When I was working at Montgomery Securities, I had the opportunity to work on a follow-on public equity offering for Cooker, a once-publicly traded restaurant chain that unfortunately has since gone bankrupt and closed.
As “low women-on-the-totem-pole” on the three-person deal team, one of my jobs was to make sure that the registration statement (which is what the investors read and gets filed with the SEC- think of it as a capital raising document for a public company) was correct. Since the company was already public, it routinely filed statements with the SEC, so those parts of the document were audited and should have automatically been correct. But because I am diligent (i.e., extremely anal) and wanted to make sure that everything was in order (since that was my job), I recalculated every number in the registration statement by hand.
When I got to the balance sheet, there was a problem- it didn’t add up. Impossible- this was a publicly filed statement?! I had my colleague double check the math, and lo-and-behold, I had caught a major math error (which kinda pissed off the CFO because it made him look bad, but hey, it saved a LOT of potential problems).
After the deal was done, we had a closing dinner with the entire team where the company, the lawyers and the investment bankers got together to celebrate the deal. At these dinners, sometimes awards are given out. My colleagues handed me an award. Guess what it was?
Whatever you guessed, you are wrong. It was the “We Got Leggs Award”, for the team member “most likely to distract institutions, management and other bankers through my alluring hemlines”. Here it is in all its glory (maiden name included):
So, I found a mistake in a SEC filed balance sheet that had been audited and signed off on by company management and my freakin’ award was for wearing short skirts. Awesome (not really). And yes, the fact this that trophy is represented by a horse’s ass was not lost on me either. (They claim it was the only trophy they could find “with legs”).
Incredibly, the other bankers who were our co-managers on the offering actually stood up and reprimanded my colleagues for giving me that award and said that they were so amazed by what I did (the math part, not the skirt part) that they actually used it as a case study in their analyst training program on “what to do”. They also told me privately that they could not believe that my team didn’t recognize that.
Now, I have a fairly good sense of humor, so I didn’t care that much, but it would have been nice to have been recognized for my work rather than my legs.
If you have employees, make sure you are looking at (and rewarding) their work, not their legs.