Scholarship Opportunity - Deadline: 8/31/17

Attention students: LIF just opened the application for our first ever scholarship!

The purpose of the LIF Scholarship is to provide outstanding diverse students with access to opportunity for higher education. The future of our nation and its growing diversity is dependent on preparing diverse leaders to who will help create a better society.  This aligns with our mission to strengthen underserved communities through education, connectivity, career advancement and community service.

Basic eligibility:

  • Enrolled in a four-year degree program, at a US accredited, not-for-profit, private or public college or university.
  • A minimum cumulative weighted GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • Available to attend the LIF Finance Boot Camp on September 16, 2017. REGISTER FOR THE EVENT HERE if you have not done so yet.

Ideal candidate:

  • An outstanding academic record.
  • Demonstrated leadership ability. 
  • Exceptional personal success skills. 

Deadline: August 31, 2017 12:00am

*Selected candidates will be asked to submit school transcripts and resume. 


2017 Success Stories

At the end of 2016, we launched the LIF Select Mentorship Program to help provide students with the knowledge and preparation to successfully transition into the finance industry and excel early on in their career.

Our 2016-2017 inaugural class of 45+ mentees was paired with experienced finance professionals to participate in a flexible, one year program. Mentors were tasked with providing career guidance on topics such as networking, interviewing and resume building. LIF's first year of facilitating this program was impactful so we highlighted some of the success stories below. As the 2016-2017 program comes to a close, we look forward to reopening applications to the next round of applicants in September 2017. Thank you to all mentors!

Prospective mentors and mentees can find more information on the program here.

- LIF Select Mentorship Program Team: Abraham Villarreal, Yacquelin Cervantes and Andrew Kaban

Gloria Lopez Obeso

Gloria grew up in Plymouth, CA and is a recent graduate of UC Davis. While at UC Davis, she studied International Relations and developed an interest in finance. Vanessa Hartigan, a Director of Relationship Management at Merrill Lynch, was her mentor during the mentorship program. Gloria recently secured a Financial Analyst position at Wells Fargo.

“Vanessa was a very useful resource to learn about the finance industry. She directly impacted my experience to prepare for interviews.”

Anastacio Serrano

Anastacio grew up in San Francisco, CA and is a recent graduate of San Francisco State University and studied finance. Abraham Villarreal, Transaction Specialist at CBRE, was his mentor during the mentorship program. With the support of Abraham, Anastacio secured an internship that turned into a full-time analyst position at Credible.

“My experience with the mentorship program was very rewarding and allowed me to prepare for the real world after college. With the help of my mentor, Abraham, I was able to land an internship in the fintech Industry which turned into a permanent position.”

Kevin Capiz

Kevin grew up in King City, CA and is a rising senior at Stanford University studying Mathematical & Computational Science. Charles Jung, Research Analyst at Cohen Capital Management, was his mentor during the mentorship program. Kevin recently held a Summer Internship position at BlackRock.

“My experience with the mentorship program has been great. It was through LIF’s correspondence that I learned about the opportunity with BlackRock and about the BlackRock Founder’s Scholarship. Without LIF’s support and education, I believe becoming a Founder’s Scholar would have been a missed opportunity.”

Danelis Padron

Danelis grew up in Sacramento, CA and is a recent MBA graduate from Mills College. At Mills, Danelis emphasized her studies in finance and developed a passion for it. Claudia Rivas, Financial Advisor at Wells Fargo Advisors, was her mentor during the mentorship program. With the help of Claudia, she secured a Financial Advisor position at Merrill Lynch.

“My mentor, Claudia Rivas, not only guided me throughout the entire job application process, but she believed in me during the times I didn’t believe in myself. Accompanied by her constant positivity and abundant knowledge, I persistently networked and interviewed for jobs that I considered were “out of my league”, successfully landing my first full-time job at Merrill Lynch.”

Elsa Mora

Elsa grew up in Sacramento, CA and graduated from Brown University in the Spring of 2015. At Brown, Elsa studied International Relations & Economics. Valerie Wong, Senior Associate at MSCI and President of LIF, was her mentor during the mentorship program. Elsa recently landed a Sales Digital Analyst position at Univision.

"The guidance and support I have received from my mentor, Valerie Wong, has been invaluable. From career advice to helping me prepare for interviews, Valerie has been someone whom I can count on.”

Jason Soriano

Jason grew up in East Liverpool, OH and is a junior studying finance at San Francisco State University. Bryan Chung, Manager of Strategy & Business Development at GAP, was his mentor through the LIF Select Mentorship Program. With the help of Bryan, he secured a Summer Analyst investment banking position at True Blue Partners.

"This program wasn’t merely a way for me to get a job – it was a channel that connected me with someone who has been in my shoes, ultimately empowering me to be proactive with my goals."

The Benefits of a Part-time MBA Program for Finance Professionals

Berkeley-Haas MBA for Working Professionals and Wells-Fargo present:

The Benefits of a Part-time MBA Program for Finance Professionals

Join a panel of finance professionals and Berkeley-Haas MBA students & alumni to learn more about our programs and leveraging the MBA degree for careers in finance:

  • The benefits and ROI of the degree

  • The MBA for advancement, transition or innovation

  • Managing the work/school/life balance

A member of the admissions team will be on hand to answer questions about the application process.

A networking reception with light refreshments will follow.


Thursday, August 10th

5:30 - 7:30 PM


Penthouse Room

Wells Fargo

420 Montgomery
San Francisco


Click HERE to RSVP!

Student Series: How to get into finance

Student Series: How to get into finance

Through my involvement with Latinos in Finance over the last two years, I've had the opportunity to work with dozens of students interested in pursuing careers in finance. I consistently answer the same questions so I decided to compile the infographic below that provides some simple, practical guidance to address those questions. Some of the tips I provide are things that helped me get to where I am today but there are also things I wish I would have known or done.

This is meant to be a general guide and not definitive advice. There are many ways to get to where you want to go. Good luck!

New Date: LIF & SFLRLA Mixer - Th. 6/22

Due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control, the joint happy hour sponsored by LIF and SFLRLA at the Treasury SF tonight, is postponed until Thursday, June 22nd.  The Treasury gave notice this morning that they made a scheduling error and are closing the bar for a private party. 

The good news is the Treasury management have assured us that due to the their scheduling error causing this postponement, they will be providing additional ‘perks’ to LIF and SFLRLA members at next Thursday’s happy hour.   

We sincerely apologize for the late notice and hope you can join us next Thursday.  It will be a great chance for two great organizations to mingle and connect. 

LIF & La Raza Lawyers Association Mixer!


Latinos In Finance and the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association are co-hosting a mixer on June 22nd at The Treasury in San Francisco. This mixer will bring together accomplished professionals from both the legal and financial sectors to network and learn more about each others' respective firms and fields. Join us as we have a drink and enjoy each others camaraderie! All are welcome!


The Treasury 

200 Bush Street, Suite 101
San Francisco, CA 94104

Thursday, June 22nd
6:00 pm


About The SF La Raza Lawyers Association

San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association is one of the oldest Latino Bar Associations in the country. The organization's mission is to serve the public interest by cultivating the science of jurisprudence; promoting reform in the law; facilitating the administration of justice; advancing the standing of the legal profession; preserving the high standards of professionalism among Latino attorneys; and cooperating with other professional and community organizations in the furtherance of our mission.

Monthly Member Spotlight

Ariadne Valadez

Ariadne is the Director of Events and Education at Latinos in Finance. In her professional role, she is part of the Cyber Security Defense Office in Wells Fargo’s Corporate Risk group. Ariadne helps drive major cyber security-related initiatives, including enterprise asset management, infrastructure simplification, and assessment of emerging technologies. She is based in San Francisco and earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Haas School of Business. Her passions originate from her personal experiences and is dedicated to improving education in low income communities and diversity in the workplace. During her free time, Ariadne enjoys reading, dancing to Latin music and running half marathons.

Recently, your role expanded from Treasurer to Director of Events and Education. What motivated you to take a larger role in the expansion of the organization?

