Dawn Simmons: A Woman of Color’s Journey from Wall Street to Politics

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Dawn Simmons

Dee Dee Strum, Nan McKay’s Co-Host on TrailBlazers Impact, talks to Dawn Simmons as she shares her inspiring career journey and advice she has for other women. Dawn has worked as an executive in Wallstreet, run for a political office and has been a social activist for most of her life.

She describes her childhood in detail and how it shaped her to become the woman she prides herself of being today. She also shares why she wrote a book touching on mass incarceration and how she’s hoping it’s going to bring in the much-needed change among young men of today.

Listen in to learn the experiences and challenges of a woman of color choosing a career in Wallstreet. You will also learn some tips from Dawn on what a 21st-century woman should prioritize in her life.

“If you’re passionate about something, do it, but always have a backup plan to keep the money coming”– Dawn Simmons.

Top Takeaways:

  • Learn how an inspiring childhood can help a child to be an impactful adult.
  • Understanding a career on Wallstreet as a woman of color.
  • The importance of reducing the impact of mass incarceration.
  • Some tips for anyone planning to run for a political office.
  • The ability to travel, live, and experience life in different parts of the country or the world at large.
  • The power of having a secure retirement fund.

Key Moments:

  • [1:34] Dawn talks about her childhood and how her parents inspired her to be the woman she is.
  • [4:38] She describes how a young girl with a love for working with people transitioned into a social activist who helps young men stay out of prison.
  • [7:03] How is a career on Wallstreet like, especially for a black woman? And some suggestions for a woman who would like to get into Wallstreet.
  • [11:27] Dawn talks about working with prisoners and how the idea of writing her book ‘letters to our sons’ came about- and the purpose of writing it.
  • [18:20] Dawn tells stories of people who were incarcerated for shorter periods that later turned into longer periods.
  • [20:27] Why did Dawn go for a political office? Some tips for anyone wanting to run for office.
  • [25:04] Would she consider running for a political office in the future?
  • [26:09] What is her experience living in both New York and California?
  • [27:24] Dawn shares her experience living in Africa and her ability to adapt to that lifestyle.
  • [30:03] What advice would she give to the 21st-century woman who haven’t found herself?
  • [34:34] Dawn’s advice to a black woman who needs security to supplement her retirement fund while she still enjoys what she likes to do.
  • [37:17] Advice to an unprepared retiring woman.



Dawn Simmons’ Book: Letters to Our Sons (purchase from SHOP page of TrailBlazersImpact.com)




About nanmckay

Nan has been President of Nan McKay and Associates, Inc. since 1980. She started Nan McKay Connects LLC in 2019 and has started 4 other businesses over the last 50 years. She has received numerous awards including the Allan Anderson Award of Merit from Minnesota National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, the Section 8 Administrators Award, in 2018 the National Association of Women Business Owners’ (NAWBO) Signature Award for Southern California, and in 2019 she was selected by NAWBO as the California Woman Business Owner of the Year. She was co-founder of Minnesota Women in Housing and has served on the Board of Directors for the National Leased Housing Association for many years. She has two buildings named after her in Minnesota, a 10-story elderly high-rise, the Nan McKay Building, and a family subsidized development, McKay Manor. Nan now hosts four podcast shows featuring stories of women empowerment, oral history makers of affordable housing and community development, and stories of ordinary people coping with COVID-19 pandemic.
www.trailblazersimpact.com; nan@nanmckayconnects.com

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