Lynn Tilton used to get the 'What colour is your underwear?' question all the time working on Wall Street

Lynn tiltonREUTERS/Mike SegarLynn Tilton.

Few women on Wall Street will speak as openly about making it in a man’s world as private equity mogul Lynn Tilton.

In a Businessweek profile with Bloomberg’s Sheelah Kolhatkar, Tilton detailed what it was like back in the day, working as a young woman at Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and, later, Amroc Investments.

“I would get asked all the time, ‘What are you wearing today? What colour is your underwear?'” she told Bloomberg.

At the time, she said, she worked in sales and spoke with most of her clients by phone. She said that stuff didn’t offend her, though, and referred to those clients as “very close” friends.

That was in her latter days.

When she was starting out as a junior banker, Tilton said, “There was no sexual harassment training — it was a male industry… You either stay or you go.”

She, of course, stayed. And she even developed a reputation for her own behaviour towards men.

One former executive who worked at a company Tilton owned said in a complaint that she created a work environment “filled with sexual innuendos” and wore overly short and distracting skirts, according to Bloomberg.

She was also reportedly known for kissing clients and sticking her tongue in colleagues’ ears.

“I was attractive, and that drew men to me, and as long as it didn’t get in the way of me being able to be successful using my intellect and my talent, then I didn’t let it bother me,” Tilton told Bloomberg.

That stuff, she said, was “all part of the game.”

Read the full Businessweek profile »

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