Lisa encourages women to write their own rules and resist asking for permission

Lisa Shemie

Lisa Shemie never envisioned a career in law.

“I was not one of those people who dreamed of being a lawyer,” she says. Instead, while trying to figure out her next step after college, her dad reminded her of how great she was at arguing with him and suggested considering law as a profession. Without a tremendous amount of forethought, she decided to apply to law school, and the rest is history.

 Today, Lisa is an Associate General Counsel in Cboe’s Legal Division and serves as Chief Legal Officer for Cboe FX and Cboe SEF. “It’s a terrific job,” she says. “Being a lawyer is hard, and at times the profession can be challenging for women, but it’s a fantastic opportunity.”

Lisa's advice to women starting out in their careers is to assert themselves – a skill that took years for her to recognize and develop. She says women are much more prone to “imposter syndrome” than men, citing the oft-quoted conventional wisdom that a woman who meets 90 percent of a role’s job requirements is less likely to think she’s qualified than a man who only has 60 percent of the required skills.

“I think women undersell themselves frequently and sometimes don’t have the confidence in their own experience to know that they can grow into a position,” she says.

Lisa also encourages women not to ask for permission – most of the time. “Women often ask for permission reflexively and some questions don’t need to be asked,” she says. “Just do it.”

Returning to work after the birth of her son was a pivotal event in Lisa’s life that she says helped her realize she didn’t always need to seek approval. Working until 9 p.m. every night at an investment bank was no longer an option for Lisa and her family as she made work-life balance a priority.

“I never went to my boss and said ‘listen, from now on I need to leave at six because I have a kid at home.’ I just did it. I never once asked for anyone’s permission. I always got my work done, there was never a question of my loyalty, my work ethic, any of that. And the result was that I set my own pace and created a precedent for my future.”

Lisa believes more women in senior leadership would make those work-life decisions easier for all, women and men. “I’m really encouraged by the interest companies are taking in promoting women to senior positions, executive management and boards of directors,” she says. “But, I think it’s important for organizations to take concrete action and implement policies to get us there.”

Lisa strongly supports programs that nurture junior women and promote their advancement within a company. “Sort of like a farm team in a baseball organization,” she jokes. "I’m excited to see more woman leaders across the financial services sector, and I look forward to supporting Cboe on that path.”

Cboe is celebrating the women that make us great all month long. Follow along on your favorite social channel with #CboeWomen.