Greenwood Collegians Build Financial Skills During Internship With William Blair

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Greenwood Project team members and interns 
Greenwood Project team members and interns (from left) Emma Nwokenkwo, Lasly Torres, Bevon Joseph (Greenwood founder), Alejandro Mora, Fidel Chilchoa, and Emily Holthaus (Greenwood staff). Not present: Yosra Abdulwahid, Connor Castro, Khristian Davis, Erica Diaz, Patrice Roberts, Shelby Smith.

Ten collegians with the Greenwood Project financial mentoring program completed their summer internships with William Blair in August, a summer filled with experiences to expand their knowledge of the financial services industry.

Greenwood Project is a Chicago nonprofit with a mission to introduce Black and Latinx high school and college students from underserved communities to careers in the financial services industry. Founded in 2016, Bevon and Elois Joseph, a husband-and-wife team who have worked for financial services firms, recognized the need for skill building and networking for young students to address the lack of employee diversity in the financial sector.

William Blair’s interns were 10 of 70 college students who participated in Greenwood’s summer internship program, gaining exposure to financial firms across the U.S. and in London—from PayPal to Peak6. Accounting, finance, economics, and business are among their majors.

Life Changing Experience

They said the Greenwood experience has been life changing. At William Blair, interns had an opportunity to network with financial services professionals, learning about the corporate bond market, 10-K financial reports, data analysis, and office workings as well as connecting with other youth exploring finance-related career options.

“It has meant so much to meet other students who have similar aspirations as I do,” says Patrice Roberts, a junior at Loyola University New Orleans who interned with William Blair’s wealth management group. “As I learn and grow, my hope is to help other young professionals of color succeed in the financial services Industry.”

Greenwood: Global Community Partner

Greenwood was selected by William Blair as a global Community Partner in 2019, one of 11 of the firm’s current Community Partners that received a multiyear grant to expand its programs. The Community Partners program expands and supports—both financially and in employees’ volunteer time—organizations that work to strengthen their communities.

“The Community Partners program was created to unlock catalytic capital, looking at philanthropy beyond just a grant and more as an investment,” says Laura Coy, William Blair’s head of philanthropy strategy. “We believe all capital has impact whether its financial, human, or social. Greenwood Project was primed to be a tremendous Community Partner. It was ready to scale and offered a unique opportunity for William Blair to engage with students and diversify our talent pipeline.”

The organization was named after the prosperous Black Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, Oklahoma, known as “Black Wall Street,” which was destroyed during the Tulsa Race Massacre over two days in the summer of 1921. This summer, 100 years later, Greenwood Project launched a centennial scholars fund to mark the anniversary.

Network for Underrepresented Individuals

Connor Castro, who earned a Greenwood scholar designation in 2021, says the program serves as a steadfast network for underrepresented individuals in an industry that has historically been built upon familial/generational networks.

“Without them, it certainly would’ve been much harder to make a space for myself in this industry regardless of what I can bring to the table,” says Castro, a junior at Washington University in St. Louis who interned with William Blair’s Investment Management team.

“I can confidently say that this internship provided valuable information that I will carry with me for the rest of my career.”

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