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At SOF, our vision, mission, and values are at the core of what we do and what we teach our students and members. 

In keeping with “Curiosity,” one of our core values, we’re always learning and growing. As our organization has matured, we’ve learned a lot about the world, finance, and ourselves. Our mentors and advisors have continued to help us improve how we inspire character and integrity in the finance leaders of tomorrow. Throughout this process and period of growth for SOF, we’ve decided to refine our vision, mission, and values to best represent what we believe future finance executives and investors need to embody.

Our team has spent countless hours discussing our vision, mission, and values, learning from experts, and gathering feedback from our community. After sending a survey to over 600 students and professionals in the SOF community to collect data, we then hosted 2 virtual town hall discussions with our community. We also held numerous one-on-one conversations with our mentors, Board of Directors, and Advisory Board Members, including Katie Lawler, Chief Ethics Officer of U.S. Bank, and Deb Schoneman, President of Piper Sandler.

We are pleased to say that we have finalized our updated vision, mission, and values at Scholars of Finance

Among many improvements, there are a few key changes you’ll notice:

  • “Compassion” is a new value on the list. We believe that serving others and fostering relationships through kindness, empathy, respect, forgiveness, inclusion, and generosity are critical for us to make a positive impact on people.
  • Principles were changed and are explicit. Now, our principles are closer to being mutually exclusive and collectively exhaustive, while retaining brevity, and they are explicit and direct. We removed metaphors.
  • Each value includes an epithet. This was to summarize the essence of each value and provide additional clarity for what exactly its intent is. 24 principles are a lot to memorize and these epithets are a good starting point.

Here they are:

Vision: A future where all finance leaders steward the world’s capital to serve the greater good. 

Mission: To inspire character and integrity in the finance leaders of tomorrow.

Values:

  • Integrity (Do what’s right) 
    • Do the right thing, always
    • Build trust through transparency and accountability 
    • Honor your responsibilities and commitments
    • Speak the truth at all times
  • Compassion (Serve others) 
    • Foster relationships with respect and empathy
    • Offer kindness and forgiveness to everyone 
    • Be generous with your time, energy, and resources
    • Champion diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Humility (Know thyself) 
    • Serve a purpose greater than yourself
    • Cultivate gratitude for what you have
    • Recognize both your strengths and limitations
    • Ask for and share honest feedback regularly
  • Curiosity (Know the world) 
    • Seek first to understand, then to be understood 
    • Realize that there is always more to learn
    • Value every situation as a growth opportunity
    • Pursue and embrace diverse perspectives
  • Impact (Do excellent work) 
    • Accept nothing less than your best
    • Develop credibility through consistency
    • Operate patiently and think long term
    • Live a healthy and balanced life
  • Courage (Act boldly) 
    • Solve large and important problems in the world
    • Stand up for what you believe is right
    • Remain calm during difficult times
    • Embrace change and help others do the same

We strongly believe that our updated vision, mission, and values more accurately represent an effective and ethical finance leader—the model our members should strive to emulate. As our mentors have taught us, building character will be a lifelong journey. We’re excited to be on it.

To ensure our vision, mission, values shape the culture of our organization and our community, we are committed to deepening their integration into everything we do, including by:

  • Centering our National Speaker Series around these values and their significance to our speakers.
  • Making our values the themes for our SOF Symposia in each of our core markets.
  • Revising our Leadership Development Program to better instill these values and relate them to finance.
  • Incorporating guidance for mentors and mentees in our Mentorship Network to help facilitate discussions about these values.
  • Fostering conversations about these values and principles at our internal meetings

If you are as excited about this as we are, you’ll be happy to hear we created a SOF Culture Book to easily share our values with others. This was inspired by the work of our friends at charity: water and is a great resource to pass along.

Thank you to all of you who’ve played a part in this process and for your continued support for Scholars of Finance. It’s you who have inspired our vision, mission, and values, and for that we are grateful. We believe the finance industry will be better off because of it.

Cheers,

Ross Overline

Co-Founder, CEO

Scholars of Finance

Ross Overline

Author Ross Overline

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