For a motivated group of scholars from the Chicago-based nonprofit, the Greenwood Project, an extra-long winter break didn’t mean more time for streaming Netflix. As part of PEAK6’s commitment to Fintech in Action, the college “winterns” joined PEAK6 for its first-ever winternship–and also its first ever virtual winternship–which ran Dec. 7, 2020 to Jan. 15, 2021. The winterns learned about fintech, gained exposure to PEAK6 businesses, expanded their knowledge and skills, and built new relationships. The goal? To build a more inclusive pipeline for Black and Latinx talent in fintech and finance careers.
Founded in 2020, Fintech in Action (FIA) is a coalition of firms focused on that goal. There currently are 26 and counting firms in the coalition, with the ambitious goal of not only recruiting, hiring and retaining Black professionals, but also of assessing and addressing barriers that exist within finance and fintech companies to increase diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) across the sector.
“We’re actively working to remove any obstacles to diverse, equitable and inclusive practices in recruitment, retention and promotion through Fintech in Action and other initiatives,” says Bill Capuzzi, CEO of Apex Clearing. “Access begins with internships.”
Michelle Williams, executive director of Fintech in Action, comments: “We’re looking to change an industry as a whole. Our coalition members are really passionate and committed, and creating deeper conversations about DE&I barriers.” She notes that Fintech in Action created the new winternship because, due to COVID-19, many schools had longer than usual winter breaks. “This gave us the chance to not just focus on summer as a time for internships, but also winter. The shorter timing encourages us to be strategic in providing a meaningful opportunity for students and Fintech in Action coalition members,” says Michelle.
Undaunted by creating a fully remote winternship experience, the PEAK6 Campus Recruiting team got to work putting together a full program of fintech learning and exposure to the PEAK6 brands. The winterns had a full calendar of varied events. They shadowed our employees remotely, had virtual coffee chats and poker classes, and worked together to build out Fintech in Action. Each student was paired with a mentor, and rotated through all of the PEAK6 companies.
“I not only was able to network with the PEAK6 family but I created long lasting mentors and have a broader understanding of risk management, cryptocurrency, and market makers,” says PEAK6 wintern Brandy Wayne, a student at Bradley University, in a LinkedIn post about her experience.
Jeremy Glasper, another PEAK6 wintern and Bradley University student, comments on LinkedIn, “The skills I gained through this four-week program will definitely help me grow throughout my career.”