Broker Check

Achieving Success as a Female Business Owner in Male-Dominated Industries

On Money Matters TV’s segment Growth Stories, Michael Verrill, Vice President of Strategic Development for The Sharp Financial Group and guest host Rija Beares, Vice President with CBRE, spoke with Lisa Smith about the barriers she faced as a female business owner in male-dominated industries. Through determination and focus, Smith overcame roadblocks and ultimately found success in two separate industries – financial services and maritime.

Lisa Smith is President of JA Moody, a privately held manufacturer, distributor and servicer of valves and actuators to the U.S. Navy and commercial shipping clients.

At an early age, Smith was influenced by her father to be a business owner. Her father was a self-made man who had a great work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit. Watching her father read The Wall Street Journal daily led to her fascination with the stock market.

In high school, she organized a stock market club and invited brokers to present/educate her and fellow students about the stock market. This led to an internship at a brokerage firm where she learned the ropes and solidified her interest in working in the financial services field.

After college, Smith got her start at Janney Montgomery Scott as a stockbroker. Soon after, Smith became the number two person in the firm’s management program in which she dealt with high net worth individuals with $100,000 or more. Her experience at Janney opened the door to a regional brokerage firm in Detroit where she became the head of its money management department. Not long after, Smith became the youngest partner ever at the firm.

Smith’s father, who owned JA Moody for nearly 25 years, was ready to bring on a partner. Rather than sell the business to a third-party, Smith was invited and accepted the offer to join the company, keeping the business in the family. This would be Smith’s second foray into a historically male-dominated industry.

Smith’s Advice for Young Entrepreneurs…

“I have always encouraged young people to not be shy about asking questions if they don't understand something. It’s okay if they don't know the answer. People want to help other people succeed so there’s no need to be self-conscious.”

Advice for female entrepreneurs…

“And as a female business owner, I think not taking criticism personally is good advice. It’s also important to be prepared and overdeliver on expectations!”


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