Chief of Strategic Partnerships, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs
Martina Edwards, chief of strategic partnerships, Access to Capital for Entrepreneurs (ACE), knows all about breaking barriers. In 2004, Edwards became the first black woman stock broker on the New York Stock Exchange, a position that came with its share of challenges.
“It was a dynamic, fast-paced, steep learning curve in a white, male-dominated environment with high-stakes trading activity and little to no room for error; I traded millions of shares daily,” Edwards, an Alabama native and HBCU graduate, recalls. “I could either second-guess myself or move forward with the confidence I was right where I was supposed to be—at the world’s largest stock exchange, positioned to inspire a new generation of leadership and serve as example for those who desired to pursue a similar path, while also using my role to ignite an uplifting larger dialogue around exposure and access to the industry.”
In her current position, Edwards says she’s able to bring her “whole self to work,” with the freedom to grow and embody the things she cares about deeply while encouraging change.
“I have a passion for diversity and inclusion, women’s and economic empowerment, and financial education—matters I believe play a key role in creating more access and opportunity for minority women and business enterprises and those traditionally underrepresented,” she says. “I work for a mission-based lender that literally checks all those boxes.” —J.H.