Former Wall St. exec to inspire next-gen female Canadian wealth professionals

Non-profit aims to boost interest in financial services industry and understanding among high school girls

Former Wall St. exec to inspire next-gen female Canadian wealth professionals
Steve Randall

A non-profit founded by a former Wall Street executive aims to pique interest in the investment industry among Canadian high school girls.

Rock The Street, Wall Street (RTSWS) is already running in the US and UK and is now coming to the heart of the Canadian financial services industry with a new program in Toronto.

The program offers racially diverse high school/secondary school girls additional opportunities to engage with math – something that is often a challenge - before proactively selecting university courses and ultimately, their career pursuits.

It has proven success with those who have been through the program achieving degrees in finance, economics, and related fields at five times the rate of the average female university student.

RTSWS was founded by 25-year industry veteran Maura Cunningham, who is the CEO of the organization, which has the backing of leaders from BlackRock, J.P. Morgan, Scotiabank, Franklin Templeton, Invesco, and many more across finance and other industries.

"As Canada's business and financial capital, Toronto is a natural next step for us as this progressive city is helping to drive the industry forward with gains in access and inclusion. This month's launch is an exciting expansion for Rock The Street Wall Street," said Cunningham. "As we forge an inclusive path together, Canadian firms and leaders have been incredibly supportive, raising hands to volunteer and become involved in bringing financial understanding to talented and ambitious female students."

A recent report from Statistics Canada found that financial services does slightly better than other industries in female representation on management boards. The industry had the second highest share of women directors among industries at 27%, ahead of utilities (25%), and transportation and warehousing (23%) but that’s still well below parity.

Former Scotiabank leader

One of those helping to bring the program to life in Toronto is Amy Miller, who was most recently managing director & global head of loan syndication with Scotiabank. She serves as RTSWS' inaugural Advisory Council Member focused on engagement in Toronto and RTSWS' overall reach across Canada.

Meanwhile, business teacher Ingrid Montarras of Harbord Collegiate Institute, serves as school champion for Toronto.