Last month, Northstar marked its 25th anniversary with an announcement that we had launched a scholarship fund for finance students at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Over the next year five years, we’ll provide $25,000 to students who are traditionally underrepresented in the finance industry, in hopes of increasing diversity in the field.
Before the pandemic hit, I was fortunate enough to serve as a guest lecturer for Metro Professor Adam Schor’s Advanced Investment Management class. I talked about how I got involved in the business, why I co-founded Northstar in 1995 and our latest investment strategies for battling market volatility. While I love what I do, I don’t often encounter audiences that share my passion for finance, but these students were incredibly engaged. I was surprised by how mature and interested they were.
After the class, several of the students asked me for my business card and a few followed up later with requests to meet and have coffee. Unfortunately, the coronavirus prevented any of those meetings from taking place, but It got me thinking about how we could help those eager students succeed.
A few months later, my partners and I were discussing how to celebrate our anniversary and agreed that given the challenging economic conditions and the impact of COVID-19, making a community contribution made more sense than throwing a party. The scholarship felt like the best way to have a lasting impact and provide new pathways into the profession. We are hoping to also offer an internship to students who are awarded the scholarship starting in the spring or summer of 2021 to supplement their learning with real-world experience and mentorship.
We chose to partner with MSU because of how affordable the institution is and the simple fact that many of the students there are the first members of their families to attend college. The leadership of the university is top notch and the board members are committed to ensuring the university serves its students well. I feel confident that we are making a wise investment.
Ultimately, our goal is that recipients of the Northstar scholarship build long-term careers in finance. We need to not only recruit a more diverse workforce, but to also cultivate leaders of different backgrounds and cultures. According to Forbes, although the number of women in leadership roles in finance has doubled over the last two decades, that percentage remains in the low 20 % range. That has to change. The business is changing rapidly, and the demographics represent a whole new group of investors who will want advisors who reflect their own diversity.
My father, who spent 44 years in the finance industry and helped co-found Northstar, not only inspired me to become an investment advisor but also to give back. I think he would be very proud of what we have accomplished as a firm and our desire to expand our legacy through the Northstar scholarship. I know I am.