Women in Business: Alexandra Lebenthal / President and CEO of Lebenthal Holdings

03/23/2015 07:50 am ET | Updated May 23, 2015

Alexandra Lebenthal is the President and CEO of Lebenthal Holdings. She comes from a storied Wall Street family. Her grandparents, Louis and Sayra Lebenthal, founded Lebenthal & Co., Inc, a municipal bond specialist, in 1925. Her grandmother worked until age 93. She followed her father, James Lebenthal, as the company spokesperson. She joined Lebenthal in 1988 and became President and CEO in 1995 at the age of 31. Ms Lebenthal remained at the firm for four years after its sale, leaving in 2005before starting anew in 2006.

​This new venture is the second chapter of the Lebenthal family and in addition to an successful capital markets, in 2013 launched Lebenthal Wealth Advisors, a high net worth advisory division.

​A passionate supporter of women in business, she was named one of New York's 100 most influential women by Crain's New York Business and one of the top 50 Women in Wealth Management by Wealth Manager Magazine. She has also been named to the Crain's New York Top Women Owned Business and the Crain's Fastest 50 Growing Businesses in New York.

As one of the most recognizable woman on Wall Street she is a frequent commentator on in the media, and is an official CNBC contributor.

​She is a board member of The Committee of 200, a leading organization for female businesswomen and is involved in many cultural and philanthropic institutions in New York City. Lebenthal will be hosting the The Boys & Girls Club of Bellport Area Beach Ball of Summer 2015.

​Ms. Lebenthal is also a contributing editor for New York Social Diary and published her first novel "Recessionistas", in August 2010, which was sold to SONY Television. She will be publishing "The Women's Investment Bible" in 2015, a comprehensive book on investing for women.

She is also the Co-founder of "The Women's Executive Circle," a group of high-profile Jewish Women that mentor other women under the auspices of United Jewish Appeal.

A graduate of Princeton University in 1986, with an A.B. in history, Ms. Lebenthal began her career in the municipal bond department at Kidder Peabody Inc.

​Ms. Lebenthal lives in New York City with her husband, Jay Diamond. They have three children, Benjamin, Charlotte and Eleanor.

How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
I became CEO of my company when I was 31, and as such, everyone who reported to me was older and more experienced. My management style today is very much related to that. I have always respected those that have talents and experience that I may not have an believe that if I allow them to use that rather than micromanaging or second guessing them, that we will all be successful in the end.

How has your previous employment experience aided in your role as President & CEO of Lebenthal Holdings?
My experience, with the exception of two years at the start of my career has always been at Lebenthal and so it's perhaps a little difficult to answer that question because it is all I know. I do believe, however, that because virtually my entire career has been connected to Lebenthal, I am 100% focused on our brand and continuing to build it.

What have the highlights and challenges been in your role as President & CEO of Lebenthal Holdings?
I restarted the company in 2007 after selling the originally company. It was obviously not the best of timing given that the financial crisis was about to rain down on the entire global economy, so starting the company and having the capital to build it was exceedingly difficult. Some of the highlights have been- re purchasing the Lebenthal name from Merrill Lynch for $1000, building the top woman owned capital markets business, and most recently building our wealth and asset management business.

Tell us about any new projects that you are working on.
I am writing a book for female investors called "The Women's Investment Bible". It is a comprehensive guide of everything a woman needs to know about investing, from how to find an advisor, to what various investments are, to what to do if you have a problem. It's been a gargantuan task, but I'm really excited about it because nothing like it exists.

We started a magazine for female financial advisors called SAYRA. It is named after the co founder of our company and my Grandmother who was dealing with individual clients in 1925. The magazine is designed to help advisors build their business, but is a great branding opportunity for us to make our mark as the place for female advisors. I'm incredibly proud of the project and look forward to seeing it grow.

What advice can you offer women who are seeking to start their own business?
Raise more money than you need to!! Remember that there are a lot of things unrelated to your business itself that you will have to deal with and sometimes things will hit you all at once. Have a great network of other women who own their own businesses. Try not to take on too many projects or business lines at once, unless you have enough capital and staff to handle them all well

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I view balance as something you achieve for a moment in time. Sometimes you get it and then it disappears. Live for the days you are super mom and it all comes together and try not to worry too much about failure on those days when it doesn't. Most people think you're amazing to even try it at all!

What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
Learning to ask for things. We feel uncomfortable doing it and yet we aren't going to proceed unless we do it.

How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
My personal and professional life have always been intertwined so mentors I have had have given me tools that I have used in all aspects of my life.

Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
Liz Myers- Global Head of Equity Capital Markets at JPMorgan Chase. She's incredible- composed, dynamic, smart and gracious. She's run some of the largest IPOs in history including Alibaba this past year and isn't even 50!

Sheryl Sandburg- COO Facebook- She has single handedly taken on the most massive mission and has the power and wherewithal to get it done.

Stephanie Ruhle- Bloomberg. She left a great and lucrative career in credit derivative sales to become an anchor at Bloomberg TV. She is one of the smartest, most quick witted and talented people I know.

What do you want to personally and professionally accomplish in the next year?
The novel I wrote in 2010, The Recessionistas, was just sold to USA Networks. I hope to sit down with my friends and family and watch it on TV! Grow to $5 billion in Assets Under Management. Publish "The Women's Investment Bible." Ride up on the teachers bike at Soulcycle!