Latinos in Finance is in a very exciting period of growth and my goal was to leverage my prior experience to add value and develop along with the organization.  As treasurer, I implemented a process to manage our overall finances and created a sponsorship package to ensure the financial stability of the organization. However, I was motivated to take on the Director of Events and Education role because it sets me in a position outside of my comfort zone where I will be able to help lead the organization to success. Personally, I am highly motivated by learning and growth opportunities and I think that upward moves into different professions, different industries or significantly different roles require us to stretch ourselves to do so.

What is a personal goal that you hope to achieve in LIF this year? What potential prospect for the organization excites you the most?

Goal setting is a powerful process I practice for thinking about ideas and for motivating myself to turn my visions into actionable items. One of my goals is to introduce a program to demystify the MBA process through a series of events and webcasts to provide members with a clear path and resources. Overall, I hope to be able to identify the gaps and needs of our members to produce solutions and help them be successful in their endeavors.


Have you learned anything from participating in the organization? What about any beneficial effects on your career?

There are numerous valuable lessons I’ve from my leadership roles in the organization. I don’t even know where to begin! Perhaps the most valuable thing I’ve taken away is that stepping up means taking ownership of your long-term development as a professional.  The opportunity to meet top executives from various companies has allowed me to cultivate a network of professionals that are always willing to provide career advice to strategically make decisions.  It has also provided me with visibility at Wells Fargo by working with the Diversity Manager and Community Foundation lead, which I otherwise would not have. It is a win-win because I benefit from a career advancement perspective while doing what I am passionate about.


Please leave us with some motivating words for what prospective and current members can expect from the exciting projects you are working on this year!

The most exciting project is, of course, the 9th Annual Finance Bootcamp! This year, members can expect to hear from various successful and engaging leaders across the industry. Recruiters from top banks will be leading the professional development workshops and hosting on-the-spot informational sessions.  This will be an incredible opportunity for members to learn, find mentors and connect with one another. Please stay tuned for registration information!

May Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Developing Your Financial Career In Today's Environment: Save the date for Tuesday, May 23rd from 6:00-7:30pm! Latinos in Finance will host an event geared towards guiding experienced professionals in taking the next steps to develop their career. The event will take place at the New York Life offices at 425 Market St. 9th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94105.


LIF Happy Hour: Join Latinos in Finance and the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association for a happy hour on Thursday, June 15th! The happy hour will be at the Treasury on 200 Bush St #101, San Francisco, CA 94101. All are welcome to come socialize with like minded, highly accomplished Latino professionals!

 Industry Events

Project ñ: San Francisco Screening: Hosted by Charles Schwab and KPMG, join us for a night of drinks, hors d'ouevres, networking, and a free screening of Project ñ.

Synopsis: An “ñ” is a first-generation American-born Latino who has at least one parent from a Spanish-speaking country.

Project ñ is a multimedia documentary project focused on creating new conversations that reinvent the way we view culture and interpret diversity in our lives. Through film, workshops and live community engagements, Project ñ bridges the gap between culture and place and facilitates Radical Cultural Self-Awareness, a present-moment introspection of culture, identity and self.

RSVP ASAP - seating is limited! You can get free tickets here - make sure to input the code "lif". You can learn more about at Project ñ at their official website here.


Tuesday, May 30th

4:15pm – 7:15pm


Charles Schwab Center

211 Main Street

San Francisco, CA 94105

Introducing the Job Board

Latinos in Finance is pleased to announce the launch of the job board on our website. The job listings posted are sourced directly from the LIF network and provide introductions for qualified applicants to incredible opportunities in finance.

You can view the job board here. New opportunities will be posted regularly and for all experience levels!  

 LIF in the Media

The President of Latinos in Finance, Valerie Wong, was recently interviewed for a series of podcasts by Vampire Squid. Vampire Squid is a podcast dedicated to education and increasing transparency in the financial services industry by discussing numerous subjects and interviewing individuals.

