New Coalition Brings Together Interns from Chicago-area Financial Services Firms
CHICAGO - More than 100 summer interns will participate in a conference July 14 at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to learn about career paths to jobs in the financial services industry.
The interns are employed by Chicago-based companies that are part of the newly created Financial Services Pipeline (FSP) Initiative, a coalition of firms working to increase racial diversity in Chicago’s financial services sector. The group also hopes to enhance financial services executives’ appreciation for the value of cultural differences in the sector.
FSP Initiative members are Ariel Investments, BMO Harris Bank, Bank of America, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Holland Capital Management, Loop Capital, Mesirow Financial, Northern Trust, The Chicago Community Trust, Urban Partnership Bank, and Wintrust Financial.
"Research shows that the low levels of minority representation in the financial services sector in the Chicago area have not changed much in the last 15 years,” said Valerie Van Meter, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. “The FSP firms recognize that in order to ensure significant progress in making our industry more representative of the region we serve we have to work collectively.”
The conference will feature panel discussions, networking opportunities and a workshop on social media and personal branding. The panel discussions are titled Retail and Commercial Banking; Investment Banking and Asset Management; Community Impact, A Business Imperative; and Support Functions in Finance. Also scheduled is a keynote luncheon address by Jim Reynolds, chairman and CEO of Loop Capital.
Van Meter co-chairs the FSP Initiative’s steering committee with Peggy Mueller, senior program officer of The Chicago Community Trust. The initiative faces challenges on two fronts, said Van Meter.
“First, on the supply side, we want to increase the number of diverse, career-ready job candidates interested in the financial services industry,” she explained. “Second, on the demand side, we want to ensure the hiring and continued progression of diverse talent within the industry.”
Co-chairs of the FSP Leadership Council are Monica Walker, CEO and CIO of Equity at Chicago-based Holland Capital Management; Terry Mazany, president and CEO of The Chicago Community Trust; and Northern Trust Chairman and CEO Rick Waddell.
“As the CEO of a minority and women-owned investment management firm, I am well aware of the lack of diverse racial representation in the asset management field,” said Walker. “Given my personal commitment to diversity and inclusion and to the development of minority youth, my hope is that this unique collaborative initiative will serve as a catalyst to inspire careers and a lifelong interest in financial services among African-American and Latino youth.”
The FSP Initiative is also working with consulting firm Mercer to conduct research to better understand the pipeline challenge and identify effective actions that can be taken to meet the goal of a more diverse workforce. Initial results of the research are expected to be unveiled toward the end of this year.
The afternoon sessions of the conference are open to the media from 11:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on attending the afternoon sessions or to arrange an interview on this topic with representatives of the Financial Services Pipeline Initiative, contact Laura LaBarbera at 312-322-2387 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.