Adena Friedman Nasdaq CEO
Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Business Insider is proud to announce that Adena Friedman will speak at the inaugural BI Global Trends Festival, a virtual event taking place October 19-23, 2020.

Friedman was named CEO of Nasdaq in 2017 after two decades at the company. The appointment made her the first female CEO of a global stock exchange and cemented her position as one of Wall Street’s most powerful women.

She told Business Insider on the “This Is Success” podcast that talking about her gender in interviews was tiring at first, but she’s come to see it as an advantage and a way to help other women at Nasdaq reach the C-suite.

She also brought a new spin on management to her position as CEO.

Friedman said her strategy for running meetings at Nasdaq differs from the company’s prior “command and control” model of receiving instruction from the top down. In order for her team to view her as a peer who is brainstorming with them, she uses a tactic she calls “lightbulb versus mandate.”

The lightbulb stage is “just running an idea on the table — let’s debate it, discuss it, let’s get other opinions in the room,” she said. Using the distinction allows for thinking aloud without risking that her team interprets her thoughts as instructions, she said.

Before she was named CEO, Friedman served as President and Chief Operating Officer. Her advice for growing a career is to say yes to new opportunities, even if they don’t seem like a golden ticket to advancement.

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