A Look at Our Financial Curriculum

A Look at Our Financial Curriculum

Girls at nine high schools across the U.S. will begin our five week Financial Education Workshops. These workshops, held at their school campuses, are the first component of a three part, year-long program.

The three components are:

  • Fall – Series of five classroom workshops where financial projects, led by female financial professionals, expose our students to the world of finance
  • End of Fall – Wall Street Experience Field Trip
  • Spring – One-on-one Mentor/Protege Program and job shadowing 

During the Fall semester, girls will be working on the following RTSWS Financial Education Projects:

  • Analyzing 28-year-old Jane’s paycheck, including income taxes, deductions and elections
  • Drafting a budget for Jane
  • Calculating how much money Jane should put into her 401k 
  • Creating a stock watch list
  • Monitoring the stock market’s movement during the five week period 
  • Developing a case studies on two stocks in the same sector and giving a presentation on which stock Jane should buy and why
  • Debating different investment options – ETFs, Mutual Funds, Bonds, Treasuries, Private Equity, Venture Capital
  • Drafting college tuition budgets – state school vs dream school
  • Exploring a career in financial services – What does a financial planner do? What does a CFO do? What does a venture capitalist do? 



  • Field trip to a local financial institution where our girls SEE WHAT THEY CAN BE, a woman in the financial services field who can make an impact.
  • Field trips are real life. They give students a chance to connect classroom lessons to real life experiences and tangible artifacts
  • They help students prepare for life after graduation and future careers. 
During the Spring semester – January through April, students enter into a one-on-one Mentor/Protege Program. Each girl is paired with a female financial professional who takes them further in their studies of savings and investments, markets, college major/minor selections and job shadowing opportunities.
Our volunteer classroom instructors, all female financial professionals, can walk the talk on all matters financial. In addition to savings and investment basics, we rip from the headlines, making our workshops relevant, fun and engaging. 
Our face to face, engaging curriculum, is the reason why RTSWS students have an 84.26% increase in financial comprehension and 72% of our students state they are “very likely or extremely likely” to major/minor in finance, economics or business when they get to college. We’re filling the pipeline in the M of STEM.


UPS vs. FedEx: Which Stock Should Jane Choose?

Each Fall, girls conduct a bushiness case study, (securities analysis). This year, the girls will break into teams and will evaluate UPS vs. FedEx from a business model AND an investment perspective. In the past, our students have analyzed Krispy Kreme vs. Dunkin Donuts AND Nike vs. Under Armour.
Students present their team findings and recommendations to their RTSWS classmates, teachers and guests. They create a road map on how and when Jane should invest in the team’s chosen stock – evaluating business growth, investment objectives and risk tolerance. Our case studies evoke curiosity, interesting debate and motivation to learn more about savings and investment and a career in the financial field. They learn this is something they can be good at.

Role Models – Women in Finance

CareerGirls.org is a video-based career exploration tool for girls, with an emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) careers. At RTSWS, we are inspired by these real-world role models and what they have to say to girls. Watch as Venture Capitalist Theresia Gouw shares her explanation of what a venture capitalist does.

Dear Data, What’s Next?

Dear Data, What’s Next?

Dear Data, You make decisions easy. To buy or sell? To invest or spend? So let’s have your numbers speak up more loudly when it comes to financial equality. Despite numerous studies that show that women are underrepresented in financial fields and that their presence adds value in monetary terms, businesses are often just giving lip service to the issue. They create a Diversity & Inclusion Team that meets regularly, has mid level decision members in attendance but is slow to actually make change. These D & I teams, too, are vastly underbudgeted. This is far more than a social issue — it’s a problem with financial, legislative, risk management, and talent retention implications. What’s more, giving women the tools to navigate through their personal finances is more important than ever. A record 40% of all households with children under the age of 18 include mothers who are either the sole or primary source of income for the family, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis. The share was just 11% in 1960. Very few teachers, schools, parents are talking to girls about money. And in popular culture, which the girls digest on a daily basis, the messages about money are on how to spend it, not save it.  Here’s an idea…let’s use data to get the financial services industry moving on getting more women interested in pursuing finance whether for their personal budgetary purposes or for entering the profession. We can help:

