In celebration of TXWSW’s ten-year anniversary, we are featuring women in senior-level positions in finance that have made a difference in the lives of their colleagues and community. Our next interview features Lana Calton, Managing Director, Head of Clearing at HilltopSecurities based in Dallas, Texas.
Define career success.
“Success all starts with confidence (not to be confused with arrogance). Once you believe in yourself, you begin to feel comfortable sharing your ideas and advocating for things that need to change. When I joined HilltopSecurities (then Southwest Securities), we were a regional firm with only 300 employees. I could have never predicted that, one day, I would operate one of the key business lines of a national firm that employs more than 900 people. One of the greatest joys of my life is the hard work I’ve put into making HilltopSecurities a success. However, today I define success as “escape velocity,” or getting to the point where you are no longer focused on yourself, but instead you project your energy outward. A leader’s ability to make this shift is the ultimate indicator of career success in my book. Today, I focus my time on building the best experience for HilltopSecurities’ clients, growing my division and fostering the talent of my coworkers.”
How did you choose finance as your career?
“As a little girl, my dad would hand me the business section of the Dallas Morning News and ask me to look up the prior day’s quotes for the few stocks he owned. That early understanding of putting your money to work for you sparked my interest in finance. The initial spark stayed with me throughout the years until I went to college, where I was able to explore the field in more depth. While in college, I was the first female president of my university’s finance club. The club’s faculty sponsor, Dr. Lewis, was incredibly supportive of me and encouraged me to interview for an internship with Southwest Securities’ local branch office in Nacogdoches. Dave Wallace, the branch manager at the time, was very progressive. The last four interns at the branch had been males and specifically requested a female intern in the spirit of inclusion. Dave believed women were sorely underrepresented in our business and actively worked to change that. The internship gave me my first glimpse of the relationship-side of finance and, after experiencing it first hand, I never looked back.”
Share your best career advice.
“Very early in my career I realized that if I showed up every day and I was someone people actually wanted to work with, I was already 90 percent ahead of the pack. I still believe that’s true, but as I’ve grown in my career and gone on to lead projects and teams, I think the best advice is to surround yourself with the best possible people who are unlike you. Building a team of people who have different strengths, backgrounds and perspectives can result in beautiful things when everyone is working towards a common goal. Lastly, when possible, be a consumer of your company’s product or service. Being a client of my firm is the best form of quality assurance.”
How have networking groups like Texas Wall Street Women helped your career?
“When I see other women with high-level achievements, it makes me realize what is possible. Interacting with these types of groups is refreshing because, as a rule, women are very good at supporting and helping each other. For instance, the assistant chair of the Bond Dealers of America is female. She and I had lunch after our last board meeting and we talked about our careers and our hopes for our daughters. We compared notes on our successes and even laughed at some of our mistakes. To date, most of my networking efforts have been through various industry groups or volunteer work, but I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to get involved with TXWSW.”
What is your advice on giving back and helping the next generation of women in finance?
“Last summer, I hosted a lunch for all of our college/high school interns. After the lunch, all of the girls stayed behind. We sat down and I asked them about female representation in the finance courses at their respective universities. They all said the same thing: “After the first year, the finance program loses the female students to accounting because of the perception of a better work/life balance.” We talked about the different career opportunities in this industry and the importance of women in our industry. Recently, I co-wrote an article that discussed how a financial advisor’s client base is changing. As women continue to earn, save and invest money on their own, the opportunity for female professionals on the production side of this business will be bigger than ever.”
“As the top ranking female at HTS, I will admit that sometimes things get a little lonely. Social protocol and appearances govern some of this, which is understandable. However, this can be a barrier for women when they don’t have the opportunity to build personal relationships with their peers outside of their career roles. I’ve taken it upon myself to build friendships with women in the firm who I see as rising stars. At least once a quarter, we make it a point to have dinner or go to the theater. It has been such a great thing for all of us and something I hope they will continue to do as they advance in their careers.”
Do you know a phenomenal woman making a difference in finance? We encourage you to nominate your mentors, friends, and colleagues so that we can celebrate their achievements and success by sending their name, and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.