Greenleaf Trust Awards Scholarships
For more than a decade, Greenleaf Trust in Kalamazoo has worked to increase diversity in the financial services field while making a difference in the lives of under-represented students who major in finance and personal financial planning at WMU’s Haworth College of Business.
Greenleaf Trust, led by President and Chair William Johnston, BA ’70, MA ’74, provides privately funded scholarships to encourage under-represented and minority groups to attend college and study finance, believing strongly that the workforce in the financial planning field should mirror the diversity of the community.
“The Greenleaf Trust Scholarship is an outstanding opportunity for students pursuing a degree in finance or personal financial planning in the Haworth College of Business,” Karen Baldwin and Kim Dudley, coordinators for the Greenleaf Trust Scholarship Program, note. “In addition to the financial support awarded to the scholarship recipients, we also ask that our scholars spend time with us at Greenleaf Trust. They are invited to attend research meetings, wealth management trainings and client seminars. We want them to experience the culture of Greenleaf Trust and know what it looks like to work within a financial institution. We also want to provide support to our scholars. If they are struggling with a project or a class, we have a wealth of experts within our building who are ready and willing to be of help to them. We want our scholars to be successful.”
The students who receive scholarships through the Greenleaf Trust Scholarship Program are high-achieving students who are detail-oriented, inquisitive and disciplined. The reward for these qualities and outstanding academic talent is a generous scholarship with support for up to four years of college. Greenleaf Trust scholars are also eligible to apply for internships with Greenleaf Trust, where they are able to assist with projects and learn both the investment and trust sides of the business.
Scholarship recipient and intern Brittany Szymczak of Mattawan, Mich., says, ”I am greatly appreciative of the scholarship and internship that Greenleaf Trust has awarded me. It is such an honor that I was chosen to intern at the organization. Every experience has been enjoyable, and I know the work I am involved in will help me succeed in future employment opportunities.”
Saidal Mohmand of Kalamazoo echoes Szymczak’s sentiments and again highlights how the internship program helps students distinguish themselves in a challenging job market, “I am extremely grateful to have received the Greenleaf Trust Scholarship. Without this scholarship and others, it would have been difficult to continue my studies. Now I can focus on taking the Chartered Financial Analyst Level 1 exam and graduating summa cum laude. Not only am I grateful for my scholarship but also for my internship opportunity. At Greenleaf Trust, I have had the opportunity to intern in the research and wealth management division. At graduation, I will have over one year of experience in money management, a rare opportunity for students. I strongly feel the length and depth of my internship experience will give me a ‘leg up’ in this competitive job market. For that, I am truly grateful!”
And the student interns are not only putting theory into practice at Greenleaf Trust but also developing valuable mentoring relationships and experiencing a corporate culture that embraces teamwork as well as best practices in ethics, strategy and client service. “This is a wonderful partnership between Greenleaf Trust and our College,” says Dr. Kay Palan, Dean of WMU’s Haworth College of Business. “The students who are awarded scholarships and enter into the internship program are the best and the brightest and truly realize the value of learning from the high-caliber professionals at Greenleaf Trust. I cannot say enough about the meaningful impact that the scholarships and internships have on our students.”
Greenleaf Trust has a strong pool of candidates from which to draw. WMU certified financial planning majors are qualified to sit for the Certified Financial Planning credential upon graduation, and WMU students pass the certification exam at a higher rate than the national average.
Congratulations to this year’s scholarship recipients Jay Valikodath, David Kemp III, Javier McIntyre, Saidal Mohmand and Brittany Szymczak, with William Johnston, president and chair of Greenleaf Trust.
As our thoughts turn to the holidays, we want to extend a HUGE Bronco thank you to Greenleaf Trust!