Despite the fact that the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services recently found that adding women to the workplace brings different skills and perspectives to issues such as collaboration and risk management, all of which contribute positively to corporate growth and income, women are still underrepresented in the financial sector, especially in leadership roles.
That same study found that colleges and public institutions (such as Temple) are an important source of talent for undergraduates in STEM careers. The Fox School works to foster and allow that talent to flourish, in part, with student professional organizations (SPO) like Women in Finance.
We spoke to Mallory Sanders, the newly-appointed president of the SPO to learn more about her background, the mission of the organization and why communities like Women in Finance are so essential to expanding the possibilities of the industry.
What is your major/minor/experience in finance so far?
I am a major in Finance with a concentration in Corporate Finance, and also a major in Risk Management and Insurance with a concentration in Property & Casualty.
I’ve been a member of the Temple Finance Association (TFA) since my sophomore year. I also joined Women in Finance when it was created in fall 2018. I held the role of vice president during my junior year, and now I’m the president as a senior.
My experience as a finance major has been very rewarding. Finance is the largest major in Fox, so I could see how some students get overwhelmed, especially as freshmen. Joining clubs creates a smaller community and network that you can build relationships with. I’ve met so many people through SPOs that I never would’ve met otherwise.
Who else is part of the Women in Finance SPO?
Our Executive Board:
Mallory Sanders – President
Lucy Cook – Vice President
Aarushi Sharma – Secretary
Katherine (Katie) Steiner – Treasurer
Tanya Leshkiv – Marketing
Arya Kurien – Fundraising
Raquel Lucena – Community Engagement
Cindy Axelrod – Faculty Advisor
We have about 75 members, as well. Our members range from freshmen to seniors with a wide variety of majors within Fox.
What was the inspiration behind creating the Women in Finance SPO?
Women in Finance was created to build a smaller organization where female students could come together to ask questions, speak to industry leaders or seek advice for resumés, internships, etc. Without the male presence in the room, we find that our members are more confident and willing to participate.
What are some of the primary goals of the SPO?
We want to encourage our members to be confident in speaking in front of others, asking questions to industry professionals and become more involved. We also want our members to be more aware of what’s going on in the world.
Our meetings include a current events review where we discuss news articles or stories that we’ve been keeping track of to make sure our members stay up to date.
What unfulfilled need at the Fox School does this SPO fill?
Diversity and inclusion are being talked about more and more throughout different industries in the world. The smaller SPOs that focus on genders, ethnicities, etc., help to highlight the diversity represented through Fox students.
To my knowledge, there aren’t any other SPOs strictly for women; this will help create that smaller community with other female students (as I mentioned above), so everyone can feel welcome and comfortable in meeting environments.
Studies conducted by the Harvard Business School found that among senior roles in venture capital and private equity, women held just 9% and 6% of the positions, respectively. Why do you think that finance is so male-dominated? How can the industry be more welcoming to women?
I think finance may come across as a power-hungry major, and some women may lack confidence, especially when surrounded by men. There are even statistics that show some women leave crucial money decisions to their partners or husbands and aren’t aware of their personal financial situation. This can turn into a bad situation since women tend to live longer than men, or if divorce comes into the picture.
The industry can be more welcoming to women just by providing more educational resources to young females. Creating awareness by hosting events could spur interests in students who may have never thought about a future in finance. I’ve also recently seen programs within large organizations focused on creating a small community for women employees. These can create supportive networks for women who feel intimidated by being surrounded by men. In addition, if colleges have more organizations like Women in Finance, that can help kickstart female students’ journey into the business world.
What are your future plans for the SPO?
Our main plan has been to become an established SPO, register with Temple Student Activities, and administratively, get started. We’ve accomplished a lot of this in the past few months. Now, our main goal is to continue to host impressive speakers from the business industry and grow our membership. Through advertising our organization, working with the Finance department, and great opportunities like this interview, we hope to spread the word about Women in Finance, so we can provide these resources to more students.
How should students get involved with the Women in Finance SPO? Is it open to non-finance majors?
Women in Finance is not exclusive to finance majors. We have members within almost every major in Fox, and this includes some members of our board. We host speakers from a variety of business industries to accommodate all students.
To get involved, we ask that students fill out our membership form here. We also are collecting dues for the semester of $15. They can pay our treasurer, Katie, on Venmo @ktstein3 or on CashApp $tuwifi. The caption should be “Full Name – TU WiFi”. If the dues payment is a problem financially, that is not a problem. We work with students who are in this situation.