Executive Vice President of Corporate oversight at Charles Schwab

Early in her professional career, men asked Carrie Dwyer B.A. ’73, J.D. ’76, to fetch them coffee. Once, a subordinate even stalked into the men’s room to escape her directives. But it would take a lot more than those slights to knock Dwyer off stride. Today, as general counsel and executive vice president of corporate oversight for the Charles Schwab Corp., Dwyer oversees some 80 lawyers and a broad legal portfolio for one of the nation’s largest financial services firms, with more than $1 trillion in client assets.

Her impressive post is the latest in a head-spinning career that saw her become senior counselor at the Securities and Exchange Commission, and during 15 years on Wall Street rise to become the general counsel and senior vice president of the American Stock Exchange. Not that fortune exactly fell into her lap when she first landed in New York with her husband and law school classmate, Richard Konecky. She encountered a frosty job market, and only after knocking on many doors did she land a desk at the ASE. “There weren’t many women back in those days. It was all men all the time,” she recalls. “I just kept going. I took every job that nobody else wanted to do…It didn’t occur to me that I couldn’t do anything I wanted to do.” The strategy propelled her to the top of the hectic ASE, and from there she accepted a senior policy role in the SEC pressure cooker. It was during her three years as a regulator, especially working on historic reforms in NASDAQ trading, that she caught the attention of San Francisco-based Charles Schwab—a company slapped by the very sanctions she implemented—and found herself heading back to the Bay Area.

These days, Dwyer enjoys working at Schwab while confronting the greatest regulatory and compliance amalgam of her career. She says her analytical thinking was molded as much by her SCU undergraduate experience as her law school days. “The rigor of all those Jesuit professors was really helpful,” she says. “It does give you a different perspective and training.”