Wall Street Women Forum

How more Wall Street women can rise to the top

May 11, 2011: 12:38 PM ET

People on Wall Street don't make their fortune by churning out widgets, but by providing capital and wielding power. A forum designed to help women in finance obtain and maintain that clout has taken off.

FORTUNE -- As the credit crisis swept away venerated Wall Street firms and some of the banking industry's brightest stars, Jane Newton -- a wealth manager and finance industry veteran -- found herself counseling clients through the most nerve-wracking days of their careers.

"It was particularly disconcerting for women to see so many high profile females leave

Carla Harris

Morgan Stanley managing director Carla Harris will deliver the main address at the Wall Street Women Forum

the Street," says Newton, who is a partner with the independent, fee-only wealth management firm RegentAtlantic Capital.

One need look no further than the high profile firings of Erin Callan at Lehman Brothers and Zoe Cruz at Morgan Stanley (MS) to understand why women were feeling particularly exposed. [Click here for the inside story of Callan's fall from grace.]

Was it true, as implied by a New York Magazine story about Cruz, that men were more able to survive? And if so, how could that change?

"To see it not work out for these women, no matter what the reason, was unnerving," Newton says. "The executives I spoke with were wondering how to read those tea leaves and how they would continue to succeed."

Out of this anxiety and chaos, Newton's idea for the Wall Street Women Forum was born. There are many other networking groups for women in business, including well known groups like 85Broads, which began as a club for women who worked at Goldman Sachs (GS) and expanded to include women in many professions around the globe. These groups provide women ways to connect and expand their lists of friends and business contacts. More

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