The WFE's Women Leaders 2022 - Julie Winkler, Chief Commercial Officer, CME Group

By: The WFE Team Mar 2022

Member: CME Group

Nominee’s name: Julie Winkler

Nominee’s job title: Chief Commercial Officer

1. - Brief description of nominee’s role/job: 

Julie Winkler serves as chief commercial officer of CME Group. She leads the company's sales, product marketing, research and product development, market data, data analytics and digitisation functions, as well as its innovation lab.

2. - Short bio (career highlights, education, interests/hobbies): 

Julie Winkler attended Valparaiso University intending to become an engineer, but a class field trip to the trading floor sparked an interest in the fast-paced world of trading. After graduating in 1996, she began working for the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) in the Office of Investigations and Audits.

Rising rapidly through the ranks, she went on to serve as vice president of business development; then as managing director for research and product development in 2007 and senior managing director for research, product development and index services for CME Group in 2014, before her promotion to her current role in 2016.

Winkler has served in a product development leadership role through two major mergers – with the Chicago Board of Trade in 2007 and the New York Mercantile Exchange in 2008. She also played a key role in the company’s 2010 $675 million deal to form a joint venture with Dow Jones & Company. She launched an innovation lab at CME Group in early 2014 and has helped pilot a growth framework to incubate new ideas.

Winkler was instrumental in developing CME Group’s innovative bitcoin futures contract, which launched in December 2017. One of the first futures contracts of its kind, it was the result of extensive product research, testing and development spearheaded by Winkler. After strong trading volume in the contract, the company also launched options on bitcoin futures in January 2020, and then Ethereum futures in February 2021. Winkler played a key role in developing the retail partnership and marketing infrastructure around CME Group’s most successful new product in its nearly 200-year history, Micro E-mini Equity Index futures, which launched in May 2019.

Passionate about championing women in leadership, Winkler served as the first adviser and current executive sponsor for CME Group’s Women’s Initiative Network (WIN), a major networking group within CME Group that helps women and men develop as professionals. She also serves on CME Group’s Diversity and Inclusion Executive Committee.

She holds a BA from Valparaiso University and an MBA from Loyola University Chicago. She currently serves on the board of directors of Valparaiso University, the board of directors for S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC, and the board of directors for Women in Derivatives (WIND).

3. - What were your professional highlights and challenges of 2021? 

In 2021, Julie was instrumental in driving key initiatives at CME Group and across the industry, including:

Record Annual Volume – In 2021, CME Group saw a record average daily volume of 19.6 million contracts traded across its exchanges, up 3% from 2020. The growth was driven by innovative products primarily in interest rate and equity index futures and options that were designed, sold and marketed by Julie’s team around the globe.

Introduction of New Cross-Asset Products – Julie oversaw the commercial launch of highly successful products for ESG (nature-based Global Emissions Offset [GEO] futures); Interest rates (Micro Treasury Yield futures, SOFR futures and term SOFR rate, Bloomberg short-term bank yield index futures); Cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin and Ether futures); Metals (lithium futures); Foreign exchange (BrokerTec RV Curve).

Growth of Market Data Business – Throughout the year, Julie’s team worked diligently to generate record revenue for CME Group’s market data business. This growth was driven by a variety of new policy, pricing and product introductions, including the ARRC-endorsed CME Term SOFR Rate, which now has more than 540 firms under license, and is successfully assisting the industry to transition off of LIBOR.

WFE/UN Report on Sustainable Development – Julie served as co-chair for a 71-member global industry advisory group that oversaw the development of the joint WFE/United Nations report on how derivatives exchanges can take action to ensure sustainable development. She is also a sought-after speaker on ESG product development at industry events and broader ESG conferences around the world.

CME Group Annual ESG Report – As a member of the firm’s ESG Working Group, Julie contributed to the development of our Second Annual ESG Report, which highlights actions to expand our slate of ESG products, support our employees through the pandemic/extended work from home period, focus on social justice issues, and complete our first-ever carbon assessment.

Sustainable Clearing Service – Julie’s team led the conceptualisation and launch of the derivatives industry's first service to help market participants track and report on how their hedging activities are advancing their sustainability goals.

4. - What and who inspires/has inspired you to achieve your professional success: 

My family is my biggest source of inspiration. My parents are great role models who taught me the importance of working hard, treating people right and giving back. My husband and our friends also inspire me. While many of them have exceptionally busy careers, we share common values about raising our kids and building better communities. I think it’s more important now than ever to build that circle of good adult influence for our kids.

At work, I get a lot of joy from seeing the people I’ve worked with and mentored along the way grow and exert their talents, both within and outside the organisation. We’re all passionate about what we do. To dedicate the amount of time to this place that we do, there has to be something special to come to here.

Whether at home or at work, I enjoy spending time with people who challenge me – to this point, I strongly value those who bring ideas and potential solutions to demanding situations. I think it’s very important to strive for successful outcomes, rather than focusing on the everyday challenges that we all face.

After two years of living and working through Covid, as a leader, I’ve become far more aware of how critical it is to bring positive energy to work. Across the world, we are all challenged by a lingering sense of isolation, so how we source positive energy and deploy it at work becomes very important; both elements will define how leaders can continue to motivate their teams, drive business growth and mitigate burnout.

5. - What advice do you have for other women who aspire to be in leadership positions:

Innovation is and always has been the lifeblood of the financial industry, and you can’t have true innovation without diversity. CME Group has been ahead of the curve in promoting women to leadership positions, and I think we’ve demonstrated how important it is that women have a seat at the table.

My best advice for anyone is to be open to feedback, even when it’s hard to hear. This will help you reflect and learn from your mistakes. I attribute a lot of my professional success to thoughtful managers who offered constructive input and allowed me to learn from my mistakes.

Listening, empathy and self-awareness are also incredibly valuable no matter what your gender is, and I think that’s something that many women have to offer in this industry.

With that said, in 2022, I am excited to be leading a cohort of Rising Stars as a part of my role with WIND. This program will provide a great network of aspiring female leaders with a training curriculum and robust programming throughout the year to further develop their skills as leaders.


The views, thoughts and opinions contained in this Focus article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the WFE’s policy position on the issue, or the WFE’s views or opinions.