Wall Street is one of the most well known streets in New York City. It is a big tourist attraction and also a placeholder for our economy. Many people would assume that a majority of men work on Wall Street or even the business industry.
Catherine Felle is a junior from New Jersey currently studying business management and is the founder of recently Student Government Inc. approved organization, Women on Wall Street.
She decided on the name due to the organization being a resource for undergraduate women who are seeking a career in financial services.
“Women who want to go into communications, public relations or journalism are more than welcome to join, but we focus mainly on financial services and what your career will look like in that spectrum,” Felle said.
She first came up with the pivotal idea after interning this past summer.
“This summer I had an internship at BNY Mellon and I noticed that women were underrepresented, so in that internship pool and internship class women were immediately at a disadvantage,” Felle said.
She worked in investment management at BNY Mellon, specifically retirement marketing. She doesn’t plan on going into this section post graduation, but truly enjoyed the experience and thought of it as a good place to start.
Felle noticed how there were less women in the room at a time, and specifically in the company.
The idea came to her after meeting different women and asking about their experiences in the work force. She spoke with the women at her firm in different departments to get an insight of what each do, which then led to a conversation on different challenges women face.
“They were very encouraging women in the workplace,” Felle noted.
One thing she noticed was that there were different issues that men don’t necessarily deal with, so she wanted to help better prepare women for that. It only makes sense to start within a university for future female employers.
“I want to prepare my friends, other students for when they graduate,” Felle said.
During her internship she was given a manager and a mentor as she assisted with their assignments, but also got to work on her own first hand assignment which was a resource guide on social security.
Although Felle is the founder and president, she has the help of her other executive board members such as her junior vice president, Meitar Levy, freshmen treasurer, Bailey Molnar, and junior secretary, Gabrielle McDyer. .
“We decided for this semester we’re really looking to find our own identity on campus and to really make a mark for ourselves,” Felle said.
Women on Wall Street has four main objectives which concentrate on personal and professional development.
Felle said, “Our four objectives are leading a conversation in the recent change seen on Wall Street, providing technical training specifically for women, establishing an active professional network including St. John’s University students and alumni, and empowering women to pursue their personal and professional goals including senior leadership roles.”
As of now the organization has five general body meetings planned with different organizations represented at each of those meetings. Then they have two of their own events this semester.
“I know women typically question or doubt themselves more than men and they really struggle with confidence; I feel it really weaves out to what we wear, how we do our makeup and hair, and how we present ourselves,” Felle said. “But then you may doubt yourself about speaking up or about asking questions you may think ‘oh, that’s a dumb question, I don’t want people to think I’m dumb.’
“So really it’s just finding a voice and speaking up and letting others know your opinion is worth valuing,” Felle said. “That’s something I hope members are able to take away from this.”