Adena Friedman started at Nasdaq as an intern right out of business school and 20 years later she became CEO. When she got the top job a year ago, she became the first woman to head a major global stock exchange. Nasdaq, based in New York, is the second-largest exchange in the world by market capitalization, behind only the New York Stock Exchange.
Speaking to Fortune, she says, “I started very early in my career saying ‘yes’ to a lot of things. I just never let anything stand in my way to taking the next opportunity, to saying ‘yes’ to the next assignment, and making sure they saw me as a go-to person.”
Her success also comes from the lessons she learned in the taekwondo studio. Friedman, who earned a black belt, says this Korean martial art also played a role in building her leadership skills.
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“I really believe that taekwondo teaches you self reliance. If you are looking about how to get better, it’s only on you to improve,” Friedman explains. “And I think that self reliance is an important skill for anyone navigating the corporate world.”
Watch the video above for more of our conversation with Friedman.