Syracuse University Magazine

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Ann Neidenbach ’84

Adventurous Innovator

Ann Giacobbe Neidenbach is fearless by nature. Whether ski racing down the side of a mountain in her youth, or tackling technology and business challenges as head of NASDAQ OMX Market Systems, she always goes full bore. “From competitive ski racing I learned you must look ahead, anticipate, and be able to react quickly when things don’t turn out as you expected,” says Neidenbach, who was born and raised in Barneveld, a small town on the edge of the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York. “When I think back on what has been the biggest influence on my career success, ski racing is at the top of the list.”

Like most first-year college students, Neidenbach didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life. She explored majoring in English or biology, but eventually got hooked on management information systems in the School of Business Administration (Whitman School). “I loved my systems analysis class, and that’s when I got really excited about a career in technology and designing systems,” says Neidenbach, who took full advantage of everything Syracuse University had to offer, including joining a sorority, serving as a residence advisor, cheering on the Orange sports teams, and studying abroad in London. “To this day, 30 years later, I remember that class vividly.” 

Not long after graduation, Neidenbach found a job as a programmer at Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. Back then, hospitals were managed by big accounting firms, so Neidenbach received two years’ worth of technology training from Arthur Andersen, one of the country’s “Big Five” accounting firms at the time. “That was just dumb luck,” she says. “I was an employee of Children’s Hospital, but I really worked for a partner at Arthur Andersen, so I went through some of their training courses. And then a head hunter recruited me for a technology position at a company called the National Association of Securities Dealers, which is the regulator of the Nasdaq stock market, and I have been there for most of my career.”

At the same time Neidenbach’s career was growing, her family was growing as well. She got married and had two children while assuming ever greater responsibility at NASDAQ, including assignments in London and Stockholm. Now based in New York City, she leads NASDAQ OMX Market Systems and is senior vice president of NASDAQ OMX Group, where she is responsible for managing the strategic planning and development of global technology products and services for the company’s markets and commercial offerings, as well as for the delivery team serving market technology customers across the globe.  “I never could have imagined I’d be doing this when I was in college, but I’m adventurous and not afraid to take risks or make tough decisions,” says Neidenbach, who was profiled in the October 2013 special Elite 8 edition of Wall Street & Technology as one of the top innovative technology leaders from the capital markets. “Looking back, it’s been an incredible career.” 

Neidenbach would like to encourage more young women to enter the information technology field because it is flexible from a work-life balance perspective, and is a great pathway into the world of financial market exchanges. “Women are quite adept at working collaboratively, which is a necessary skill in today’s workplace,” she says. “But in order to move up into leadership positions, women must learn to be courageous and embrace opportunities when they arise. No one—including me—ever succeeded by playing it safe.” —Christine Yackel

 


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Ann Neidenbach ’84 is joined by Jim Boeheim ’66, G’73 and Otto the Orange at the NASDAQ closing bell on July 1, 2013.