Wall Street Woman Tells All With Two Letters: Susan Antilla
So now we know how women can find fame and fortune after they get booted from their Wall Street jobs:
-- Dispense sex and dating advice.
-- Establish an exclusive area of expertise -- say, your abundant experience with men of various races.
-- Publish a blog to assist the befuddled female masses who struggle to divine whether a Latino, Asian, Middle Eastern, black or white guy would be the best choice for a romp in the sack or a sex-free fun night out.
If all that works out for you, then write a book that features five ethnically diverse boy toys on the cover.
That, in any event, is the career recovery recipe of J.C. Davies, a University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard grad who started as a securities analyst at ING Barings in 2000, moved to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. in 2001, and then lost her job at Rim Securities LLC in the 2008 credit crisis.
“I came up with the idea a couple months after I left Wall Street,” she told me in a telephone interview last week, referring to her “Racy JC” blog and overarching goal to make money exploiting her interracial dating prowess. With “more than 20 years of experience dating men of different cultures, including: Latino, Asian, Jewish, Black and Middle Eastern,” as her Web page explains it, who could argue she’s not the right person to write, “I Got the Fever: Love, What’s Race Gotta Do With It?
Judging by the Cover
The five buff hunks on her book cover, by the way, are models, and not men the author has sampled. “I definitely dated a couple with amazing bods, but in general, men don’t have amazing bods, so I didn’t want to put men I knew on the cover,” she told me.
I hate to turn to serious matters when we’re having such a good time, but Davies is exactly the sort of phenom that Wall Street women don’t need. It would be hard to argue that she isn’t smart (masters degree in health-policy management from Harvard), or that her blog doesn’t have what it takes to draw certain readers. I mean, when’s the last time you clicked on your favorite blog to discover a Filipino man’s lament that a lady blew him off because Asians supposedly are under-endowed?
And while it would be a challenge to verify that 20-years- of-cross-racial-dating claim, I’ll take her at her word that she’s the leading expert on discerning the best imaginable racial preference for a hot night on the town.
Unfortunately, all of the above is nothing but fuel for Wall Street troglodytes looking for another example of why women shouldn’t be taken seriously.
‘Colors of the Rainbow’
She’s been called things that are probably best left to the imagination, with much of the commentary showing up on websites like dealbreaker.com, which crowned her the expert on manliness “of all colors of the rainbow.”
As Davies sees it, some of her male Wall Street critics pull in massive salaries for relatively unimpressive work while she took risks selling her apartment for capital to set up a publishing venture. “If a dude wrote this book, this would not be happening,” she said of the criticism. She’s no doubt right on that. Just the opposite, if anything: A lot of Wall Street men would serve as cheerleaders for a guy who offered up comparable insights about female anatomy.
Still, it nags at me when a former Wall Street woman does anything that provides fodder for the horde of men looking for reasons to hold financial women back. Women took a disproportionate hit in the post-crisis layoffs on Wall Street, and it’s gotten so bad that some female job seekers have taken to substituting their first names with initials on their resumes, so as to improve the odds they will get in the door for an interview.
Wall Street Veterans
I learned about that trend from a veteran Wall Street woman who contacted me a few weeks ago. As is almost always the case when I get calls like hers, she wouldn’t talk on the record, fearing it would hurt her on the job. There’s the rub: credible women who are boosting their firms’ bottom lines are rarely heard on the tough issues that women face, while racy stories like that of Davies are magnets for publicity (including, I admit, this column) and derision.
Davies may have gone a very different route from the women who stay in finance and toe the line. But a decade ago, she made a decision just like the one many of today’s Wall Street women make. When she was preparing to publish her first research report, a black male colleague said that he would wind up as the more successful analyst “because they can’t tell on a report that I’m black, but they can tell you’re a woman.”
And with that, Jessica Celeste Davies recorded her first name as “J.C.,” the name she published under for the rest of her Wall Street career. Ten years later, masking your gender the way she did is still a valued strategy for women trying to make it in a hostile industry.
(Susan Antilla, a Bloomberg News columnist, is the author of the 2002 book, ‘’Tales from the Boom-Boom Room.” The opinions expressed are her own.)
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