by Iliana Edison
While an entrepreneurial spirit has long thrived among American women, the scale and prominence of their businesses has exploded in recent decades. What was more likely to be small, local and family-oriented a century ago has given way to groundbreaking enterprises in everything from finance to biomedical engineering.
The work of our next Rulebreaker, Loretta McCarthy, has been a catalyst for much of this growth. As a Managing Partner at Golden Seeds, a company founded by Stephanie Newby in 2005 that broadens access to capital for women entrepreneurs, she has facilitated over $80 million in funding and grown the firm’s roster to over 275 members.
I sat down with Loretta to discuss her professional journey and dedication to women-led businesses, and her belief that the Golden Seeds work ultimately strengthens the economy and makes the world a better place.
Ilaina Edison: Prior to Golden Seeds, you were Executive VP and CMO at Oppenheimer Funds, as well as VP of Marketing at American Express. What experiences along the way made focusing on women-led businesses call to you?
Loretta McCarthy: Throughout my career, I always had an awareness of the situation women were in, whether as customers, employees, or executives of various companies. I started my career at Hudson Corp. (now part of Macy’s), and following that retail experience was hired by American Express to launch a card business in the retail industry. Prior to that, women weren’t sought out as card members. It became clear that if American Express wanted to grow their business, they needed to expand the number of women who used their card, and I was part of making that happen in the early 1980s.
I then went to Oppenheimer, in the early stages of the mutual fund industry scaling in a major way. My core work was marketing development of mutual products, and it became clear to us that women were not a major voice in planning their financial futures. We launched a program called Women & Investing, encouraging women to think actively about their role in their households.
Read more from Loretta McCarthy of Golden Seeds here.