If you ever meet Anna Lempert, Director, TD Ameritrade Trader Technology, you won’t forget her. As a Chernogolovka native, she sports a Russian fur hat around the office, has full-blown conversations with her computer, and codes up a storm, surrounded by piles of papers and files. Anna offers up Ukrainian salted smoked fat or “salo” as a treat at Friday morning meetings, and has a habit of calling her colleagues “humans.” Best of all, she drives the coding magic behind all the tech tools you use to trade.
So, Anna, what does the “Trader Technology” department do?
We develop the software that drives the site and displays the pages. I bridge technology and the business units. My goal is to make sure that everyone speaks the same language. We make sure the products we design are what the business units want. I drive spikes in the ground to help create the framework for certain things and then I move on. I’m constantly traveling in different directions.
Name a project you’ve worked on that traders would know.
We do everything—the products for trading, thinkorswim® the downloadable platform. We recently worked on the thinkorswim Challenge. It’s a program for university students, in which 245 teams competed for four weeks of hard-core trading.
You call people “humans”?
It’s a very descriptive term. In the behavior of a system, you define logical behavior to predict if it’s going to be the human doing the work, or the computer will do the work. It’s the difference between an active user doing logic, and a machine doing that. In Russian, the proper word to address people is humans; it is the same word as people. Now everyone makes fun of me.
What's next for TD Ameritrade Trader Technology?
To rule the world, which in a way we already do. To create a safe place to interact with other serious people who are living and breathing their passion for trading. I want to create a dating site for our customers. Traders would love that. Hey, somebody trades the same strategy, would you like to meet them?
I’ve heard that your nickname is “Brains.” Where did that come from?
I started using that a while back. Everyone can use whatever signature we want on our e-mail. I used Brains. Nobody disagreed and that was the good part. Then, I left the company for a while and came back, so now I’m Brains 2.0.
Sooo...what’s with the hat?
I was born and raised in Russia. Last year’s polar vortex made me feel at home. The hat is called an orshanka, which basically means long ears. What can I say? I need to keep my brain warm.