A career in finance can provide you with the opportunity to drive change in the business world. Olivia O’Toole, an alumna who graduated with a Bachelor’s in Economics and a Masters in Finance, has begun her career at BSW Wealth Partners in impact investing where she works to promote investment in companies that induce positive social and environmental change.
BSW Wealth Partners is a certified B Corporation. According to Olivia, this means “treating your employees well, treating your clients well, and making sure whatever you do is having a good impact on the world.” Living up to this standard of positive influence means ensuring a supportive work environment that is accepting of mistakes as learning opportunities, paving the way for further progress and development. Additionally, this concept of making a positive impact applies to clients as BSW constantly seeks to satisfy their needs regarding financial returns as well as personal principles. Through impact investing, Olivia explains that BSW’s primary goal is to help clients make the most impact based on their values.
“They’re still making money and they’re still getting everything they want from a financial returns perspective, but they’re actually investing in things that are important,” she explains. Olivia is currently responsible for research on R3 returns, striving to find the best way to analyze companies in terms of impact to meet this goal of satisfying both financial and ethical needs.
Olivia enjoys her career within impact investing as it provides a means by which she can make a difference in the world. Being a woman in a technical field, however, Olivia recognizes an undeniable gender disparity. Within her courses at CU Boulder, she was one of only a handful of women pursuing an economics undergraduate degree, and then again when she pursued a finance graduate degree. At BSW, she still notices a slight discrepancy between the proportion of male to female employees within technical investing positions, although the gap is much smaller than it was within her courses at CU. When asked if such gender gaps ever discouraged her, she responded “Never. I like challenges.” Olivia recognizes the value of her unique identity as a woman in a technical field as “something that’s marketable. Being able to say I’m a woman, I’m capable, and I’m competent” drove Olivia to success in her educational and professional careers.
In our progressing society, women and people from underrepresented communities are beginning to take on higher roles in the business world, and their diverse mindsets help companies like BSW learn and grow. Olivia says that her biggest challenge in her job is having the confidence to speak up and believe that she has something to contribute. It is important to overcome the notion that being young and inexperienced inhibits the ability of a person to contribute valuable information. Her supervisors, although they may seem intimidating and more knowledgeable from years of experience, always welcome Olivia’s opinion as it gives a fresh perspective to the way they do business. BSW does a great job of incorporating diverse perspectives to fuel progress within their business, Olivia says.
If you are interested in finance and want to make an impact socially and environmentally, consider impact investing or pursue the SRE certificate to compliment your finance degree and learn how you can create positive change through your career.