We would like to introduce a new series on our blog, "$cholar Talk". This monthly segment will feature posts written by D.R.E.A.M. Scholars! It provides an opportunity for our students to share their experiences in our "Invest-in-Success" program with you, discuss financial topics relevant to teenagers, and provides you a chance to connect with them.
Without further adieu, please welcome our scholar-blogger for the month, Albin Ortiz, sophomore at All Hallows High School, Bronx, NY.
It is not often that a teenager from the South Bronx has the opportunity to experience what I did on February 28th, 2012. As I walked through the doors of the 7 World Trade Center for the first time in my life, to say I was awestruck would be an understatement. The immense lobby was almost enough to make me question if I was ready for what was ahead of me. However, as I was escorted upstairs, I was met by a group of students from a different school. Needless to say, I felt like a fish out of water.
The event was titled “Wall Street in the Black: Insight on Success from Wall Street Trailblazers”. In honor of Black History Month, Moody’s Corporation paid tribute to the astronomical success of some major men and women of color, who were pioneers in finance. The first part of the event was a panelist discussion in which panelists: Gordon Brown, Assistant Director of Market Regulation at FINRA, Nadja Fidelia, Founding Member at Eland Capital, Angel Stewart Director of Talent Management for the Robert A. Toigo Foundation, and Joseph L Searles III, the First African American member of the New York Stock Exchange, all gave their personal experiences and their roads to prominence. I gained insight on how to become succesful not only in finance, but in any career field that I pursue. One important point that all the panelists mentioned, was the importance of having mentors and sponsors in your career. This struck a chord with me, because Jaleni Thompson and Femi Faoye have constantly tried to impress upon us scholars the importance of valuing the relationship with our mentors of the "Invest-in-Success" program.
(From left to right) Co-Founder Femi Faoye, "Invest-in-Success" scholar Albin Ortiz, and Co-Founder Jaleni Thompson
When the panel portion of the program concluded, I was able to partake in my first networking event in which I got to interact with a room full of finance professionals and converse with them on a one-on-one basis. I met members of Moody’s Corporation as well as two of the four panelists of the event. They gave me personal insight and advice for getting ahead and I made sure to ask for their contact information, so I could continue to keep in touch with them after the event.
This tremendous opportunity, that I am very grateful for, was made possible through my involvement with the D.R.E.A.M. “Invest-in-Success” financial literacy program. It was my first time having the opportunity to interact with so many professionals and learn, firsthand, from trailblazers of the financial world. I have benefited greatly from this experience and look forward to other milestones as a D.R.E.A.M. scholar.
- Albin Ortiz, All Hallows High School
*A complete account of Albin's experience will also be featured in our Spring 2012 newsletter
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