Andrew Kaban, CPA serves as the Chair of the Young Professionals Committee for LIF and works in business development and institutional account management at BlackRock in San Francisco. Prior to BlackRock, he was a member of the PIMCO Finance Team at Allianz Asset Management where he focused on corporate strategy and finance. Andrew Kaban graduated from UC San Diego with a BS in Management Science and a Minor in Accounting and was a member of the NCAA Division I Men's Volleyball Team. Andrew is passionate about surfing, fintech, personal finance and mentoring.
What drew you to LIF?
I think my discovery of Latinos in Finance was somewhat organic. When I moved to San Francisco to work at BlackRock in 2014, I was looking to build my professional network. I became involved with several latino/finance groups but never felt fully engaged so my involvement was limited. I eventually connected with Kennie Blanco who was my BlackRock colleague at the time and he introduced me to the organization. After attending several events, I knew it was something I wanted to be involved with because the mission resonated with me and the quality of the network was unmatched. There are truly some impressive and brilliant people within the LIF network and as a young professional, I think it's essential to surround yourself with people you want to emulate.
Do you feel that LIF has had an effect on your career?
Yes without a doubt. Not only have I had the opportunity to develop leadership skills but I have also built a robust professional network in the process. My involvement with the Finance Bootcamp and mentorship program have pushed me to build relationships with people within my own firm, LIF and beyond that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. This professional network is what will continue to open doors, provide access to unique opportunities and ultimately help guide me along my career path.
What unique aspects of the program have particularly excited you as you were developing it? Did you have any sources of inspiration or guidance?
What excites me about the LIF Select Mentorship Program is that we as an organization have an opportunity to make a tremendous impact. By leveraging our network (which is what we do best), we have been able to connect students with professionals who can be a valuable resource as they make the transition from the academic world to the professional world. When I revisit some of the challenges I was faced with (and am still faced with) during my academic and professional career, I have to attribute my success to the people who supported me along the way. The program is intended to help facilitate those same interactions for other young professionals who are probably faced with similar challenges.
The mentorship program was inspired by my experience with another mentorship program through a non-profit called the East Bay College Fund.
What has been the biggest success of the mentorship program so far? Some of the challenges?
We launched the program this past year and have 50+ mentor and 50+ mentee participants representing 27+ schools and 20+ companies. We continue to receive a lot of positive feedback from both mentors and mentees, but are still developing metrics of success. Based upon that feedback, students are being exposed to new areas of finance, receiving practical guidance on interviewing/resume-building and at times getting access to internship or employment opportunities. We are still in the early stages but by the end of this year I am hoping to hear some real "success stories."
What has been most challenging is building out a process/framework for the program while keeping track of everyone who is participating in the program. We've already learned a lot and are looking to continuously improve the program.
Are there any updates you want to provide?
The LIF Young Professionals Committee recently launched a new program called Campus to Career which is a quarterly workshop series where we host events at local universities. These are small versions of the Finance Boot Camp where we bring in professionals to speak with students about career paths and their respective sector of finance. Furthermore, the speakers provide practical advice about what students should be doing to successfully position themselves to enter that sector.