  • Our organization collects data and tracks the success of our workshops utilizing a variety of methods. This includes pre and post tests of participants; measurement of those students who state they have a serious interest in pursuing a major/minor in finance/economics or business; student surveys regarding the quality of our programming and instructor surveys.  
  • Program outcomes are measured in real numbers identifying the number of girls served, program locations and the number of female financial professionals who volunteer. The more high school girls we serve, the better off their families and communities are now and for years to come. There will be more young women who become financially independent allowing for those girls to have more choices throughout the rest of her life.
  • Pre and post tests are administered to girls who participate in our workshops to identify how much they have gained from the workshops provided to them. In 2016, there was an average increase of 70% in student comprehension of financial concepts across all schools in all cities. In addition, 72% stated they were “extremely likely or very likely” to explore a college major in finance or economics.

We urgently need to equip girls with the tools for financial management to ensure the economic prosperity of women, families, and communities across the country. Women will never gain full equality if they don’t have financial equality.  Sincerely, Rock The Street, Wall Street

RTSWS students at a Wall Street Experience field trip.

Trained Warrior Joins Our Board

Trained Warrior Joins Our Board

Meredith A. Jones, our newest Board member, fought the gender stereotype of “girls can’t do math”. As a child of a single mother, her family did not have a lot of money and she did not consider finance and investing as a career. In fact, she got into the financial industry by accident. In 1998, she answered a ‘want ad’ for a hedge fund analyst position, got the job and discovered both an appetite and an aptitude for the field. Meredith, like one of our favorite Superheroes, found her full powers and true destiny. She quickly became the head of hedge fund research for that firm, but it was not until 2007 that she met a woman in a similar role. Yes, you heard us right; it took nine years for her to meet a woman in a similar role. We are trying to change that.

The financial industry can be a creative and dynamic career for women – but there’s an awareness problem. Girls can’t be what they can’t see. Our program places female financial professionals, including CFP’s and CFA’s right into high school classrooms so that young women will not only gain insight into the various financial professions available to them, they also are assigned financial projects which teach them valuable personal money management skills in the process. 

In the U.S., we start to lose girls in math at age 9. Girls engagement with STEM wanes even further in high school just as they are beginning to consider their college majors/minors and future careers. As a result, girls are few in number in high school and college finance and economic classrooms. “The statistics are abysmal. Women comprise roughly 36 percent of registered investment advisors, and the numbers decline from there. Only 19 percent of chief investment officers at endowments, foundations, pension funds and insurance companies, 11.7 percent of private equity executives,  9 percent of mutual fund managers, and 8 percent of venture capital investment professionals are women, and a paltry 2.5 percent of hedge funds are run by women,” Meredith said. “The pipeline desperately needs filling, and many young women still don’t know the potential benefits of careers in the financial industry—strong salaries, a degree of flexibility as you move up in your career, and the reward of helping firemen, policemen, retired teachers, charities, colleges and individuals fund their goals. Furthermore, having more women in the industry can boost investment returns, protect against market volatility and create jobs on Main Street. It’s definitely a virtuous cycle.”

Meredith recently wrote an article for The World Economic Forum on how the lack of women on Wall Street negatively impacts investment returns, volatility, and jobs. Within hedge funds, her research has shown roughly an 80:1 male to female ratio. In fact, there are 11 male hedge fund managers named John, James, William or Robert for every one female hedge fund manager of any name.

As a leader on diversity investing, an experienced researcher, writer and speaker, Meredith is a perfect fit for our organization. We are confident that she will add great value to our Board and that young women in our program will benefit from her counsel with our organization for years to come.

We highly recommend Meredith’s book “Women of the Street”. It’s an insider’s look into the minds of female money managers and what sets them apart from the boys.


