On March 22nd 2018, Simon Mayo of Leathwaite had the opportunity to speak at OppNet’s Annual Business, Finance and Professional Services roundtable in NYC. The evening provided the 11th grade fellows invaluable exposure to a range of careers in the business sector and the opportunity to speak first-hand with industry professionals.

Together with speakers from Ally Financial, MetLife and Northwell Health among others, Simon spoke to over 40 students, talking them through the different career paths in finance and business and the importance of building and maintaining a network. He also walked them through the basic concepts of business including the differences between a public vs private company, what the roles of CEO, CFO, COO and CIO entail and what kind of other roles exist in respective organizations.

The event was fully interactive, starting with a short introduction before each of the speakers introduced themselves and then broke off into smaller groups whereby they had the chance to share more about their background and profession with students, who were encouraged to ask questions and take notes. Each round lasted about 8 minutes, so students got equal time with each professional.

Over the course of the evening, some of the questions speakers were asked by students include the below:

  • Academic and professional background (education, past positions) and lessons you’ve learned thus far in your career journey
  • Finance/Business Careers: what inspired you to do this type of work? How has a career in this field affected your everyday life
  • The responsibilities of your current job, and skills you must have for it
  • The importance of networking and how it has been a part of your career journey; mentors you’ve had
  • Challenges, obstacles you’ve encountered thus far in your career
  • The lifestyle of your field
  • How your identity fits into the work you do

The night aimed at encouraging high-potential students to continue to broaden their ideas about career paths and they were eager to learn more about different fields of work and the associated roles.

All OppNet’s students come from low-income, underserved communities and the majority will be the first in their families to graduate from college. Of the 141 total 11th grade fellows in the program, they have all applied to be in the 6-year Fellows Program, which takes them through to college graduation.

Leathwaite New York has partnered with The Opportunity Network (OppNet) since 2015 and participates in several workshops whereby Associates volunteer their time to engage with academically talented yet underprivileged NYC public high school students to offer professional career advice. Our participation aims at leveling the playing field for these students and reversing the course of unrealized potential, so they go onto college graduation and career success.

If you would like to understand more about how Leathwaite supports the work of OppNet, please contact Emily Ivey emily.ivey@leathwaite.com.

Connect with Simon Mayo

Simon is a Consultant in the Americas CIO and COO practice based in New York. He delivers executive search and executive interim projects in technology and the COO functions across North America. Client coverage includes global, national and regional banks, insurers, hedge funds and asset and wealth managers. Functional coverage includes CIOs, heads of engineering and infrastructure, information security, data and cloud

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