She never wanted to be a trailblazer.
And she never acted like one.
She insisted folks dispense with her formal name, Muriel, and instead, call her Mickie.
She once told me it was the times that made her react, but that she was never a reactionary.
Never one to push a cause, just push.
And push, Muriel Siebert did to give women a seat at the testosterone traders' table known as Wall Street, where the fairer sex was fairly shut out for nearly two centuries.
Until Mickie Siebert bought a seat at the table.
And in 1967, became the first woman to land a seat on the New York Stock Exchange, and later, head one of its member firms.
But just because Mickie was in, didn't mean she was welcome.
One famous Mickie story is how she insisted a ladies' room be added to the trading floor, next to the men's room, or she'd arrange for a portable toilet. She got her room.
Then there's the time Mickie was rebuffed at a famous men-only social club and told she couldn't take the elevator with the boys, so she stormed into a meeting and apparently wow'ed them enough, that they all took the stairs with Mickie when they were done.
For all the slights, Mickie would insist it wasn't so much as deliberate as men in those days, just being dumb.
As she would later tell me you don't have to bash heads, if you can first get people to use their heads.
Because for Mickie it wasn't about your sex, it was about your attitude.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
April 20, 2005
MICKIE SIEBERT: It's your spirit that counts and your ability and also your energy level. I started at 6 o'clock this morning and I'll go right through dinner. And then I have a trainer at 6 o'clock tomorrow morning, but then I have a masseuse that comes in at 7.
May 18, 1999
SIEBERT: They want to use the internet and we made it easy to use.
NEIL CAVUTO: Do you find it at all ironic, and you've told me yourself, you've been around the block a few times, you're older than a lot of these whiz kids, and yet ironically at a business they supposedly created and dominate, here it takes the first woman on Wall Street to show them how it's done?
SIEBERT: I had to be tutored to learn how to do it.
CAVUTO: I just find that fascinating you know.
SIEBERT: Well I realized that technology was either going to be our friend or enemy. I realized that three, four years ago. And I decided to make it our friend.
September 19, 2008
SIEBERT: He called me back, it was John McGillicuddy who ran Manufacturers Hanover. He called me back and said, Mickie you have the authority to give me a temporary branch; go out and buy a card table and four chairs. So when these people who were stepping up to the teller and taking their money out in cash, we had two people from that Manufacturers Hanover writing out the process--
CAVUTO: Well you've calmed people down Mickie--
May 18, 1999
CAVUTO: There you go again
SIEBERT: Why not? I've been first many times, but this is a big one!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
It seems silly now, but there was a time when Mickie Siebert was first hunting for a job on Wall Street, that she'd have her resume distributed under the name M.F. Siebert.
"I'd get the job interview, but boy, when they saw me show up in their office for the interview!"
She laughed. She won.
Mickie Siebert. Dead. At age 84.