective, Friedman passionately envisions Nasdaq as not just a trading platform but as an “engine for capitalism.” This approach has guided her efforts to revitalize the public market, encouraging companies to return and flourish. Through her advocacy, investing becomes more accessible to individuals, fostering economic growth and empowerment.

In the realm of innovation, Friedman’s eyes are set on diversification. Her strategic guidance has reshaped Nasdaq into a technology powerhouse, embracing growth opportunities. Notably, her emphasis on data research services reflects her forward-thinking approach, propelling Nasdaq into the heart of data-driven financial landscapes.

In a pivotal move, Nasdaq, under Friedman’s leadership, called for greater transparency and progress in corporate diversity. In 2020, the exchange requested the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to mandate the publication of board diversity data by listed companies. This resolute step highlights Friedman’s commitment to equity and inclusivity, showcasing her influence not only within Nasdaq but across the broader corporate landscape.

Friedman’s story is one of transformative leadership, technological innovation, and a steadfast commitment to promoting diversity. She has made an indelible mark on the financial world.