Generous, passionate, and beloved by colleagues and mentees alike, Linda Sarkisian, DMSB'80, who recently lost a long battle with a serious disease, served as a Senior Cooperative Education Coordinator for Finance at D'Amore-McKim for 9 years. She helped pave the way for women in the industry and the next generation of D'Amore-McKim finance professionals. Some may even call her a trailblazer.

Sarkisian was awarded the inaugural Trailblazer Award in October 2020 by the members of Women in Finance, a Northeastern University student organization dedicated to empowering and connecting female students and alumnae in finance. The group celebrated her groundbreaking career in which she garnered over two decades of experience in the industry before rejoining the D'Amore-McKim community to share her knowledge. 

“Linda is seriously one of the most amazing people I've met during my time at Northeastern,” says Chantel Reindeau, DMSB'20. “She has a heart of gold and truly cared about all of her students and was really invested in their success.”

An early female voice in the industry

Following a co-op experience as a runner at the Boston Stock Exchange (BSE) when she was a student at Northeastern, Sarkisian became its first woman member and specialist and later served on the BSE Board of Governors. By the ‘90s, BSE had more women working than any other exchange.

“It wasn't very easy for a young girl in the ‘70s and the ‘80s to survive in a male-dominated industry, but Linda aced it,” says Kenny King, Sarkisian's first employer at BSE. “For over 20 years, Linda was an integral part of my company and one of the main reasons that we grew from a very, very small operation to one of the largest ones on the trading floor.” 

Throughout her years in the field, Sarkisian managed projects for major bulge bracket firms such as Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley, witnessing notable market activity including Black Monday in 1987, the internet bubble of 2000, and the Madoff scandal. She also established her own investment firm in the early 2000s.

Embracing her passion for mentorship

Ready to make a career shift, Sarkisian returned to school for her MBA in Finance from Lynn University in 2010. She then seized the opportunity “to give back to the university that changed [her] life” as part of the D'Amore-McKim Employer Engagement team.

In her cooperative education roles, Sarkisian advised and supported hundreds of finance students in their co-op and job searches. According to her mentees, she went above and beyond to empower them to navigate their early careers.

“What I love most about her is her straightforward candor and genuine passion for seeing you become a better version of yourself every single day,” says Lekhan Shivashankar, DMSB'21.

Sarkisian fought barriers for women to succeed in the industry from her first corporate job to her most recent mentorship role, but she always had a special place in her heart for Northeastern students.

“In the old days you had to go to Ivy League schools to get an investment banking job on Wall Street. I knew our students were just as good, if not better,” Sarkisian says. “I wanted to empower everyone with whatever I learned over the years about the industry.”