Become a Real Cougar in the Workplace

By Linda Franklin

smw - linda franklinSingle-minded women know the term “cougar” as it relates to their personal lives, but Linda Franklin has a different take on what it means to be a “real cougar.” She shares her personal experiences and their impact with SMW readers.

Linda Franklin’s Story

As a woman who has undergone a complete 180-degree career shift myself, I know how difficult the workplace can be for any woman, particularly a woman over 40. Being a smart, independent, and confident woman in and out of work is great, but it can also present some misconceptions that are too often projected onto women of any age.

I was born in Toronto, Canada, and moved to New York City in my early 20s. Without a college degree, I had to work extra hard and adopt a strong, positive belief system in order to create possibilities for myself. Being in the right place at the right time never hurt, but that’s just one piece of a complex puzzle.

Wall Street in the 70s was not a female-friendly environment, but I was able to use that fact to my advantage. I learned that when someone told me I could not accomplish something, particularly a man with an attitude, it added fuel to the fire and made me strive to excel even more. Just tell me I can’t do something and then watch me make it happen.

At age 28, I began constructing a dream career that lasted for over 20 years. I was the first Canadian woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, in addition to managing an all-male trading department for a leading Wall Street investment firm. I loved being a trader, and I loved the passion and pressure that I was faced with each and every day. Watching my highly educated MBA team freeze when it was time to make an important trading decision was incredible to me. Those were the times when I took over and I loved it.