the finance experience

Trustee Aileen Diviney Gleason ’85

by Andrew Wickenden ’09

Each year during winter break, HWS students flock to major cities across the country to connect with knowledgeable mentors from the community of the Colleges’ alumni and alumnae, parents, families and friends. These gatherings – organized by the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Learning – feature presentations, question-and-answer sessions, and networking events aimed at guiding students along the path to careers in the financial world, public relations, the entertainment industry, politics, and more.

Events like the “New York City Finance Experience,” held each January in Manhattan, offer students “excellent resources and useful career perspectives that can help them to make informed decisions about their futures,” says HWS Trustee Aileen Diviney Gleason ’85.

For Gleason, who is managing director of Global Wealth Management at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and a regular speaker and panelist at the “Finance Experience,” such events are about “working with students to ensure their four years at the Colleges are as great as mine.”

Offering deep insight into the excitements and challenges of executive leadership in finance, Gleason regularly mentors students on campus and off – through informational interviews and Salisbury Center events like the Professionals in Residence series – whether helping students “prepare for that initial job interview; or discussing the process of getting an internship within the industry; or what should be in their cover letter and what shouldn’t; or how to translate work experience into tangible skills they can leverage in an interview.”

Over the years, Gleason has kept in touch with several students she’s mentored, and “catching up over coffee and hearing where their path has taken them has been very rewarding,” she says. “That continued connection also builds the legacy of the Colleges.”

As a student, Gleason was a member of the Student Economic Committee and was elected into Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Economics Honor Society. She was the captain and MVP of the William Smith lacrosse team in her senior year. She spent a semester in Washington, D.C., and one in London, England, before earning her B.A. in economics.

“I’d gotten so much from my time at the Colleges that I knew the day I graduated that I’d always wanted to be involved and give back,” says Gleason, who in December 2011 received the Career Services Award for her support of students.

Now, as a Trustee, Gleason helps “set the strategic direction and participate in the continued success of the Colleges. It’s exciting to bring some of the skills that I have to help the Colleges continue down that path,” she says.

When she meets young alums at Regional Network events, Gleason emphasizes that there are “different ways of giving” to HWS.

“It’s not always a large contribution to the Annual Fund,” she says, “though that’s important. But recent grads can impact current students directly – they have been through the process of searching for and landing a job, of going through what current students are going through, and they come to the table with more immediate experience. A 15-minute phone call is an easy way to give back and can make a tremendous impact.”


Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.