Barbara Byrne is a powerful force on Wall Street.
A vice chairman in investment banking at Barclays, she has spent three decades years in finance and advised on a number of high-profile deals.
But as a woman, she says, it can be “difficult to survive.”
“I’m one of the most senior women on Wall Street because I am simply still standing,” Byrne said on Friday at an event for women in media hosted by the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
“In my world, as a woman, you can get tired,” she said.
Byrne, who started her career in energy banking in the 1980s, said most of her mentors were men when she was young because there were no other women in the industry for her to look up to.
She said she has since made it her business to be a resource for other women and help them advance in their careers.
Byrne recently coproduced and invested in the Wall Street movie “Equity,” which was written, directed, produced, and starred in by women.
She described the moment the filmmaker, Sarah Megan Thomas, convinced her to get involved.
“I saw myself … years ago, saying, ‘Can somebody give me a chance?’ And in that moment, I just said okay, 20 minutes in, ‘I’m in,'” she said.
The film was bought by Sony Pictures, and is now being developed into a TV series with backing from ABC. Byrne said that investors made a roughly 15% return based on the sale to Sony.
The movie has since been aired on college campuses and in various corporate offices around the country, she said.
“Even if you’re not in finance … what woman has not been told that she rubs people the wrong way?” Byrne said, referencing a scene in the movie in which the lead character is denied a promotion for that reason.
“That just means you’ve asked for something and they don’t want to give it to you.”