Valerie talked about her role and experiences as an international Latina in the finance industry, as well as how to promote diversity and overcome barriers to it. You can listen to Part 1 here, and Part 2 here

 Event Recap

back to the classroom.png

Professionals Back To the Classroom: Entrepreneurial Edition
by Hector Martinez

When you give Latinos access to opportunity, there is no limit to what we can do. This was evident on Saturday, March 27th, when over 60 people attended Professionals Back to the Classroom: Entrepreneurial Edition hosted by the Latino Startup Alliance, SHPE Bay Area, and Latinos in Finance. The day started with 3 amazing speakers who covered subjects ranging from how to build the perfect team and raise money for a business, to how to present your ideas to a VC.

The second half of the day consisted of pitches from attendees. During the lunch hour, participants formed teams and created a business idea to pitch to the panel of judges which included CEOs and serial entrepreneurs like the Fintech school and Leap Global Innovations. William Bravo, who was part of the winning team, says "It was a great experience for someone that hasn't been exposed to something like this before." Our hope as an organization is to continue to create opportunities for our members to reach their full potential.

A special thanks to Latino Startup Alliance and SHPE Bay Area - it was a pleasure working with them to create this wonderful opportunity for all our members! 

Help Us Improve!

Have ideas for future events? Interested in a specific event topic? Now’s your chance! Latinos in Finance is committed to serving the needs of Latino finance professionals and students. For any questions, feedback, or additional input regarding the newsletter, please email Kathleen Velasquez at


Monthly Member Spotlight

Hector Martinez


Hector A. Martinez serves as the Chair of the External Relations Committee for LiF and works as a Corporate Tax Associate for KPMG in San Francisco. Hector also works with My Money My Future, a Latina owned financial wellness platform focused on providing financial tools and guidance to multicultural millennials. Hector graduated from the University of San Francisco as a part of the McLaren Honors Program with a B.S in Accounting and was the president of the Salvadoran Student Union (U.S.E.U).

Q: As Chair of the External Relations committee, you are responsible for outreach on behalf of the organization. What inspired you to do outreach in particular?

A: I have always been drawn to the people at Latinos in Finance. It was through LiF that I met one of my mentors and good friend, Juan Barroso. He encouraged me to join the board and I am glad I made that decision. The kind of care and love the organization showed me is what I want people to feel when they connect with LiF.

Q: What is the most fulfilling aspect of your position in LiF? Do you have any interesting stories?

A: A specific moment at our most recent Bootcamp - Ariadne Valadez and Andrew Kaban put on an amazing event and what stood out to me was the range in age of people who attended. I remember seeing a group of kids who were about 10 years old and it reminded me of why I want to be a part of this special organization. I had a great support system as a kid from my parents, my older brother, my teachers, and mentors through school. My hope is that everybody can find those kinds of people in LiF who freely give help so that we can all rise and reach our potential as Latinos in the world of finance.

Q: Please tell us about your personal goals within the committee. What is your greatest wish that you would like to see External Relations accomplish?

A: My main goal is to increase awareness to some of the amazing things being put on by our board members. I know that the more people hear about what is going on with LiF, the more people will want to become involved in some way. The mentorship program started by Andrew has been amazing in connecting individuals to mentors and I can’t wait to see the impact of that 1 to 5 years down the line.

We organized an event with the Latino Startup Alliance and SHPE Bay Area and live stream parts of the event on our FB page & LiF FB page. I look forward to continue live streaming our events in the future. We recently started a new program called Campus to Career where we host events at local universities. If you want LiF to come to your school, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Q: Has your work with LiF impacted your professional career as well?

A: Absolutely! LiF has given me the opportunity to create meaningful relationships with people from all walks of life. I now have people in my network who are willing to help me and provided opportunities that I wouldn’t have thought imaginable.

Q: Any other advice for people looking to get involved?

A: I encourage you to continue to grow your network and start by asking and identifying ways in which you can help a specific person that you want to connect to. A funny thing happens when you help someone with something; they feel like they should reciprocate that and do something for you and for others. However, true impact will come from seeking to help each other regardless of what we get in return. I want all of us to reach our goals and if I can help one person on their path to success, then that is truly a special feeling. For anything I may be able to help with, reach out to


Join Us For: Art Meets Tech - Th. April 13th @ 7PM

You are invited to join us for a night of music, film, art and technology in a Hub of innovation, Hero City at Draper University in San Mateo.  Come and join us for the evening, enjoy dinner and drinks while you network with professionals, entrepreneurs, innovators and investors. Funds raised from the event will benefit the Hispanic Scholarship Fund and Latinos in Finance!  


