The Financial Women's Association brings together high achieving professionals from every sector of the financial world. They are dedicated to developing future leaders, enhancing the role of women in finance, and investing in the community.
The FWA was established in 1956 when 8 enterprising women on Wall Street met to share professional experiences and further their knowledge. The non-profit organization proudly numbers more than 850 members worldwide. The FWA continues to live up to its mission, by:
FWA members serve the community through a non-profit arm, the FWA of New York Educational Fund, which has widely acclaimed scholarship, mentoring, and financial literacy programs as well as professional development and educational programming for the business community. Founded as an unincorporated association in 1976, The FWA of New York Educational Fund was granted tax-exempt status as a 501(c)3 charitable organization and incorporated in 1982.
The funds from Equity Through Education have primarily been directed towards scholarships to students pursuing their undergraduate education and to enhancing their educational and professional development. The programs are outlined below.
The FWA - BMO Capital Markets Scholarship Fund was endowed for undergraduate women with financial need and academic promise at Baruch College. This scholarship program was designed to enhance the FWA's mentoring program, which it began in 2002, at Baruch's highly regarded Zicklin School of Business. In 2006, the FWA first offered these full undergraduate scholarships at Baruch College, which is consistently ranked the nation's most diverse college by U.S. News and World Report. Each year, approximately six young women will receive scholarships from this fund.
Adding this new financial component to other forms of support has been particularly critical for the diverse population of Baruch women, many of whom are recent immigrants or whose parents are first generation Americans. Baruch graduates the largest number of African-American and the fifth largest number of Hispanic-American students in New York City from its undergraduate programs.
Scholarship awards are made by Baruch College to students who are completing the business core curriculum with the intention of concentrating on financially-oriented disciplines. These students, through either coursework and/or participation in extracurricular or other activities, demonstrate an interest in advancing women's roles in the financial services industry.
To date, 217 scholars have been funded by Equity Through Education.
FWA – BMO Capital Markets Scholars
Major: Accounting, Minor: Political Science
Richmond Hill, NY
Aruna is a rising senior at Baruch College. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and a minor in Political Science with an expected graduation in June 2014. She is a member of the Beta Alpha Psi business fraternity which is geared toward helping outstanding Accounting, Finance and Computer Information System majors achieve their career goals. She is also a mentee in the Financial Women's Association Mentoring Program which helps young women become outstanding and successful individuals in the business and corporate arena. Her mentor, Stephanie Hauge, is the former president of FWA and an inspiring role model.
In June 2012, Aruna accepted an offer from Instinet, LLC as an Internal Audit intern. Instinet, LLC is an agency-only brokerage firm offering its clients the ability to lower trading costs and improve investment performance. She is still with the firm and continues to learn the dynamics of internal audit.
As an accounting major, Aruna is looking forward to a career in public accounting as an auditor. She hopes to work for the Big Four upon graduation while diligently working toward her Masters degree in Accounting. She ultimately wants to become a licensed CPA and a successful business leader.
Major: Finance, Minor: Psychology
Dinora is a senior expected to graduate in May of 2014 with a BBA in Finance with a minor in Psychology. Dinora is currently working as an assistant to the Director at Connect The Dots OT, PLLC, which is a pediatric occupational therapy clinic. Recently, she traveled to Barbados to volunteer abroad in a summer project with Financiers Without Borders, an organization which links college students with start-up companies abroad for hands-on experience in financial consulting. Dinora also interned at the finance department of Berdon, LLP, a CPA and consulting firm. Her career goal is to become a successful consultant for individuals and families struggling with financial problems.
In addition to being a part of the FWA mentoring program at Baruch, Dinora is also on the board of the 2013-2014 Undergraduate Student Government. She was on the executive board of Golden Key International Honor Society her junior year. She is a member of both Golden Key and Phi Eta Sigma Honor Societies. Dinora loves being active in school, as it is a great way to socialize, make connections and create a memorable college experience. Thanks to FWA, Dinora has had the opportunity to participate in wonderful events, such as the HSBC-FWA Financial Backpack Workshops and this year's Simmons Leadership Conference. Both were educational, inspirational and rewarding. She looks forward to her senior year and every chance to grow personally and professionally as she gets ready to step out into the real world!
The Equity Through Education program is funding the FWA's annually renewable undergraduate scholarships to students who graduate from the FWA mentoring program at Murry Bergtraum High School (MBHS) in lower Manhattan. The BMO contribution is not only sustaining the scholarship program but it enabled the FWA to increase the awards for upperclassmen from $1,000 to $2,000 each. The FWA has partnered with Murry Bergtraum High School in lower Manhattan for 25 years, which is one of the longest partnerships in the New York City public school system. FWA members mentor approximately 30 high school students until graduation and the mentees benefit from the mentors' knowledge and experience as well as the opportunity to explore the business community. The mentoring program helps with the college selection process and provides SAT prep courses in partnership with Princeton Review.
To date, 96 young women have received scholarships through the program.
In 2013, the FWA used Equity Through Education funding to launch a Graduate Scholarship program, funding MBA students at various schools in New York from NYU to Columbia. In the first year of the program, 5 students received funding.
Leadership and Professional Development Conferences
Developing leadership skills is important for young women looking to move on to a career after university. As such, the FWA uses Equity Through Education funding to send young women to the Simmons Conference and the National Conference for College Women Student Leaders. The program was launched in 2012 and 21 women have been sent to conferences to develop their leadership skills.
"Being in the mix of over 3000 women leaders from different firms, industries, and walks of life, was an amazing feeling. I felt the power women could hold. Every speaker, panelist, and fellow attendee I listened to or spoke with had something unique to share." – Rita Dai, sponsored Simmons Conference attendee
Study Abroad Program
Studying internationally can provide invaluable opportunities and experience for young women. Unfortunately, the cost of travelling and studying abroad is often a barrier. The FWA uses a portion of Equity Through Education funding to send young women for a term abroad. The program was launched in 2012, and since then 5 students have studied abroad in China and Italy.
"I've had an amazing trip and I really enjoyed this program. I like how much it focused on the business side of Shanghai and also its history. People can always come to Shanghai but I believe a study abroad experience and making the friends you do on these trips are truly invaluable." – Fang Fang Nan, sponsored Study Abroad scholar
Tools for Clear Speech program
In 2013, the FWA Educational Fund launched a new program at Baruch College with Equity Through Education funding. The Student Academic Counseling Center (SACC) at Baruch will provide FWA mentees and other students with a series of workshops designed to help them improve their communication skills. To date 12 FWA mentees have participated in the program. Based on feedback from the students and their counselors, the program had a significant impact on their facility with spoken language. Oral skills have been identified by employers and FWA as a critical skill in obtaining employment post-graduation and in succeeding throughout their careers.
"I really appreciate the help the Tools for Clear Speech has provided! These services made me a better student and professional by pointing out my problems, correcting my pronunciation and teaching me many new culture values in America." – Participant, Tool for Clear Speech