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One of Wall Street’s highest-paid CEOs is hosting a virtual lunch with followers of finmeme account Litquidity. Jefferies’ Rich Handler explained how he’s ‘trying to help in a small way while the world is so upside down.’

One of Wall Street’s highest-paid CEOs is hosting a virtual lunch with followers of finmeme account Litquidity. Jefferies’ Rich Handler explained how he’s ‘trying to help in a small way while the world is so upside down.’

An investment bank CEO, the secretive mastermind behind an irreverent Wall Street meme account, and 25 Instagram followers log onto a Zoom call.

If that sounds like the beginning of a bizarre finance industry joke, it’s not. On Thursday, 25 followers of the @litquidity page on Instagram — a private account with 352,000 followers that specializes in acerbic memes that document the life of young people working on Wall Street — will have the exclusive chance to share a virtual lunch with Rich Handler, CEO of Jefferies Financial Group.

Handler told Business Insider in an email that his goal for the event “is to help as broad a group as possible of our younger generation of future leaders … to share some optimism together, see that they are not in it alone and perhaps draw some strength through the experiences of their peers.”

“I guess I’m just trying to help in a small way while the world is so upside down,” he added.

In 2019, Crain’s named Handler the highest-paid CEO of a New York-based company, after racking up a package of pay and future stock awards totaling nearly $45 million in 2018, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Originally, the idea to host the virtual lunch was conceived by Handler’s 23-year-old daughter, Skylar Handler, who told Business Insider in a phone interview that she hatched the concept with her dad to unite “positive thinkers or like-minded people who are trying to change the world for good, or focus on positivity.”

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The process to select the winners took place on Wednesday. Here’s how it worked: Throughout the day, followers of the @litquidity account submitted responses to the question: “What are positive insights, lessons, and/or experiences you have gained during the COVID-19 shutdown?”

Skylar and the anonymous owner of the @litquidity account — a male, self-professed finance-industry worker in New York in his “later-20’s” who has maintained secrecy since the account launched in 2017 — vetted the responses, but the final decision on whom to invite was up to the Jefferies CEO.

“There were close to 600 younger professionals in the finance industry who took the time to express some heartfelt thoughts,” he said.

Of them, 25 winners received an invitation to join him for Thursday’s virtual lunch, which will take place on Zoom starting at noon.

The topic on the menu: Resilience during challenging times.

How Jefferies’ CEO built his social media fandom

Rich Handler boasts nearly 24,000 Instagram followers, due in large part to Skylar’s helping hand.

Skylar, who holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Tulane and is currently writing a scripted sitcom miniseries, told Business Insider that she “definitely gave him some training wheels,” in helping her father raise his social media game, but he’s since come into his own.

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The idea to help grow her dad’s social media audience grew out of watching him Zoom with Jefferies employees as global economic markets tanked amid the coronavirus outbreak in March.

“He just made Zoom such a priority of his to keep in contact” with staffers and encourage positivity, Skylar said, something she wanted to see him share more broadly.

But there is one catch to the setup: The curator of @litquidity has never actually met Handler in person — and Handler’s daughter, who made the social-media collaboration between her dad and the Instagram account possible, doesn’t know @litquidity’s identity in real life, either.

“This person maintains their anonymity,” Skylar said of the secretive meme-maker, adding that, “while I’m organizing this, I have no idea who’s behind the mask.”

Will the curator of @litquidity reveal his identity to the lucky 25 winners of this contest on Thursday, though?

“When we do accept the 25 people and we’re on Zoom,” Skylar said, “he’s like, ‘Yeah, I’ll be on there’ — with his screen covered.”

Harnessing social media to ‘do something positive’

The goal of this virtual lunch is to foster dialogue among the contest winners, @litquidity’s curator said, adding that he hopes this won’t be the last event that his account hosts with Handler.

Indeed, the CEO joined @litquidity for their first successful Zoom lunch on May 29, which focused on diversity at Wall Street banks. Thursday’s lunch will mark the second time they’ve partnered — and the @litquidity curator says he hopes his account can turn this into a series of ongoing conversations.

“It’s trying to unite the community that I built around humor,” the curator said during a phone interview, “to try to do something positive with it.”

Skylar Handler agreed. “My biggest takeaway in all this, my goal, is to discuss the important topics that I hear my dad talk about,” she said. “That’s what exciting to me, and important during a time when everyone is so isolated.”

Are you a young person working on Wall Street? Contact this reporter via email at [email protected], encrypted messaging app Signal (561-247-5758), or direct message on Twitter @reedalexander.

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