The pivotal opportunity of Barbara Byrne's career was one she almost didn't take.

In 1998 when Byrne was a managing director at Lehman Brothers specializing in energy investment banking, she was asked to relinquish most of those accounts and focus on building a practice in large-cap technology companies.

"At the time, I did not want to do that," Byrne says.

"It was going to require an immense investment to cover a new area and let go of the security of the accounts I had developed."

Another consideration was that Byrne had four children at home then, ranging in age from 4 to 11.

Initially she declined the offer.

But after being asked a second time, Byrne accepted-"although it was very scary" -and the decision propelled her to where she is now.

"That actually expanded my universe into investment banking," she says.

The lesson that frightening change can yield to good fortune served her well 10 years later when Lehman Brothers went broke, ending Byrne's 28-year career there.

"If you were at Lehman Brothers, you were in the front car of the roller coaster that went off the rails," she says.

Through it all, Byrne remained characteristically optimistic. "I fundamentally believed things would get better."

They did. Today she is happily ensconced as vice chairman of investment banking at Barclays Capital. "I could not have imagined I'd have this fabulous platform two years later," Byrne says. "If you believe, you can get there."

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