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Virginia McGathey: Trailblazing Latina Working In The Male- Dominated World Of Trade

Updated: Nov 1, 2019




I'm really excited for you to meet my friend Virginia McGathey in this month's feature of #TaconesExitosos. I met Ginni about a year ago and I instantly connected with her. Her energy and drive fills any room she walks into, not to mention she is your go to person when you are in need of a pep talk.


Keep reading to learn all about this #chingona #mujer working in the male-dominated world of trade.


Virginia McGathey is a Commodities Trader at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).  She is also the only Latina member of the the Chicago Board of Trade where she owns a seat.


As President and Founder of McGathey Commodities Corporation, a global brokerage execution company, Virginia trades Futures and Options on all grain products.


Since 1983, she has battled it out in the trading pits and has overcome the challenges of working in a male-dominated industry and she continues to do so today on her 40- plus year trajectory in the Commodities business. Virginia is also the Daily Market commentator for the CME Group, a frequent contributor to the market commentary for Bloomberg, Fox Business, Sky News, CNBC, RFD TV Nashville, First Business, BNN, and the BBC among other prominent financial media organizations.



What do your mornings look like?

Meditation and Liquid Gold.

I begin my day early with a 6 a.m. meditation. I find that it centers me mentally for the day. I then prepare what I call my liquid fuel for the day. Insead of coffee, I start with a warm glass of lemon water with a scoop of It Works Ketones, it gets my metabolism going and I instantly feel energized.


Next, I prepare a coconut or almond milk smoothie full of fresh fruits with It Works greens & protein. I also prepare hot tea from Sunrider called Calli, which cleanses my system and helps my mind focus. I also prepare a refreshing drink with water and Sunrider Fortune Delight, it has antioxidants and keeps my energy up until 2 p.m. when I’m able to eat my first meal of the day.  Finally, I save the best for last. I apply HGH Gel every morning and evening.  I’ve been using this since last summer and I feel it’s reversing the aging process, I’ve never felt better.


I truly believe that “If you have health, you have everything.” My physical vitality and a feeling of an intense sense of wellbeing is what I strive for everyday.  Clearly it is a major reason why I have been able to sustain my presence on the trading floor.


Name 3 things you are most proud of.

GOLF. I learned to play golf at age 38 and today stand as the 13-time Champion at Ridgemoor Country Club.  Knowing the game has opened so many doors.


ENTREPRENEURSHIP. Launching  McGathey Commodities and making it a training ground  for so many family members and women. Looking back it was a “Most Amazing” time.  The family relationships that were cultivated and nurtured is something that I can’t express in words. Conversation during Thanksgiving dinner was always colorful & vibrant.  I will certainly treasure that time for the rest of my life.


SUCCESS. My financial success allowed me to offer major support to my parents. There were many family events and vacations, however, one favorite memory comes to mind: I can still see the smiles on their faces when they saw their new cars in the driveway with two  huge red bows on top. A black Lincoln Town car for my Dad and a red Cadillac for my Mom. It was all the rage at the time.


Your last name is McGathey. Tell us where is the Latina in you?

My Dad, Richard McGathey is Irish & German-American  and my Mom, Rosemarie Gonzalez is Mexican-American. With my Mom the oldest of nine  herself, my cousins names were Gonzalez, Rodriguez, Garcia, Ortiz & Tijerina. I didn’t learn to speak spanish but I was raised on sopa de fideo, huevos, frijoles and tortillas.  I enjoyed having a Great Grandmother until I was 18 years old and my Grandmother until my late thirties. They both had a significant impact on me and taught me what it means to be family.  


What are you reading right now?

Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza.  I have been a lifelong student of personal development. This specifically is guiding me to understand how I have created my life up to this point and how I can achieve any aspiration from here on out.


How has it been being a pioneering woman working at the board of trade?

I never looked at myself as a pioneer.  I knew I wasn’t the first and I certainly wouldn’t be the last.  However, early on I was aware that Title IX had passed the legislature because my Mom told me I can do anything now. Ha! I sure wish that was true.


Discovering my sexuality was a catalyst to feminism for me, so learning that history clued me in to the profound sacrifice that so many women endured so that I could pursue my dreams to find the best of who I am.  I do owe a debt of gratitude to them and hope that the path I have left is worthy of their grueling efforts and offers enough light for the next generation to go a little further.


Board of trade? What does it really mean to work there?

A truly historic construct, literally & figuratively.  Even though as a starry eyed 17 year old, when I first started and had no idea. It’s a hub of information and statistics for commerce around the globe.  When walking on the trading floor the energy is palpable, it’s the only place where you feel like you have your finger on the pulse of the world.


