Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman on Taekwondo and the benefits for business and leadership


She may be the first female chief executive of a major U.S. stock exchange operator, but it’s not the only arena that Adena Friedman has managed to champion.

While many recognize Friedman for her work as president and CEO of Nasdaq, outside of the business world, the leading Wall Street figure takes on the world of Taekwondo, a Korean martial art that she’s secured a black belt in.

Having watched her children take on the sport from an early age, the stock exchange CEO decided to get involved and make it a family activity — rather than just sit on the sidelines.

Yet, continuing the sport today not only helps Friedman stay active outside of work, but has the capability of influencing her role, when on the job.

“I do think that if you look at the lessons you learn from Taekwondo in terms of self-reliance — and we always say ‘might for right’, so you use your strength to do the right thing, you also use it for defense more than offense – I think there are a lot of lessons that you can apply to business,” the Nasdaq CEO and president told CNBC last week at Slush 2017, a start-up event in Helsinki.

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