Scene Last Night: Rosie Rios, Muriel Siebert, Natalie Morales

Women on Wall Street
Tiffany Dufu, president of the White House Project, and Ruth J. Simmons, president of Brown University. Photographer: Amanda Gordon/Bloomberg

The number of powerful women on Wall Street got a temporary boost last night thanks to the National Council for Research on Women.

The group convened its annual Making a Difference for Women Awards Dinner at 55 Wall Street, a building that was once home to the New York Stock Exchange and is now a Cipriani catering hall.

Rosie Rios, treasurer of the United States, handed out $1 and $20 bills that she signed on the spot, above her printed signature. Marjorie Magner, founder and managing partner of Brysam Global Partners, bragged about her 9-month-old granddaughter. Muriel Siebert, chief executive officer of Muriel Siebert & Co., and the “Today” show co-host Natalie Morales both wore black lace.

In a ceremony that lasted about as long as the Oscars, awards were given to Michelle Bachelet, former president of Chile and now the under-secretary-general and executive director of UN women; Siebert; philanthropists Peter and Patricia Gruber; Ruth J. Simmons, president of Brown University; and Edward Gilligan, vice chairman of American Express Co.

Gilligan and his boss, Kenneth Chenault, the chairman and CEO of American Express, were among the few men present.

As for increasing the number of women in finance, “It’s urgent,” Simmons said in an interview at a pre-dinner reception in the library of the Cipriani Club Residences. She added that “it’s a natural process -- I think it’s just a question of time.”

‘Having a Rabbi’

Others noted research that suggests women need male or female sponsors to pull them up the ladder.

“In the old days, that used to be called having a rabbi,” Michelle Clayman, founder and chief investment officer of New Amsterdam Partners LLC, said in an interview.

The National Council for Research on Women promotes the work of 120 U.S.-based policy and research centers including Hunter College’s Center for the Study of Family Policy; Hamilton College’s Diversity and Social Justice Project; and the Institute for Women and Work at Cornell University.

Kathy LeMay, president and CEO of fundraising firm Raising Change LLC, said the council staff should answer their phones, “Research kicks butt, can I help you?”

The event raised more than $700,000 and included Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, among its sponsors.

(Amanda Gordon is a writer and photographer for Muse, the art and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE