Closing the opportunity gap and creating pathways to success with Wall Street Bound
Troy Prince is the founder and CEO of Wall Street Bound, a non-profit teaching the technical “hard” skills of finance and the “soft” skills of corporate culture.
Tell us about the work of Wall Street Bound and your priorities for inclusive capitalism.
Wall Street Bound was born of the simple but indisputable premise that talent and IQ are universally distributed, and that one “zip code” of birth should not be the determining factor of economic opportunity and life outcomes. Our goal is to close the opportunity gap between largely overlooked yet abundant diverse, and ambitious college and university talent, and the lucrative, life-changing career opportunities that exist within the financial services industry. Inclusive capitalism is in our DNA, we exist to increase the level of awareness and participation of the under-served in the capital markets and global economy.
What inspired you to join the Council?
The idea of capitalism, not being viewed as evil, but as a force, however imperfect that has the power to “lift[s] people out of poverty and power[s] global innovation and growth” really resonates with the mission and work of Wall Street Bound. The challenge Pope Francis laid to the business community, “to extend the benefits of our economic system to all people,” perfectly aligns with our mission.
When people think of capitalism, they think of for-profit businesses selling goods or services to make money. How are NPOs and NGOs an important part of shaping the economic system to be more inclusive and sustainable for all?
NPOs and NGOs with missions of economic development and justice, operating within capitalist economies, are the “front line workers” and the connective tissue of opportunity creation for all stakeholders. Businesses, governments, and academic institutions are not equipped on their own to solve societal issues at scale as none have that as their foundational raison d’être.
Tell us about WSB Academy.
WSB Academy is Wall Street Bound’s online learning initiative, created with the idea of providing high quality, student discounted, and culturally responsive finance educational content all in one place. This is a unique value proposition in the marketplace that as largely asynchronous, online learning, allows us to further scale our work of expanded finance awareness and opportunity creation for under-resourced and diverse populations.
How do you at Wall Street Bound work to increase diversity in the finance sector?
Wall Street Bound is a workforce development nonprofit organization with a single mission to recruit, train, and mentor diverse college and university talent for an internship, and full-time job opportunities on Wall Street. We execute our mission primarily through 3 programs: ‘Introduction to Wall Street Bootcamp’, the Wall Street Direct intensive, and the Diverse Trader Training Program, all of which are designed to teach finance technical, and corporate culture skills required to gain access to a very competitive industry. We work closely together with our industry partners who are interested in increasing the diversity of their talent pipelines, to match their talent needs with the education, skills, ambition, and raw talent of our program alumni.
What are your recommendations for businesses that want to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion?
There’s no shortage in what businesses can do to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion. My advice is to:
- Seek out partners that live and breathe in this space. Organizations like Wall Street Bound that do this work every day can be invaluable partners and sources of intel and best practices.
- Be open-minded, thoughtful, and honest about what exactly the DE&I goals are for your business.
- Take the long view, there are no overnight fixes.
- Recognize that this work takes an investment of time, energy, and fiscal resources.
Tell us about the Introduction to Wall Street Bootcamp Program and its impact.
The objective of this program is to expose college and university students of color to the financial services industry, the requisite technical & soft skills, and the various career paths. The program is designed to:
- Inspire students to pursue higher goals
- Inform those interested in finance careers of how they might go about achieving their goals
- Instill confidence in students to operate and succeed outside of their comfort zones and current environments
The primary impact of this program is exposure. By spending time with our instructors who have all worked in the industry, and networking with finance professionals that look like themselves, students come away with a better understanding of the broad financial services industry and a deeper sense of individual purpose and personal motivation.
What gives you hope?
There are two things that give me hope: 1) our youth and 2) the changing frequency and tone of conversations around equity and economic justice in all its forms.