Being openly lesbian, what are some challenges you’ve dealt with in a mostly male dominated field?

Where do I begin?   Well I didn’t realize it until I was 19 so I spent the first couple of my teen years confused and curious. I tell you that because dealing with my personal transformation was less than ideal.  Of course I hid it at first. For about a year because I was certain it was a phase. I couldn’t figure it out.  


I hadn’t felt sheltered growing up but clearly this was “out there.” No pun intended. So with friends it was ok, but they were curious for sure. Saying “what the hell happened?” In the trading pits it was a whole other story.  The traders used it as just one more reason to spew vulgarities at me. It’s a raw business and personal attacks were common, especially when they work.  


Fighting about money can bring the worst out in people and negotiating through other traders prejudices was just one more thing I had to battle to get my work done. Sadly it’s still like that today. But I still persist and from time to time see glimmers of humanity shine through my competitors. I am so thankful that I fought through my fears at an early age to become who I am today.


Fear. Tell me about it.  

Can I say, I’m perpetually working on that one. I have come to know that FEAR is

just False Evidence Appearing Real. Now that that’s out of the way, a serious truth is that Fear & Greed are the two  rulers of the marketplace. It’s only one’s ability to command and control both that one can be successful. What I mean is that you have to battle through both to win.


What keeps you awake at night?

These days it is just worry that I haven’t done enough.  During the wild days of the market I had many many sleepless nights wondering If mistakes were made that would cost thousands of dollars. As a frame of reference, the company’s largest error cost almost $300,000 dollars. I did not sleep that night.


What puts you to sleep?

When I have given my all each day. That is the feeling I strive for.  Adopting a small mantra “Win the Day,” it can be something big or small, just something that matters.  However at this stage of my life I truly understand the 24 hour cycle. It’s what everyone has and when my body says goodnight, I comply.


What’s been your biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

My own self doubt.  It has been a personal battle over my lifetime. When things are going well, it looks like it will never be bad again.  Conversely when things go bad it feels like I will never recover. This is why I actively pursue personal development. I enjoy growing this way.


Hobbies? Don’t be shy. Perhaps, golf?

I have always been active my entire life. I’ve played many sports and participated in lots of outdoor activities. My 2 favorites at this time are Sailing & Golf.  I haven’t done much sailing lately but I’ve always enjoyed Lake Michigan.  Sailing the BVI’s was an indescribable adventure.


As for Golf, I have enjoyed much success. 13 Championships and a silver medal

in the 2006 Gay Olympics in Chicago.  I wish I had learned to play earlier in life. I believe I could have leveraged so much more. I highly recommend every female to take up Golf for that reason alone. It’s also very fun & relaxing & beautiful to see.  It will be my favorite til the day I die.


Why do you do what you do?

When I first landed a job as a runner on the Options Exchange I didn’t realize how expansive the industry was.  Of course as I excelled and became financially successful I stayed with it.


Today I would like to give back more and contribute to the teachings of the next generation interested in trading.


Biggest inspiration and why?

My Mom, she has been my greatest fan and has always reminded me about what matters and what has meaning.  That everything I need is within me.


Dinner and a movie or netflix and chill?

Dinner and a movie is a favorite specialty of mine, including popcorn. But Netflix & chill is my everyday “go to” when my day is done. I’m currently really into One Day at A Time on Netflix. It’s a really well written and entertaining show that tackles difficult topics with comedy and who doesn’t love Rita Moreno!


What qualities do you look for most in people?

Happiness


For the animal loving readers- What is your fav animal and why?

Dogs.  I’ve always had one throughout my life. Well, I did have a cat for about four  years back in the day, but dogs are my favorite pets. They are loyal and always loving.  I prefer little ones and I was born in 1958, the year of the dog.


What advice would you give your 20 something self?

Discipline! Life goes by faster than you think.  Don’t sweat the small stuff. Trust yourself and believe in who you are.  Master the science of achievement & the art of fulfillment.


Describe success in 3 words

Health, Wealth & Wisdom


Name 3 mistakes you see young professional women doing in business

  • They give their power away

  • Their focus is generally confined and structured

  • When they finally get to the table they don’t speak up


Anything else you’d like to add?

My Dad landed on the beach in Normandy, France on D-Day June 6, 1944.  All of his friends died there. He told me that it was his duty to live a full life to honor those brave soldiers who would never have the opportunity. From this he offered his words of wisdom “You never have to be more than you are, but you Must be All that you are.” It has left an indelible mark on my soul.    


So I say be Bold, be Fearless and let your Spirit Soar!


Only those that dare to go too far find out just how far they can go.


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