Muriel ‘Mickie’ Siebert, the first female member of the NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX), passed away at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center at the age of 80, People reports. Known as the ‘first lady of finance,’ she became as famous for her philanthropy and public service as for breaking through the glass ceiling that had kept women from running their own brokerages.

Muriel Siebert

Muriel Siebert’s carrier history

Siebert was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1932 and started her career on Wall Street with Bache & Co in 1954 as a researcher who eventually specialized in the aerospace industry. She started her own firm, Muriel Siebert & Co, in 1967 and fought through months of resistance to buy a seat on the formerly all-male NYSE Euronext (NYSE:NYX). The Exchange created a new requirement for Siebert that a broker must obtain a letter from a bank guaranteeing $300,000 in loans, but banks were unwilling to give her that guarantee until she had her seat.  However, Siebert was able to recruit sponsors to help her get past the Catch-22 that seems like it was designed to exclude her.

She briefly left her company in 1977 after being appointed the first female superintendent of banking in New York, a position she held for five years, and then ran for the U.S. Senate in 1982 as a Republican. After failing to win the nomination she returned to run Siebert Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:SIEB).

Siebert awarded 17 honorary doctorates

A renowned advocate for women in business, Siebert was awarded 17 honorary doctorates and served on the board of numerous organizations including the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Women’s Forum, and the New York Women’s Forum, which she also founded. She worked to improve young people’s financial literacy and developed a program that was eventually rolled into the New York state high school curriculum, a program that she tried to establish nationally as well.

Siebert Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:SIEB) director Jane Macon said that Siebert was “a fabulous woman, a trailblazer and a pioneer… she always pushed the doors open and kept them open for other people to follow.”

Siebert chose not to marry and had no children.