A highlight of the week for Liza Streiff, CEO of Knopman Marks, is Monday’s staff meeting when the team gathers over lunch to share ideas. In this close-knit group, women represent more than 50 percent of the talent.
“We’re creating a culture that says, ‘If you can do it, we see you!’” says Streiff. “Man or woman—we set an equally high bar and share equally rigorous feedback. We offer equal opportunity and equal rewards.”
Knopman Marks has a long history of employing exceptional women in finance – and Streiff has furthered that effort. Since she was appointed CEO in January after 14 years with the firm, Streiff has welcomed a new female executive director and a new female head of partnerships. She notes that the men in the firm celebrate the talents of the women on the team, appreciate their voices, and recognize their value.
“Our business and our clients benefit greatly from the brilliant, highly skilled women we are fortunate to have in leadership positions,” says Brian Marks, President of Knopman Marks. “I value their remarkable contributions every day.”
Danielle Barringer has felt supported from her first day at the company. “The whole team was behind me from the start, and has been helping me have a successful career here,” says Barringer, who was recently promoted to Assistant Vice President, Data Strategist.
The Knopman Marks team has had many opportunities to bond and grow together. “Our ‘Get Fueled’ offsite last fall was a wonderfully creative session that challenged and celebrated our team,” says Marcia Larson, Head of Partnerships. “Our Thanksgiving dinner and goat yoga were especially joyous. Lots of laughs with people I love to be with.”
Yes, goat yoga. That’s just one of the many creative ideas dreamed up by Leigh Yanocha, Head of People Strategy, who focuses on making an impact on employee satisfaction. Not one to rest on her laurels, Yanocha has another special activity planned for this year’s team-building outing: a trapeze class.
A recent survey found that women-led organizations are more likely to have engaged, inspired, and satisfied employees. That’s just what you find when you step inside the Knopman Marks offices and meet this small city of highly accomplished women.
While researchers are still trying to figure out why companies with more women at the top make more money, they do know that having women at the C-Suite level increases net margins. Companies with women in top management roles also experience “innovation intensity” and produce more patents. Of note, Fortune’s “most admired” companies have twice as many women in senior management (17 percent) as the national average (8 percent). In honor of International Women’s Day, we celebrate the women of Knopman Marks – innovators, industry leaders, and experienced goat yogis.
Celebrating the Team
Liza Streiff Chief Executive Officer
Leadership style: It’s rooted in the relationship between success and joy.
Favorite part of the job: Seeing my team own their genius, be brave enough to lead with confidence, use their voice, and shine the way only they can. Sometimes this looks like a new person owning a project. Sometimes this means seeing someone who usually colors within the lines thinking outside the box. These moments bring me sheer joy. There’s nothing like it.
Most exciting part of my work: Continuing to reimagine how to deliver the best training possible to meet the evolving needs of our students.
Three adjectives: Inspiring, innovative, bold.
Favorite saying: Bring the joy!
Leigh Yanocha Executive Director, Head of People Strategy
Favorite part of the job: Seeing our employees grow in their roles.
Typical day: My day moves very quickly. I touch all aspects of the company so I’m pulled in different directions. I meet with employees, recruit, strategize with our CEO, project manage different areas of the business, and hop from different meetings.
Our company culture: It’s very family-oriented. There’s a huge commitment to giving back, work-life balance, and teamwork.
In my prior life: I oversaw analyst and associate training programs at Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.
Favorite saying: Teamwork makes the dream work.
Marcia Larson Director, Head of Partnerships, Faculty
Key part of job: Finding, implementing, and supporting partnerships with industry organizations, educational institutions, and financial services firms.
Favorite part of job: Discovering a new opportunity for Knopman Marks and helping students achieve a breakthrough.
Degrees and designations: I have degrees in Business Administration and Piano Performance from Wartburg College. I hold the designations of ChFC®, CLU®, CEBS, and FLMI®.
In my prior life: I worked at CUNA Mutual Group and Kaplan Financial.
Growing up, I thought I would be: A schoolteacher or a veterinarian.
Danielle Barringer Assistant Vice President, Data Strategist, Faculty
Key part of job: Analyze data to identify trends and improve our offerings.
Day to day: I teach classes, tutor, help students, analyze data, and help to make processes more efficient.
As a teacher: I train students for the SIE and Series 79 exams.
In my prior life: I worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs.
Most rewarding part of job: Getting emails from ecstatic students thanking me for my help after they pass an exam.
Suzanne Riss Consultant, Digital Marketing Strategist (that’s me!)
Key part of job: Writing articles and targeted marketing materials.
Favorite part of what I do: Working with a thoughtful, highly creative team that elevates what they do every day and has fun.
Currently: I am finishing a book on the Future of Work that will be published by John Wiley & Sons.
In my prior life: I was a marketing guru at JPMorgan Chase and the Editor-in-Chief of Working Mother magazine.
Three adjectives: Creative, curious, collaborative.
Jane Ricciardi Associate, Event Management
Key part of job: Helping to plan and execute internal and external events to create a positive experience for our clients, students, and team.
Favorite part of what I do: Working with a small, highly collaborative team that puts out awesome work.
A joyous day was: Our company retreat. It was great to be able to get away from the city, relax, and recharge.
The company culture here means: My ideas are always acknowledged and valued, and there are so many instances of female mentorship.
Growing up: I thought I’d end up in Hollywood. Don’t we all.
Bailey Connor Client Services Specialist
Favorite part of what I do: I enjoy finding ways to make our processes more efficient and working with our clients.
A joyous day was: When the whole team attended goat yoga together. It was great to get out of our comfort zones and do yoga with cute little goats. It was also extremely funny and entertaining.
The company culture here means: There’s an even playing field for both women and men to work hard, contribute to the company, and advance. As a junior person on team, I am truly amazed and so grateful that I have a voice at this company.
Degree: I hold a BA in Economics and Anthropology from the College of Wooster.
Donatella Mancinone Intern, Client Service Coordinator
Day to day: I respond to telephone inquiries and provide basic technical support for clients.
Currently: I am a rising third year at Northeastern University in Boston, MA.
Career I’d like to enter: Finance in the hospitality industry.
Favorite part of what I do: The amazing group of people that I work with.
Growing up: I thought I would be a federal judge. I still think about it.