Cboe Empowers Mentorship Program Prioritizes Connection

January 19, 2023

Cboe Empowers recently began its mentorship program, connecting the first class of Cboe Empowers Scholars with a mentor from Cboe. Andy Bevers, Jacquelene Stewart, LaMont Brown, Kathy Broome and Stephanie Foley are serving as mentors for the five students who make up the first class of Cboe Empowers Scholars. They were each matched with mentees who they could connect with, either through shared career interests, attending the same university or even sharing similar hobbies.​​​​​​​

“Those tie-ins are an important way to help the students feel connected and comfortable,” says Kelli Haywood, Community Impact Manager, who leads the program. “They serve as a common bond to set a strong foundation for their work together.”

Jacquelene Stewart, Senior Investigator, says she and her mentee share so many commonalities but perhaps the biggest is her mentee’s attendance at Loyola University, Jacquelene’s alma mater. She says having so much in common helped them connect right off the bat, making it easier to talk about the bigger challenges new university students often face.

“She felt like she was alone on an island in her educational journey,” Jacquelene says. “I was so glad she could share that with me and my main focus throughout this program will be to make sure she knows she’s not alone, I’m right there with her to help her navigate everything from talking to her professors to finding her career path.”

Likewise, LaMont Brown, Trade Desk Specialist, is excited to be a sounding board to his mentee as he finds his own way.

“During our time together, I hope I can help him realize that life can always go a different way,” he says. “These students have everything in front of them and I want my mentee to know he can do whatever he puts his mind to.”

As college freshmen, the students have plenty of time to consider their career and internship options, but it’s never too early to start thinking about what’s next, Kelli says.

“The beauty of having a mentor from the start is they can help you find your way,” she says. “It’s so valuable to talk to someone who’s been there before and can help you see the possibilities ahead of you.”

Andy Bevers, Senior Head of Derivatives Coverage, couldn’t agree more, attributing his career success to a chance connection with his mentor.

“Having someone in my corner who showed me the ropes, advocated for me and helped me make connections in the industry was absolutely instrumental to my career,” he says. “Since I experienced the benefits firsthand, I have always been a big proponent of mentorship and I’m so excited to pay it forward through Empowers.”

“All of these students are smart and eager, and I have no doubt they’ll find their way into successful careers,” Andy says. “But I think we have an opportunity to make an impact by imparting the wisdom we’ve learned outside of the classroom. Whether that’s how to communicate effectively, network or just apply your skills in a job that interests you.”

And of course, we can always learn something from younger generations too.

“I volunteered because I wanted to make a difference in one of our Empowers Scholars’ lives,” says Kathy Broome, Benefits Lead. “But in just a few conversations I’ve already learned a lot from her. These students have a fresh perspective that I believe will take them far.”

Stephanie Foley, Chief Human Resources Officer, echoes Kathy’s sentiment.

“I’ve learned so much I started to wonder who’s helping who,” she says. “I’m so glad we have this program in place at Cboe and I’m excited to see mentorship grow through Empowers and other avenues at Cboe in 2023.”

While the mentorship program is still in its first year, there is more to come in for Cboe Empowers in 2023, including a new class of scholars in Chicago and Kansas City.

“The students are so excited about the mentors they were paired with,” says Kelli. “And I have been so impressed by our mentors. Everyone genuinely wants to be of as much help as possible to the students, which is the best way to make an impact. I know they’re going to be fantastic sounding boards and coaches throughout these next four years."