Chaz Sutton ’22 leverages experience with youth investment program into connections with global asset managers
Pennies and dimes, quarters and dollars. The days of managing a stock portfolio just from the rambunctious floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street are long gone. You don’t need to work in a high-rise building downtown to track all of your financial investments and transactions. As Chaz Sutton '22 has discovered, learning how to manage financial wealth starts with personal connection and the drive to be successful.
Beginning his junior year on campus as a Titan, Sutton got involved with Diversity Investment Management Engagement, better known as DIME
. The program, which is an investment management group for minority high school students, aims to educate high school students on wealth and financial literacy while developing the next generation of minority investment talent.
“A full-time [job] offer is extremely slim [for minority students],” Sutton said. “DIME’s whole mission is to kind of change that, create the next generation of minority investment talent.”
Laura Weiler ’00, Head of Community Engagement, planted the seed in Sutton’s mind about giving the program a try.
“Credit to Mrs. Weiler because if not for her I probably would not have applied without her pushing me and motivating me to [apply], to take that leap of faith,” Sutton said.
After applying and being accepted, Sutton dove head-first into DIME meetings and activities. But it took some time getting to know the program and feel comfortable with the financial lingo that goes with managing investments.
“To be honest, it was really intimidating,” Sutton recalls. “I did not understand what they were saying because that was my first real dive into things other than just stocks. They were talking about everything: savings, bonds, mutual funds, etc.”
Attending meetings and classes were part of the deal in being part of DIME, but Sutton’s passion for the program grew to new heights as he put more time and effort into growing the relationships he formed over his two years of involvement. Classes covering topics such as crypto currency, bond investing, asset allocation and personal branding. Participation in extra meetings, events, and competitions were no longer seen as work but an opportunity for Sutton.
“I just really fell in love with the program,” Sutton said. “I saw the real value in it. For me, delayed gratification is always something I live my life on so I knew if I could really go through the two hour classes [then], it would serve me long term.”
But once the initial learning curve balanced out, Sutton was all in. While he knew the potential he had in himself, outsiders in the industry noticed his passion and commitment to DIME as well. Co-founders Dion Woods and Sonya Rorie, both executives at Allspring Global Investments, paved the way for Sutton’s involvement with the asset management firm. In October 2022, Sutton was invited to participate in a panel at the grand opening of the Allspring Global Investment Group global headquarter offices in Charlotte, NC.
“I was invited to come speak on the power of investing in minority talent and how underrepresented the investment space is,” Sutton noted. “I’ve spoken at two panels representing Allspring but they’ve all been representing the DIME program.”
Forming connections comes with the territory of being selected as a participant on a panel for an investment firm that holds $465 billion in assets under management. But Sutton notes it’s not simply just shaking hands and giving out a business card while being a representative of the DIME program- it’s getting to know people for who they are and what motivates them, something that the Titan alum takes very seriously.
“There’s always somebody currently doing something or on track to what you want to do that you can meet and talk to,” Sutton said about DIME’s connections in the financial sphere. “They want to invest in you and talk to you and help you out in whatever ways they see that they can.”
Allspring’s connection with DIME makes the opportunity available to major companies to establish a relationship with young and hungry entrepreneurs wanting to establish their name in the corporate investment space but also diversify its employee profile by working with students from various backgrounds.
“Allspring sees that this is the next generation of investment talent and they want to be attached to that, they want to invest in that and they know they’re making a real change by doing that,” Sutton pointed out. “I got to meet all the regional directors, the heads of all the different investment spaces, I had the honor and pleasure of meeting the CEO of Allspring. I’ve gotten to know a lot of the Allspring employees and they appreciate what I say and how vulnerable and straight to the point I am.”
His path in DIME led him to Howard University in Washington D.C. and to their School of Business, ranked in the top 75 for ‘Best Business Schools’ according to U.S. News and World Report. The level of difficulty for an incoming freshman to be accepted into the business school is high, but Sutton didn’t run away from the challenge. Instead, he embraced it in part because DIME and his time at Trinity prepared him so well.
“[DIME] definitely set me up because I had access to resources and I took two years worth of classes and financial partners and mentors that a lot of high school students did not have,” Sutton said. “I was already at a different level as far as my access and my knowledge than some other students.”
Chaz stays involved with DIME as a college advisor and speaker coordinator. Utilizing the knowledge he’s gained in his first year at Howard, he also teaches lessons to students currently in the program.
Sutton, like so many other Titans who came before him, epitomizes the definition of ‘Discover Your Path.’ A leap of faith, as he called it, is what’s setting him up for not only leaps but also bounds in pursuing a future in investment banking.
Upon completion of his first year in the nation’s capital, Sutton is spending his summer in Malvern, PA after securing an internship at The Vanguard Group in the Investment Management Program. Vanguard is an investment advisory that is the largest provider of mutual funds and second-largest provider of exchange-traded funds in the world.