The first female CEO of an NYSE-listed company and two lives that bookended an era

Among those we recently lost are several trailblazing women who achieved remarkable success in their fields and showed the way for those to come. Mary Wells Lawrence was the first woman CEO of an NYSE-listed company, and Ellen Ash Peters was the first female chief justice on the Connecticut Supreme Court. Kris Hallenga, who died at the age of 38, battled breast cancer for over a decade to fulfill her purpose of educating other young women about its dangers.

Coincidentally, two people who recently passed away are often associated, respectively, with the origin and demise of the “greed is good” era lampooned in films such as Wall Street, with its famous Gordon Gekko antihero. The Harvard economist Michael C. Jensen, whose work provided a theoretical foundation for stock options, leveraged buyouts, and soaring executive compensation packages, was often seen as a personification of the excess-driven credo. And the trial of Ivan Boesky—who was regarded as the inspiration for the Gekko character—was widely thought of as the end of the era.

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