Women in Finance Panel Discussion

Last Friday, I had the distinct pleasure of sitting in on the “Women in Finance” panel discussion by a group of well accomplished alumni at Bryant’s annual Alumni Engagement Day.

This event was organized by my mentor, Prof. Derderian (Professor of Finance), and I could not be more proud. On stage was Susan Baker, V.P. at Trillium Asset Management, Lynn Magnus, CFO of the Investment Banking Division at Goldman Sachs, Executive Director Jenn Rousseau of Cherylstone Angel Group, Cristina Destefanis, Financial Advisor at DFS/Cantenalla & Co., and Jane Sullivan, Partner at Sullivan Financial LLC.

Susan Baker was the keynote speaker. In her address, she gave us a very detailed account of her work.  She told us about studies her firm had conducted on gender pay gap, that they use “negative screening” criteria to determine which firms they choose to invest in (no tobacco, weapons and coal) and that they believe in selecting companies that excel at the following types of criteria:

  • Safe products
  • Fair compensation
  • Human rights
  • Gender equality & diversity (they monitor the gender equality index)

Lynn Magnus went next with her life story. She was one of the first Financial Services major at Bryant. Her first job out of college was on the GM financial reporting team in 1999. She explained that she did not like first job, so she transferred into the budget team and loved it.  Later, she joined a manufacturing company in Michigan, and worked there building financial models.

Jenn Rousseau was part of the Archway Fund during her time at Bryant. She initially thought she would go into corporate law; however, she completed an internship during her senior year at Cherylstone Angel Group, loved it and has stayed ever since.

Jane Sullivan provided us with a good quote – “it feels good to wake up and help people.” She was quick to state that work life balance is virtually impossible for women in finance to which the crowd roared with laughter. I remember Lynn making a similar comment saying she thought she had a great work life balance though her husband would disagree, again the crowd roared with laughter.