In honor of Black History Month, we’re showcasing leaders who are helping the next generation find their way and integrating diversity into their work and lives.

BHM

With more than a year of Cboe-HR experience under her belt, Nyree Bryant has a strong sense of Cboe’s associate population, where it’s thriving and where it needs some help.

“Honestly, we have great workplace diversity,” says Nyree, Talent Recruiting Manger. “We have associates from all over the world, from different walks of life and backgrounds, men and women, you name it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve.”

Nyree and her team are on a mission to make Cboe’s recruiting pool as diverse as possible by ensuring diversity and equality are embedded into our company culture. First course of action: meeting college students.

“We want students to know what Cboe is, what we do and that we have plenty of opportunities for them to gain experience through an internship or full-time role with us,” Nyree says.

Cboe associates who can speak to the company’s culture, specific roles or departments and new initiatives at Cboe have volunteered to join Nyree and her team on several college visits. This recruiting crew participates in a mix of career fairs and Cboe informational sessions with specific student groups.

Sessions with national student groups, such as the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) and National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), are on the books for the spring. Nyree — with support from Andy Bevers, Director, Derivatives Account Coverage and Roosevelt alum — has also helped Cboe form a partnership with the Roosevelt University Finance Honors program. Last fall, Ed Tilly spoke at Roosevelt’s honors program induction ceremony.

“We see success with groups like these because the students are passionate and engaged, which makes them a great fit for Cboe,” Nyree says. “Another great example is the work we’ve been lucky enough to do with Greenwood Project over the years. That program has been so successful and we’re excited to keep growing our candidate pipeline through other organizations with similar missions.”

Greenwood Project introduces high school and college students to the financial industry through educational seminars and paid summer internship placements. Darnell Glover became involved with Greenwood Project as a college senior at DePaul University in accounting and is now a full-time Internal Auditor with Cboe.

Darnell says Greenwood not only connected him to an industry and company he was unfamiliar with, it also gave him new skills that can’t be taught in a classroom.

“I’ve learned to be confident in my abilities and myself,” he says. “Greenwood taught me to speak confidently and feel comfortable, even in situations that cause anxiety. Getting comfortable feeling uncomfortable was a huge help in preparing for my career.”

It turns out confidence was just the cherry on top. Darnell’s managers at Cboe were so impressed by his talent and strong work ethic, they insisted on hiring him full-time after the summer internship program ended. 

Greenwood Project was co-founded by Elois Joseph, a former “runner” on Cboe’s trading floor, where she met Kathy Broome, a current Senior Human Resources Analyst at Cboe.

“I met all of my best friends here,” says Kathy, who started on the Cboe floor as a price reporter. “I’ve stayed close with Elois through the years, and it’s been incredible to watch her build Greenwood Project, as well as an honor to do my part to help her.”

Kathy, who credits her community with helping her thrive in her career, will celebrate 25 years with Cboe in June.  She sees Greenwood Project as a way to pay it forward and open doors for students.

“I really love Greenwood Project because it’s an opportunity to show young people what they’re capable of,” she says. “I want to share what I’ve learned in my career with the next generation so they’re prepared to pursue whatever they want.”

Many Cboe associates who share Kathy’s passion for community and developing the next generation also volunteer as reading assistants with Working in the Schools, or WITS. Twice a month, Chicago Public School students in grades five through eight visit Cboe and read or do schoolwork with Cboe volunteers. Sharon Stanciel, Political and Civic Affairs Director and Cboe’s WITS liaison, says the impact WITS has on students is incredible.

“It’s amazing to watch how they improve from the time they start with WITS to when they graduate,” she says. “Their reading skills improve and their confidence sky rockets. They learn how to build relationships and communicate effectively, which gives them a great head start going into high school.”

Additionally, Sharon says the exposure to a business environment and the opportunity to speak with professionals helps the students envision their future. “It gets them thinking about what they’ll want to do when they grow up, it gets the wheels turning,” Sharon says.

Each year, the students also take a tour of the Cboe trading floor and learn about the financial industry.

Leslie Johnson, OPRA Account Coordinator, found another avenue at Cboe to help the next generation. Cboe colleagues had nothing but overwhelming support and encouragement as Leslie worked full-time while pursuing her MBA. That support also motivated her to “pay it forward” by joining the Talent Management Committee of Cboe’s Women’s Initiative – an internal group dedicated to increasing representation, strengthening voices and building a culture of opportunity and advancement for the women of Cboe. 

“I’m excited to help other women find their way in the finance industry and I’m looking forward to helping Cboe enhance its recruiting efforts to reach more women and college students,” says Leslie.

And that’s what it’s all about, according to Nyree. “We all benefit from diversity and it’s on all of us to make it a priority. HR can lead the way, but all of our hard work falls flat if we don’t have associates championing this culture with us,” she says. “Everyone at Cboe is a role model to someone. I find it so encouraging to see how enthusiastic our associates are about welcoming new faces and coaching the next generation of leaders.”