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Last Updated: 07/09/15

News Release: Students to Learn About Career Paths to Financial Services Industry

Interns, College Students to Learn About Career Paths to Financial Services Industry

CHICAGO – More than 200 summer interns and college students will participate in a conference July 13 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 Financial Services Pipeline (FSP) Initiative, a coalition of firms working to increase racial diversity in Chicago’s financial services sector. In addition, the group hopes to enhance appreciation for the value of cultural differences in the sector.
Also attending the conference will be interns and college students sponsored by non-profit organizations that provide access to college and jobs to young adults who lack economic opportunities.

FSP Initiative members sponsoring the conference are Ariel Investments, Bank of America, BMO Financial Group, CME Group, Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Grosvenor, Holland Capital Management, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Loop Capital, Madison Dearborn Partners, Mesirow Financial, Northern Trust, Urban Partnership Bank, U.S. Bank and Wintrust Financial Corporation.

Non-profit organizations participating in the conference include Chicago Scholars, INROADS, Link Unlimited Scholars, One Million Degrees and Year Up.

"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 and networking opportunities. The panel discussions are titled, “Dealing with Individual Clients,” “Dealing with Institutions,” “Dealing with the Big Picture,” and “Helping the Firm Operate.” Also scheduled is a keynote address by William Farrow, president and CEO of Urban Partnership Bank, as well as a keynote luncheon speech titled, “The Art of Networking,” led by Connie Lindsey, executive vice president and head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Global Diversity & Inclusion at Northern Trust.

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 continues to work 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. More results of the research are expected to be unveiled in October.

The afternoon sessions of the conference are open to the media from noon to 5 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 via email

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Background

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the nation’s central bank. The Chicago Reserve Bank serves the Seventh Federal Reserve District, which encompasses the northern portions of Illinois and Indiana, southern Wisconsin, the Lower Peninsula of Michigan and the state of Iowa. In addition to participation in the formulation of monetary policy, each Reserve Bank supervises member banks and bank holding companies, provides financial services to depository institutions and the U.S. government and monitors economic conditions in its District. 

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