Investigate What Interests You

Dallas Business Journal Honors Laura Alexander at Women in Business Awards Luncheon.

Popular portrayals of high-profile investment bankers often include busy trading floors full of frazzled businesspeople barking buy and sell orders. While anyone in financial services can tell you these depictions are inaccurate, if not highly dramatized, HilltopSecurities Public Finance Regional Managing Director Laura Alexander is about as far as you can get from them.

Laura’s love for the great outdoors, even-keeled demeanor, and affinity for meditation are more befitting of an educator. In fact, her passion for mathematics and teaching led her to Stanford, where she earned master’s degrees in both education and business.

Then, a chance meeting with HilltopSecurities Chairman Emeritus Hill Feinberg redirected the course of her professional life. While she had a short stint as an algebra teacher at Fort Worth Country Day—where she is currently starting her third year as president of the school’s board of trustees—she’s spent the past 23 years in public finance as an investment banker here at HilltopSecurities.

Laura’s hard work was recognized last month when the Dallas Business Journal (DBJ) honored her and 29 other DFW-area female business leaders in the publication’s 12th Annual Women in Business Awards. The program recognizes North Texas’ most influential businesswomen and this year’s award luncheon took place on August 21 at the Fairmont Hotel in Dallas, Texas.

“I’m honored to be recognized by the Dallas Business Journal for doing a job I love,” said Alexander. “I work with an incredible, talented team. It’s very rewarding to help our clients achieve their goals.”

Laura was selected for her leadership qualities, career accomplishments, and community involvement. Throughout her time with the firm, she has been a driving force in HilltopSecurities’ public finance practice, helping municipalities, counties, water districts, universities, school districts, and airport authorities fund capital improvement projects. In a typical year, Laura is responsible for about 30 deals and her client list includes several school districts and colleges/universities—bringing her time in education full circle.

At the awards luncheon, honorees were asked to provide a photo of themselves in high school. As they graced the stage, they were asked what advice they’d give their younger selves today. Alexander’s answer was imbued with the stoicism of a true educator.

“Focus on what you can control and try to let go of what you can’t”

Laura’s Zen-like attitude extends to her thoughts on female professionals navigating careers in the financial services industry. When asked what needed to happen for women to gain more leadership roles in public finance, she said, “I think it’s a bit of a numbers game. For starters, we need to get more women in the public finance business. Then, I’m sure more leadership roles will follow.”

As far as career advice for the aspiring female investment banker, Laura’s own trajectory has taught her that being curious and working hard will do more for them than a rote one-liner.

“Investigate what interests you, see if you have a talent for it, and go from there,” she said. “I encourage young people who have an interest in finance, and who also want to make a meaningful difference in their communities, to consider a career in public finance.”

More on Laura Alexander and the Women in Business Awards at the Dallas Business Journal

Connect with Laura on LinkedIn.