Pension Funds – CalPERS and CalSTRS – Pushing For Variance

Pension Funds – CalPERS and CalSTRS – Pushing For Variance

Rock the Street, Wall Street attended the CalPERS & CalSTRS Diversity Forum in Sacramento last month. With CalPERS asset size at more than $300+ billion and CalSTRS at $200+ billion, these state pension funds are applying industry-wide positive pressure for companies to set measurable goals and timetables to move the needle on diversity and inclusion. Experts from McKinsey, The 30% Club, Microsoft, Harvard University, University of California – Merced, Mellon Capital, Blackstone, State Street Corporation, and Morgan Stanley were among those who spoke at the forum.

At the conference, we connected with investment industry professionals who are passionate about making REAL progress on widening the financial profession pipeline of candidates to include more young women. Throughout the day, we were encouraged by the recognition and value others see in Rock The Street, Wall Street. 

Speakers at the diversity forum are leaders in bringing measurable change. Sessions we found particularly insightful were “Proven Ways to Drive Inclusion”, “Change in the Boardroom and From the Boardroom” and “How Mentorship Creates Success for Everyone”.  Here’s some of what we heard:

  • “We must improve math and science programs for girls in schools. The status quo is unacceptable.”-John Thompson, Chairman of the Board, Microsoft
  • “By increasing the amount of women in senior leadership and C-suite positions, companies are positioned to break the ‘group think’ pattern, and ultimately make more innovative decisions.” –Christopher Ailman, Chief Investment Officer, CalSTRS
  • “If you are willing to take risks and try something new, opportunities will open.” –Gabriela Parcella, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mellon Capital
  • “Leadership needs to clear the path and lead by example.” –Susan Reid, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Morgan Stanley

We’re thrilled to see this type of “push” coming from the buy side and will be staying tuned to watch for progress.

RTSWS Expands Program to Full Academic Year

RTSWS Expands Program to Full Academic Year

RTSWS is proud to announce that it received funding from two global financial firms, TD Ameritrade and Jackson National Life Insurance, to expand its program to a full academic year. RTSWS offers on campus financial literacy classes taught by female financial professionals in the fall. In the spring, we now offer a formal Mentor/Protege program. Our girls are paired one on one with a female financial professional whom they meet with to widen their understanding of finance and a career in finance. They get acquainted with women who can “walk the talk” on financial matters.

Last week, RTSWS proteges from Byron Nelson High School in Ft. Worth, Texas job shadowed their mentors at the TD Ameritrade regional offices. This experience helps our students determine their college and career paths. These girls had participated in the fall financial literacy classes RTSWS offered at their school and then signed up for our spring Mentor/Protege program to get to know better the financial professionals who taught their classes. The classroom and the internet can’t beat the experience of learning about a company or career by experiencing it in person in the shadow of a working professional. TD Ameritrade enabled our students to spend time observing their financial professionals on the job.

Job-shadowing is often touted as a career-exploration activity for high-school students to help them determine a career path to follow. Shadowing also helps students see how their textbook learning of financial concepts can be applied in the real world. These are invaluable experiences.  Young students about to embark on college studies and just starting to think about careers, try on jobs by visiting workplaces and observing what goes on. By experiencing a workplace first-hand, our students learn a great deal more about a career in finance than they can through research in print publications and on the Internet. They learn what it takes to enter into the field of finance and how to plan their college studies to get them there.

Job shadowing in a STEM profession is critical for girls. As our founder, Maura Cunningham states,The #1 reason girls don’t choose STEM careers – They don’t see women in those careers. The #2 reason – They don’t see their girl friends choosing those careers. IT’S THAT SIMPLE.” 

Two of TDA’s mentors – (L) Kristina Ayr, Manager, IBS Advisor Relations and (R) Val Simpson, Managing Director, Risk and Control Strategy flanking our RTSWS proteges.

RTSWS continues to broaden the STEM pipeline by opening financial industry doors to girls.