Category: Women in Finance

Meet Helane Morrison: Culture of Integrity

 

Integrity.

It is widely regarded as the honesty, truthfulness, or accuracy of one’s words and actions. 

Among the most influential people, we rely on for honesty are our politicians. While they are campaigning for public office, every candidate makes promises for what he/she will accomplish if elected. However, more often than not, they often fall short of the mark.

Helane Morrison is an exceptional individual, who not only preserved her ethical integrity but discharged her obligations in a business that is known for getting otherwise rational people to take part in Ponzi schemes, like Bernie Madoff, for example, who was behind the largest financial fraud in U.S. history. The 77-year-old successfully swindled investors out of $65 billion and is now serving over 150 years in federal prison.

Morrison is one that prevailed.

From her humble beginnings, Morrison found her true calling: to defend the undefended. After graduating from Northwestern University with her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism, she just could not stop herself from glory, earning her Juris Doctor degree at the UC Berkeley School of Law, and even was named the head editor of the institution’s law review. 

It became very evident that the impeccable talent of Morrison was ready for greener pastures. She passed the bar exam and after being admitted to practice, snagged a job at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th circuit as a clerk. While under the tutelage of Supreme Court Justice Henry A. Blackmun, Morrison championed herself as a leader for equality.

Like a boxer who has been the world champion of the same weight class for some period, Morrison was yearning to move up to the next division, private practice. She spent the next 10 years with Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk, and Rabkin, a law firm where her area of concentration was centered on protection. In 1991, due to her consistent and superb work, Morrison was promoted to full partner. In collaboration with her team, Morrison launched corruption investigations against unscrupulous traders.

Morrison was also in charge of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission [SEC] San Francisco office from 1999 to 2007. In her role, Morrison was responsible for securities enforcement, litigation, and regulatory matters in Northern California and five Northwest states. Like a Super Bowl MVP, Morrison left a lasting legacy. For instance, financial fraud cases involving top executives from corporations like Google, HP, and HBO among others. Once considered to be ‘untouchable,’ but Morrison led numerous financial fraud cases against those individuals. Moreover, she revealed the corruption of the insurance company American Amicable, which had been selling false securities to military personnel, and auditors like a principal collaborator at Ernst and Young, who Morrison discovered was adjusting and discarding audit work papers illegally. Morrison was also the first woman to be named Head of Commission and Regional Director by the SEC. 

After spending so many years with the government, Morrison wanted a change. As aforementioned, Morrison worked with Supreme Court Justice Henry A. Blackmun, who was viewed as a champion of equality. Naturally, she fought for equality in the financial workplace.

Morrison joined forces with Hall Capital. As a company, it puts an emphasis on two main qualities that it believes a woman should have to succeed in the workplace – flexibility and resiliency. Its open concept design allows employees to collaborate and communicate as much as possible to build a team of successful clients. Having a great team is the essence of success, and as great as Morrison is, she would not have triumphed as much without a team. But given her ability to succeed in so many different venues, it is evident that she is something special.  Learn more about Helane’s career on her LinkedIn account.

There is a reason Morrison is a four-time Most Influential Woman in the Bay Area for business. Her track record irreproachable and her work ethic sinless. These traits represent a career marked by a battle to defend the undefended and to inspire people to do the right thing.