How One Woman Made Her Mark in a Male-Run Family Business

Through its 81-year history, factor and finance company Rosenthal & Rosenthal had never had a woman on its family leadership team. That is, until Cassie Rosenthal, granddaughter of founder Imre Rosenthal, joined the business in 2012. Now an SVP, Rosenthal shares her experience of joining a male-dominated business and making her mark.

What were some of the reasons you chose to enter the family business?

CR: “I’ve known many of Rosenthal’s longtime employees for most of my life, and in many ways, they are family, as well. I was excited about the opportunity to work alongside them, just as much as my own family members. Most of all, I feel a real sense of pride and responsibility that I am helping to continue my grandfather’s legacy.”

What has the experience been like as the only woman in family leadership at Rosenthal?

CR: “Entering the business later than my other relatives, and being the only female family member working in the business, forced me to prove myself early on and work that much harder to do so. Our industry is still predominantly male — so much so that it often feels exclusionary, even if that’s unintentional.”

How has this impacted your involvement with inclusivity programs?

CR: “I have worked hard to create opportunities within our own workplace and culture at Rosenthal to close the gender gap. Outside of work, I serve on the board for Women Helping Other Women, and I recently cofounded BABE, a networking community for women executives, business owners and entrepreneurs.”

What advice do you have for women who are rising up in a male-dominated environment?

CR: “Embrace it; don’t shy away from it. Fostering critical skill sets, leveraging your innate talent, finding someone to champion your successes and building yourself a network of strong female allies who you can turn to — either within your own office or in the broader business community — can help any woman rise up in a male-dominated environment.”

Who are your female role models?

CR: “First and foremost, my mother. She is one of the most generous and compassionate people I know, and I try to bring those traits to everything I do. Second, the women executives in my industry who paved the way for me. I entered commercial finance significantly later than most, so I was nervous about being accepted into this very close community of people who have known one another for decades. But these women embraced and encouraged me, and they taught me how to navigate what at the time was completely foreign to me.”

Watch the video below to find out how to succeed as a woman in the shoe industry:

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