‘You have everything to be successful’: Leading women in finance speak to upper school


Photo credit: Lucia Williams

Panelists and hosts Samantha Garibaldi and Zoe Griffin converse with each other moments before the Q&A began. The panel was located in the dining hall and upper school students sat in rows of chairs to view the presentation.

By Surya Patil, Sports Editor

Four female leaders in the financial field visited Archer to be part of an upper school Q&A panel March 10. Juniors Samantha Garibaldi and Zoe Griffin, co-founders of The Billionaire Girls Club, moderated.

Questions the club leaders asked the panel ranged from how each woman found their way in the finance field to pieces of both financial and general advice they would give to a high school student. The women on the panel were Ceci Kurzman, Board Director of Warner Music Groups, Tracey Briscoe-Monroe, Senior Vice President at Trust Company of the West, Beth Rahn, Principal and Head of Family Capital at McNally Capital and Gregg Renfrew, CEO of Beauty Counter.

The upper school gathered in the dining hall during D Block to hear from the panelists. At the beginning of the panel, Garibaldi and Griffin introduced each panelist as well as their shared club.

“Samantha’s vision for the club was finance, specifically, and mine was money management. I think because we combined those two ideas, we were able to approach the club and design the club plans by coming at it from two perspectives,” Griffin said.

The Billionaire Girls Club aims to educate girls about how they can be financially independent and self-sufficient.

“The club goal is to talk about money management and financial literacy and how to invest and get started with investing,” Griffin said. “We also discuss regular healthy financial practices adults need to have to be successful.”

Each panelist shared their unique path into the financial field. For Kurzman, it was a longer journey and revolved around her passion for music. Monroe was the only woman who jumped directly into the field.

All the panelists stressed the importance of financial independence as well as telling students to never apologize for wanting to be well-off financially.

“I wanted to be rich,” Monroe said. “I wanted to be able to write a check in the moment to support the causes I believed in.”

Another major point the panelists spoke about was that even though finance is a male-dominated field, women are just as capable of understanding finance and the language associated with the field. Renfrew said that the upper school had “everything they needed to be successful.”

At the end of the panel, panelists were asked to share a piece of advice they had for high school students. The women emphasized the importance of investing early in safe investments in order to accumulate compound interest for retirement. Rahn spoke specifically about the benefits of setting up an IRA while in high school.

Briscoe-Monroe shared experiences from her childhood discussing her family’s financial instability, highlighting why it is essential to be financially independent as a woman.

“I got divorced and was able to get an apartment a mile away from my boys’ dad,” Monroe said, “But a lot of women stay in unhealthy situations because they do not have the means to go out and buy their own apartment.”

Along with pieces of investing and financial advice, all of the panelists agreed on the importance of high school students’ sleep. Kurzman said about how staying up late to write a paper until 2 a.m. is not the best decision for developing adolescents. This piece of advice resonated with freshman August Kohn.

“One panelist simply said, ‘Get sleep.’ I can really utilize that advice in my schoolwork,” Kohn said. “In order to be successful and to do well and to follow your dreams, your first priority needs to be taking care of yourself. To have energy to accomplish great things, it all starts with you.”