Click HERE to Buy Tickets!


Become a sponsor and be recognized! To become a corporate sponsor and be recognized at the event please let me know and a code will be provided for you to register your sponsorship via Eventbrite.  Corporate sponsors will be recognized and their company logo will be promoted at the event.  Corporate sponsorship levels are as follows: 

1) Gold $5,000 or above.  Company promoted at event, Company logo on display and on printed materials, 8 tickets for event, chance to say a few words at the event.

2) Silver $3,000 or above. Company promoted at event, Company logo on display and on printed materials, 6 tickets for event.

3) Bronze $1,500 or above. Company promoted at event, Company logo on display and on printed materials, 4 tickets for event.

4) Special mention $1,500 or below.  Company logo on display and on printed materials, 2 tickets for event.

February Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Professionals Back to the Classroom: Entrepreneurship, Saturday, March 25th: Have an idea? Thinking about launching a startup? What do you need to be thinking about?

Join SHPE SFBA, Latinos in Finance, and Latino Startup Alliance on Saturday March 25th as we conduct workshops, panels and an ideation to Minimum Viable Product exercise. There will be workshops teaching topics like how to turn an idea into a viable business, building the right team to turn your idea into a success, and when to pitch your business to angel investors/VC, as well as the opportunity to showcase what you learned in an ideation session.

Location and RSVP information will be revealed as a later date and shared on our website and social media channels as soon as possible.

Have an idea that you want to pitch? Bring It! 

Seeking Volunteers to Help Students!

Latinos in Finance is seeking professional volunteers to help students with mock job interviews and resume review sessions at the 9th Annual Finance Bootcamp on September 9th, 2017. Volunteers will be asked to help students practice their interviewing skills, refine their resumes, and to offer advice based on their experience to give them the best chance of landing a job. This session will only last an hour in the morning, so volunteers are not expected to make a significant time commitment.

The Annual Bootcamp is Latinos in Finance’s flagship event, gathering the best and brightest students and successful Latino finance professionals together in one place. Last year was our largest yet, with 120 students from all over California and over 40 volunteers. We are expecting even more this year, and we need your help to make this event a success!

If you are interested in volunteering, please email Joanna Cabrera at

 Monthly Member Spotlight

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.

Help Us Improve!

Have ideas for future events? Interested in a specific event topic? Latinos in Finance is committed to serving the needs of Latino finance professionals and students. In that spirit, please fill out this poll and let us know what you want to see in the future!

For any questions, feedback, or additional input regarding the poll, please email Kathleen Velasquez at

2017 - A Look Back at the Year

A Look Back at the Year

Latinos in Finance has had quite an eventful and exciting year! This month, we will be taking a look back on all the exciting things that the organization has been up to this year.

Yearly Event Highlights

Reflecting the large diversity of the roles represented in our membership, Latinos in Finance hosted a wide variety of events that tackled issues and topics important to Latinos and trends in the finance industry.

Two FinTech-related events were held this year: FinTech, The Future of Finance in March and How Demographics & Fintech Are Changing Investment Advice in September. July also saw The Benefits & Implications of Equity Crowdfunding, which encouraged investment in Latino entrepreneurs.

Events focused on leadership in the workplace include Executive Presence in April, Directional Ambition & Owning Your Career in August, and Understanding Her: Partnering to Propel Millennial Women in October, with a special emphasis on encouraging Latinos to end the lack of representation in management roles.

Personal finance events were also included in programming, such as Money Talks in June, Swiping Right for Your Financial Future in July, and Financial Planning EN ESPAÑOL in November. Additionally, specific to addressing issues that specifically affects the relationship between Latinos and the finance industry came Expanding Financial Inclusion: Creating Products with Quality, Dignity & Affordability in May.

