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Susan Thompson: Inspiring Fearless Women

Jamie Hopkins - December 5, 2022 - 0 comments

“Fearless Girl” has been an inspiration to women since State Street Global Advisors first placed the statue in New York’s financial district in 2017. This representation is one of the things that Susan (Sue) Thompson, Head of Americas Distribution for SPDR ETF at State Street Global Advisors, is most proud of about her firm.

“Fearless Girl stands there, defiantly looking up at the New York Stock Exchange with her hands on her hips, showing all of us what we should aspire to,” Sue says.

In fact, she adds, that is part of the legacy she intends to leave.

“During my tenure, I have seen and helped many female colleagues rise to senior leadership as they became ‘fearless women,’” Sue says.

It’s a message she imparts at State Street, but also in a wider sphere, as one of the co-founders of the industry group Women in ETFs (WE).

“We recognized there were so few women in the ETF industry that we needed a safe community where we could share our vulnerabilities and lift each other up,” she says.

Today, the group has expanded to nearly 8,000 members globally. On the most recent International Women’s Day, representatives from WE rang the opening bell at nine global exchanges to raise awareness and recognize women in leadership.

As an active mentor, Sue encourages women to go for what they want, advice she has learned from others over the years. Earlier in her career, she stepped out of the workforce to care for her parents and was surprised when a would-be employer gave her a lowball salary offer due to her hiatus. Sue conferred with a former colleague who told her that the compensation for the role had actually accelerated while she was away and advised her on a higher figure, which was eventually accepted.

If not for these mentors, along with sponsors who have given her opportunities she had never imagined, Sue knows her career trajectory would be different. This is why she aims to pay it forward.

In today’s episode, Sue talks to Jamie and Ana about the genesis of the Women in ETFs industry group, investment strategies for the current market, the significance of stock exchange bell-ringing events and her go-to karaoke song.

Key Takeaways

  • Mentors can be anywhere and can be specific to a need you have at a particular point in time, such as helping you with executive presence or public speaking.
  • It’s OK to show emotion. We tend to feel more deeply connected when it’s obvious someone cares.
  • It’s been a traumatic market and nearly everyone has suffered losses. This makes it an ideal time to encourage clients to consider whether it would be wise from a tax perspective to take the losses now.


“You’ll encounter a lot of ‘nos’ in the world. The last person you should be hearing it from is yourself.” – Sue Thompson


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