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LEAD's founding members

Stories from some of LEAD’s founding members

Karen L Bowie
“Nothing happens by chance. When we step back and reflect on the paths we’ve chosen for our lives, we can see this clearly...

... I’m a first-generation college graduate who always had an interest in finance. I pursued the academic training and jobs that enabled me to flourish and acquire new skills, meet new people, and access individuals from whom I could learn the most. My advice is to step out, take risks, and see how much fun (with a few scrapes, of course!) we can have as we pursue our dreams. Always be open to learning new things and enhancing current skills. The secrets to success are to love what we do and to intermittently assess where we are on our career path as well as our prospects for the future.”

Karen L. Bowie, CFA

Saira Malik
“My parents are Pakistani immigrants. As a high-school senior, I was advised by a career counselor to skip university and go to community college...

... I didn’t listen and went off to university instead, earning my series 7 and 63 registrations by age 19. After graduating, every Wall Street firm to which I applied rejected me. Then I earned a master’s in finance and finally a large firm hired me. It’s important to be persistent and it’s fine to reject bad advice. My grandmother was among the first class of women admitted to medical school in India, graduating with an M.D. in 1934. Her diploma hangs on a wall in my house. It wasn’t written for a woman; it was written for a man. On it, administrators crossed out the preprinted words ‘him’ and ‘his’ and replaced them with handwritten ‘her’ and ‘hers.’ To this day, that diploma inspires the women in my family.”

Saira Malik, CFA

Amy OBrien
“When I finished grad school, the fields of responsible and sustainable finance were still in their infancy. Consequently, I’ve spent most of my career navigating...

... uncharted territory. So I know how important it is to embrace change. Opportunities exist for those who can spot critical trends, bring different perspectives, and connect seemingly diverse views around a common objective. It’s important to have strong technical and domain expertise in our industry. Advancement, however, requires more than following a blueprint that worked in the past. We have to be more than subject-matter experts. We have to understand the big picture, to see the critical links between issues and needs from diverse points of view, and to propose actionable ideas that can help a company capture opportunities yet to unfold.”

Amy M. O'Brien

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