Of course, we can’t talk about LiF events without bringing up our flagship event - the 8th Annual Student Bootcamp. While each year is an even bigger success than the last, the 2016 Bootcamp was notable in that it also included 15 middle and high school students who bussed in all the way from Central Valley to attend the event as well as featuring DreamFunded CEO & founder Manny Fernandez. To read a complete recap, click here.

Speaking of increasing community outreach, Latinos in Finance also launched two community focused initiatives in 2016:

The Mentorship Program, which in its inaugural year attracted over 50 students and mentors. They were matched and put into contact with one another in November, kickstarting the program. The goal of the Mentorship Program is to connect students with experienced professionals to mentor them and bridge the gap between university and entering the finance industry.

The Professional Clothing Drive was for the benefit of the Dolores Shelter, which has a program specifically geared towards the rehabilitation of homeless Latino men in the San Francisco area. The clothing drive gathered items to help those men dress their best for job interviews.

Of course, LiF also hosted near-monthly mixers to connect members in more casual settings, the most recent of which was the December 14th Holiday Party at La Barcha Restaurant.

All in all, this was an exciting year of growth for Latinos in Finance. As a nonprofit entirely run by volunteers and donations, we would greatly appreciate your help in the growth of our organization and making a real impact on the finance industry as a whole. Please take a moment to look over our donation page - every cent goes towards putting on bigger and better events and community outreach!

Donate Here

¡Muchas Gracias!

Perhaps the biggest changes that affect the direction of Latinos in Finance were the changes to the organizational structure. In an effort to expand its outreach and programs, the board of Latinos in Finance welcomed many new volunteers committed to the organization’s goals, in several cases creating new committees.

The incoming Board of 2016 are as follows:

President Valerie Wong

Vice President Juan Barroso

Treasurer Ariadne Valadez

Board Secretary Belen Reyes

External Relations Chair Hector Martinez

Communications Committee members Kathleen Velasquez and Margarito Gomez

General Counsel Raul Escatel

Young Professionals Committee Chair Andrew Kaban

Latinas in Finance Committee Chair Veronica Genao

Social & Impact Investing Committee Chair Hernan Vargas

Community Service Chair Jie Ming Loo

With special thanks to:

Victor Vasquez for his tenure as Sponsorship Coordinator;

Christian Tiscareno as longtime Communications Chair;

Cesar Valenzuela as longtime Experienced Professionals Committee Chair;

All experienced professional and student speakers, volunteers, and contributors who helped

All corporate sponsors of our events, including BlackRock, the main sponsor and host of our 8th Annual Bootcamp.

Latinos in Finance is a nonprofit entirely run on donations and volunteers. The drive and commitment displayed by our volunteers keeps this organization afloat. We express the deepest gratitude for everyone who has aided us in realizing our mission.

About the Author

My name is Kathleen Velasquez and I’m currently a Research Analyst with ThirdAct PBC. As a member of the Communications Committee, I have written the Latinos in Finance newsletters since May of this year. My hobbies include traveling, swimming, and video games - that’s me in front of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo!

I am originally from San Diego. While I love my hometown, it didn’t offer the professional development opportunities in the finance industry that I would have liked. I had some connections in the Bay Area due to graduating from the University of California, Santa Cruz with a BA in Economics so I relocated to the area earlier this year. My first contact with Latinos in Finance was at the 2015 Student Bootcamp, where I met former President Kennie Blanco. Kennie offered me so much invaluable advice and from that point on, I decided to get more involved with the organization because I was very impressed with what a big difference a small nonprofit organization was making on the industry.

Interestingly, I actually got my job from my current boss writing to me due to one of the newsletters. I am thankful that I got opportunities just from putting myself out there that I wouldn’t have had without Latinos in Finance. For the students reading this, breaking into finance is all about who you know. LiF provides an excellent opportunity for young Latino finance professionals to break in with the many networking opportunities. I strongly recommend that you get involved by attending our events, which is announced through email subscription, social media, and our website, the latter two of which I maintain myself.

