Finding my way to Social Impact Fintech

Arden on a beach wearing a striped shirt

As the daughter of a kindergarten teacher and restaurant manager, I didn’t want to worry about money as much as my parents did.

I saw how money (or a lack thereof) drained them of energy and joy. I wanted to avoid that, so I went to college knowing I needed to choose a major – and a career – that would be profitable. 

Who cared that I’d always loved Marine Biology? Or my time as editor for my High School paper? The obvious major of choice was…

Economics. With a minor in finance.

Exciting, huh?

In defense of Economics, I did find it interesting – particularly when it came to how money motivates people and drives behavior change. 

And I quickly found myself gravitating to a specific type of class and projects:  

  • I joined an Environmental Studies class to assess which method of composting was most cost-effective for the University dining hall.
  • I wrote my thesis on whether immigrants joining the workforce really impacted the wages of native workers (my analysis in 2009 showed it did not)
  • When my sophomore year internship was… well, incredibly boring… I found a second internship researching the impact women have on society when they are economically empowered
  • I stayed on an extra semester to help the University explore the viability of a micro-lending project in rural Tennessee. 

I always chose to focus  on how financial tools and economic principles could be used to do GOOD in the world. 

And I was able to use my writing skills (exquisitely honed by my liberal arts education) to increase economic opportunity and foster wellbeing for people who’ve been intentionally excluded from achieving financial stability.

What was initially a compromise between what I *wanted* to do and what I thought I *should* do, morphed into a passion for using fintech for good.

Now, I get to partner with amazing clients like True Link Financial who help the nation’s 43+ million caregivers protect the finances of the people they support. 

And that’s something this economic major can be proud of.

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