In the late 1990s, Bill Contente and Elizabeth Myers sat a couple of cubicles from each other in the Manhattan offices of J.P. Morgan & Co., where last summer they were named co-heads of equity capital markets for the Americas. The investment bank wasn’t the biggest ECM player in those days, but for the two friends that spelled opportunity. Both stayed with J.P. Morgan, which was scraping together market share. Myers, 40, who’d taken a break to get an MBA from Harvard University, worked as an analyst and then an associate at the firm, eventually settling into finance. “There were some sectors that people perceived as hot,” the Detroit native says, and finance wasn’t one of them. By her mid-30s, Myers led the  financial institutions team.

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