I strongly believe in Kennie’s message that you should hold the door open for others if they hold the door open for you.  I am satisfied with the career path I am taking right now, but now I am perhaps even more driven to give back to the community that has been so welcoming and supportive, especially since there are barely any Latinas in my field! I am very fortunate to not only be surrounded by smart and successful people with accomplished careers, but also that those people are incredibly kind and driven to give back to their community.
While there may be some elements of uncertainty in the New Year, I think the fantastic community is capable of continuing to do great work. I wish all of you a very Happy Holidays and a great New Year’s!

November Newsletter

Event Recap

Understanding Her: Partnering to Propel Millennial Women - The Bay Area Women Leader’s Network in partnership with Latinos in Finance presented a two part event about how to best foster the talents of young millennial professionals.

The first part of the event featured three accomplished female authors who write about management and leadership. Lee Caraher, CEO of Prism Work and author of Millennials & Management, dispelled many negative myths about millennials and offering advice to managers about how to retain millennial staff. Listen Stromberg, COO of the 3% Movement and author of Work Pause Thrive: How to Pause for Parenthood Without Killing Your Career spoke about how to integrate motherhood with a high achieving and ambitious career. Among her findings was that many high achieving women paused their careers (meaning to engage in part time work or to temporarily leave the workforce altogether) at some point, and did not regret it. Meanwhile, 40% of mothers who did not pause their career regretted not taking the time to step back. She also spoke about the value millennials placed on work/life balance and how this may come into play in the future, urging managers to respect this need to retain valuable staff. Lastly, the final speaker was Noni Allwood, co-author of Latinos in the Workplace: Unleashing the Power of Culture and frequent LiF contributor. Noni emphasized the importance and value of a millennial workforce, and ways that managers can cultivate talent from that demographic.

The second part of the event featured speed mentoring to the millennial women present, matching them with accomplished mentors in 10-minute blocks. Among the mentors was the President of Latinos in Finance, Valerie Wong.

Latinos in Finance would like to thank the Bay Area Women Leader’s Network for the partnership and for providing the opportunity to engage in outreach to young professionals.

La Familia: Latinos in Finance in the Community

Latinos in Finance believes strongly in giving back to the community, especially with Thanksgiving fast approaching. The month of November saw three initiatives geared towards giving back to the Latinos community with our unique skills.

The first Latinos in Finance Professional Clothing Drive was a success. The clothing drive, co-sponsored by ALPFA and Latinos in Finance, was for the benefit of Dolores Street Community Services. The Dolores Street Shelter Program provides support and emergency housing to homeless working men in San Francisco, with their programs specifically tailored to fit the needs of Latino men. As part of the program, Latinos in Finance and ALPFA agreed to support the shelter by donating professional clothing for these men to wear to job interviews. The drive collected 40 items to set up homeless Latinos for future success. In the words of Rocco Lopez Program Manager at Dolores Street Community Services:

"The donations are beautiful!  This is going to make such a difference for folks that need professional clothing for interviews/jobs."

Latinos in Finance also hosted Financial Planning EN ESPAÑOL, held at Iglesia San Mateo Unidos de Cristo and hosted by our President, Valerie Wong. The event was free and open to all members of the community. Among the topics for discussion were meeting financial goals, saving money for children to go to college, and retirement planning. The event served to bridge a knowledge gap in common topics among Latinos who are not professionals in the financial services industry, as many basic resources are not available in Spanish.

Lastly, the Latinos in Finance Mentorship Program is underway, presently matching students with mentors. Over 50 students signed up for this program and we are excited to mentor the next generation of finance professionals!

Help us improve!

Have ideas for future events? Interested in a specific event topic? Now’s your chance! Latinos in Finance is committed to serving the needs of Latino finance professionals and students. In that spirit, please fill out this poll and let us know what you want to see in the future!

For any questions, feedback, or additional input regarding the poll, please email Kathleen Velasquez at

From all of us at Latinos in Finance, we wish you and your family a happy and wonderful Thanksgiving!

BlackRock Founder's Scholarship - Oct. 2nd Deadline

The BlackRock Founder's Scholarship is a scholarship program for undergraduate students who identify as Black, Hispanic, Native American, LGBT, or disabled and have demonstrated leadership in creating and sustaining diverse, inclusive communities. The award includes a position within BlackRock's Summer Internship Program, as well as a merit award of $15,000.

