On July 12, 2018, over 120 interns and students joined business leaders from nineteen Chicago-area Financial Services firms and several non-profit organizations at the Fifth-Annual Financial Services Pipeline Initiative’s (FSP) Summer Intern Career Conference, hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The Career Conference is part of the collaborative effort to increase the representation of African-Americans and Latinos, at all levels, within the Chicago-area Financial Services Industry and increase cultural competency within the sector.
The Annual FSP Summer Intern Career Conference provides a space for industry leaders to educate and inspire the next generation by opening up at a more personal level, as well as an opportunity for young talent to share their ideas and expectations with seasoned professionals. The conference this year focused on empowering interns to be their authentic self by identifying their unique traits and skills in order to be successful in the Financial Services Industry.
Leonard McLaughlin, Vice President of Internal Communications and Diversity & Inclusion at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, provided opening remarks at the conference and welcomed interns from different firms in the industry to the event. Melissa Donaldson, Chief Diversity Officer of Wintrust, who served as Master of Ceremonies for the day followed Leonard by going through the agenda setting the tone for the day.
The keynote speaker at the conference was Rodrigo Garcia, Deputy Treasurer & Chief Investment Officer at the Illinois State Treasurer. Rodrigo inspired interns as he gave seven tips on how to be successful in your career. During his keynote speech, Rodrigo shared difficulties he underwent as a Hispanic male in Chicago and how he overcame them by working hard and networking with the right people, but still being his authentic self.
The conference also included two panel discussions, “What’s you Hashtag?” and “UNcomfort Zone!”, where panelists gave interns and students ideas about how to reach their career goals and become effective leaders by leveraging their own core competencies and challenging themselves in uncomfortable situations.
During the conference interns and students had the opportunity to participate in a “Speed Networking” session with Financial Service Professionals from all level to network and discuss the best ways to achieve career goals. There was also a peer networking session where interns were encouraged to ask other attendees questions to break the ice and know them better.
The Annual FSP Intern Career Conference had a positive impact on all attendees, who shared their reflections on social media. One participant said, “Spent my day with the FSP Intern Career Conference learning about not only the Financial Services Industry but about who I am as an upcoming young professional, from transferable skills to stepping into my ‘UNcomfort zone’. My personal hashtag is #NewPerspective and I will continue to carry that with me throughout college and as I gain experience in the workforce.”
The Financial Services Pipeline Initiative (FSP) is part of a collaborative effort to increase the representation of African-Americans and Latinos, at all levels within the Chicago-area Financial Services Industry and increase cultural competency within the sector. Following the event, interns from across the industry are encouraged to create a candidate profile on FSPChicago.org to learn more about career opportunities.