This month’s featured member is the Vice President of Latinos in Finance, Juan Antonio Barroso. Juan manages marketing strategy for Charles Schwab Bank and recently became one of the youngest Managing Directors at Charles Schwab. In addition to his primary role, Juan is also the co-chair for the Schwab Organization of Latinos, Charles Schwab’s Latino employee resource group for the Bay Area. Before joining Schwab in 2013, Juan was managing the Strategy and Business Development group for Health Net of California.
Juan graduated with Honors from UC Berkeley in 2006, with a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies and a minor in 19th Century Literature. He is a Gates Millennium Scholar, Golden State Scholar, National Hispanic Merit Scholar, an alumnus of Charles Schwab’s Aspiring Leader Program, and a recipient of the San Francisco Giants Willie McCovey Award for Community Service. Outside of work, Juan’s commitments include serving as Vice President of Latinos in Finance, a mentor for the Peninsula College Fund, and coaching youth baseball through the Bayview Hunters Point YMCA.
Juan is the youngest of five siblings, and the first member of his family born in the United States. He was raised in King City, California by parents who came to the U.S. from Mexico in order to provide greater opportunity for their children. Juan loves the Raiders.
Why did you choose a career in the financial industry?
It was pure luck. When I was a sophomore at UC Berkeley, I started looking for local internship opportunities. I received an offer from World Savings and decided to take it. My internship was in product marketing. I stayed with the company about four years. When I left, I went to a health insurer named Health Net. I started there in a marketing role, was moved into a sales effectiveness role, and then ultimately was moved into strategy and business development. One day out of the blue, I received a phone call from the person that offered me the internship at World Savings. She was now working at Charles Schwab, and had a job offer. I hadn’t heard from her in years. Even though I was happy at my job, I was willing to listen to her offer because of the respect I have for her. Plus I’m a firm believer that it’s a lot easier to look for a great new job when you already have one you like.
How did you get involved in LIF?
LIF reached out to me about two years ago when they were looking for a place to host the Student Boot Camp. We were able to host it at Schwab that year. I was very impressed with the organization and figured this would be a good outlet for doing whatever I can to help folks younger than me get going or move up in their career.
What kinds of roles and responsibilities do you have as Vice President of Latinos in Finance?
I think my role in anything I do is to provide a healthy level of skepticism. I ask a lot of questions to make sure we as an organization are spending time on things that matter and that people feel empowered in their roles. Everyone in the organization does so on a voluntary basis so I don’t lose sight of the fact that everyone has their actual job, and takes on this second responsibility for free. I also work closely with the fundraising*, external relations and marketing/branding team of the organization. I also try to make sure things in our organization don’t get too serious, stuffy or boring. Who would want to spend their free time at something that feels too much like “work”?
*If you are interested in donating to Latinos in Finance, you can visit this page. Make sure to designate the donation towards Latinos in Finance.
Do you aim to support the President, distinguish yourself in separate roles, or a combination of both?
Job number one is to do whatever Valerie (the President) tells me. Everyone in LIF leadership supports one another. This is a volunteer organization, so most efforts require a lot of collaboration. Valerie and I both spend a lot of time trying to meet more people who would be good fits for LIF leadership roles. We also divide core focus areas of the organization so that we can be efficient, and so that LIF leadership members don’t end up feeling micro-managed.
How have you seen your involvement within LiF intersect with your professional life? How have you seen the two areas intersect for other members, and what benefits have you seen arise?
The reason LIF originally reached out to me a few years ago is because I volunteered to be a co-chair of Schwab’s Latino diversity group for the Bay Area, so without my professional life I would have never been in touch with LIF. Diversity and being involved in the local community are things that are very important at Schwab, and I am lucky to work for a company that supports my commitment to LIF.
I have seen numerous LIF leadership members join because they were professional colleagues with someone else in LIF. The organization offers an easy and ongoing way to continue to stay in touch with other Latino finance focused professionals in the area. We are unique in that we are focused in one industry, and focused in the Bay Area. At events you get to build relationships with people you likely will stay in touch with for years. When you continue to build relationships in an industry and geographically focused network, at some point you will benefit from either having someone you can ask for a hand, or being the person who can offer a hand.
What do you think of the impact LIF has had on how Latinos are represented within the finance industry in the Bay Area?
From my experience, LIF has done a great job of raising the profile and visibility of Latino members of the finance industry. The organization has a pretty high standard for the type of people that we recruit and offer leadership roles to. Part of the reason for this is we want to make sure people that get involved are easy to work with, but we also have a bigger goal. At some point when leadership members are meeting with potential donors or leaders from the various firms in the Bay Area, they will represent more than just LIF - they will be putting a face to the broader local Latino finance community.
Tell us about your favorite LiF event/experience!
The very first Boot Camp I participated in. We hosted it at Schwab, and I was able to speak to students highlighting the importance of effective job interview skills. During my session I mentioned that interviews are a million times easier when you already know the person you are speaking to, and especially if they are an advocate of yours. Given that, I encouraged students to make sure to network and ask the professionals who volunteered for the boot camp for their business cards, and to stay in touch. During the networking portion, various students asked me for my card. two of whom actually followed up afterwards. I stayed in touch with both, and they later became leadership members: Gustavo Mena who is now moving on to start graduate school at Princeton, and Hector Martinez who is our current external relations chair.
Do you have any personal goals you hope to accomplish within LIF? What potential do you see in the future of the organization?
I would like to see the organization add talented people to leadership positions on an ongoing basis. Without constant change things are boring, and ideas get stale. If anyone is interested in this, please email me email@example.com. I also would like for the organization to get to the point where we can provide scholarships to college students. For this to happen, we need to continue to grow our relationship with local firms in the Bay Area. We already have some great partners like Schwab and BlackRock, but to take the next step in our organization’s evolution we really need to expand our support network.
CalPers is currently looking to fill the following positions:
- Private Equity (GE) - Investment Officer II position. Applications will be accepted until the close of business on 8/23/2016.
- Asset Allocation/Risk Management (AA/RM) - Associate Investment Manager position. Applications will be accepted until the close of business on 9/6/2016.
Careers in the financial services industry can be stressful. Practicing yoga can improve your ability to focus and relax.
Learn more about yoga classes in the Bay Area that fellow LIF members are attending and join the Meet Up group!