 Click HERE to learn more! 

Application Deadline:

Sunday, October 2nd @ 11:59pm EST

 Interview Timeline:  

October & November 2016

 Please share this amazing opportunity within your networks and with eligible college students whom are interested in learning more about opportunities at BlackRock. This opportunity is available for all New York and San Francisco roles. Visit to learn more.

LIF Mentorship Program: September 30th Registration Deadline

We would like to remind students and professionals about the upcoming deadline (THIS FRIDAY, September 30th) to register for our LIF Mentorship Program

Click HERE to learn more and register!


If you didn't hand in your resume at the Bootcamp and would like for it to be included in our resume bank, you can email it to


Again, we would like to extend a special thank you to all LIF Finance Bootcamp attendees, volunteers, speakers and sponsors, including BlackRock, Charles Schwab, and New York Life!

LIF Monthly Member Spotlight

Gustavo Mena was the Chair of the Young Professionals Committee from 2015 to 2016, responsible for planning and leading the 7th Annual Bootcamp. Gustavo attended the Latinos in Finance Bootcamp while a senior in college, and graduated from the University of San Francisco in 2014 with a B.Sc. in the Accounting and a minor in Mathematics. Gustavo worked at Deloitte as a Senior Audit Assistant in Deloitte’s Investment Management group, and joined Cohen Capital Management as an Equity Research Analyst Intern this past summer. Gustavo is a student at Princeton University’s Masters in Finance program, with an expected graduation date of 2018. He is currently applying for summer internships, and can be reached via e-mail at

Q: How did you get involved in Latinos in Finance? How did you get into planning the Bootcamp?

A: As a senior in college, I heard about a finance Bootcamp for Latinos. I figured I would learn a little bit about the application of finance in the real world, but I didn't expect that I would be inspired to reach the top of the finance field. I figured if a Latino could be a CIO or CEO, then I could too. I knew then that Latinos in Finance was a special organization that I had to stay in touch with. When the opportunity came to me to lead the Bootcamp the next year as a fresh college graduate, I took it.  

Q: While you were planning the Bootcamp, what part were you most excited about seeing come into fruition?

A: I really wanted to share the same feeling of amazement that I felt as a college student with all the attendees. I wanted to inspire others as I was inspired. I think we did accomplish that feat through  the speakers that presented on finance topics and their own careers. The lineup was truly spectacular, and once again showed me that the finance talent in the Latino community runs very deeply.

Q: What advice would you give students to build off what they learned at the Bootcamp?

A: I think that learning content is one thing and that's what we have historically offered at Bootcamps. If students are truly interested in finance and in learning about it in a non-superficial way then they should go far. Finance can be so general, so when someone can demonstrate a deep knowledge of the markets then I am very impressed. There is also the aspect of building relationships with people that share similar interests. I kept in touch with people from Latinos in Finance that I met as a college student. Beyond that, I was also grateful for the effort that Latinos in Finance members put into running the Bootcamp, which was a factor for me becoming involved with Latinos in Finance as much as I was. Being grateful has kept me grounded, which can be tough when you are surrounded by very intelligent and wealthy people. Besides that, be bold and ask for what you want.  

Q: What was your favorite experience in LiF outside of the Bootcamp?

A: The reason I was so involved with Latinos in Finance was because of the people that were in the organization. Latinos in Finance has very intelligent, grateful, and compassionate people. I enjoyed the time I spent with the members in and out of Latinos in Finance events and made some great friendships.

Q: What benefits does staying involved with LiF have on the development of a young professional's career? What positive benefits did it have for you?

A: Transitioning into the professional world is tough, so the people I met through the organization really helped me to lead a more fulfilling life by getting involved. At the same time, I was encouraged to continue my education. I probably wouldn't have applied to Princeton's Masters in Finance program had I not had conversations with the past President of LIF, Kennie Blanco. You don’t really know what to expect with organizations and relationships in general, but with good intentions and an open mind you'll be surprised by the benefits that you never expected or sought out.