Financial adviser gives Strayer students wealth of knowledge

Johanna Walters
Strayer Middle School students

Johanna Walters, a Wealth Management Adviser for Glassman Walters Associates, speaks to Strayer Middle School students.

By Gary Weckselblatt

About 15 female students at Strayer Middle School were given some smart career advice by Johanna Walters, a Wealth Management Adviser for Glassman Walters Associates, a part of Merrill Lynch.

"I was told most of my life that I wasn't good at math and that math was scary," Walters said. "Then I took a calculus class in college and realized I was pretty good at this. Then I took statistics, and I did really well in that. If anyone ever says you shouldn't do this or that, know that you are a girl and yes you can."

Walters' 30-minute chat is part of Strayer's speaker series to pique the interest of seventh and eighth graders in potential careers.

The Career Cafe initiative, which launched on Feb. 20, has one guest speaker every two weeks in the school library. At least one session a month will be led by a female professional in a STEM field, as the district seeks to increase the number of girls taking pre-engineering courses.

Already, students have heard from several engineers and a Navy admiral. The next speaker is scheduled to be a welder.

Walters learned about the opportunity to speak by Dr. Jennifer Bubser, Strayer's assistant principal, who happens to be her sister.

"I chose a career that very few women go into," Walters said. "Women can actually have fantastic careers in STEM subjects."

She "highly recommended" that students take Advanced Placement courses in high school, explaining that many colleges give credits for passing grades in those. "You're typically among other really smart people in those classes," she added. "They say if you hang around smart people, you get smarter, too."

She advised students to:

  • Be careful on social media because "your reputation matters."
  • Dress professionally "because you want to be taken seriously."
  • "Avoid compromising situations, and don't go places alone. … Listen to yourself, if it doesn't feel right, get out. There's safety in numbers."
  • "Treat yourself and others with respect."

Walters said good written and verbal skills are important in most careers. And if you're planning to attend college, she said to find the best academic adviser that you possibly can. "They guide you through school," she said, describing her adviser as "the most awesomest person ever" for allowing her to graduate with two majors ‘and not spend a dime more."

According to her online Bio, Walters graduated Magna Cum Laude from Temple University, majoring in Finance and Business Law. She has worked in the finance industry since 1998, and focuses on investment analysis, wealth management strategies, and estate planning services.

Gary Weckselblatt, QCSD Director of Communications, writes about the people and the programs that impact the Quakertown Community School District. He can be reached at 215-529-2028 or gweckselblatt@qcsd.org.

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