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Keys to Success: Q & A with 2015 Alumna Maria Pineda

Keys to Success: Q & A with 2015 Alumna Maria Pineda

Quality education, professional work experience, and a strong network … Three things that Maria Pineda ‘15 gained from her high school experience at Saint Martin. Beginning her career with the Corporate Work Study Program at 14 years old, to now working at one of Saint Martin’s Corporate Work Study partners, Maria’s journey has come full circle and she’s not done yet!

SMDP: What have you been up to since you graduated from Saint Martin?

Maria: I attended John Carroll University and graduated in 2019 with a double major in international business and japanese language and culture and east asian studies. After graduation, I planned to teach abroad in China for a year, but my plans changed once the pandemic began. I started working for the local Spanish Radio station La Mega 87.7FM which is now La Mega Cleveland and also became the Young Latino Network’s first employee. I now work as a Financial Analyst in Statistics & Analysis at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.

SMDP: What does a typical day as a Financial Analyst look like?

Maria: When I was first hired, I worked in the credit risk management department and my job was to help with their Paycheck Protection Program Liquidity Facility (PPPLF) which was created due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In that time, I worked with financial instiutitons directly to supply liquidity through term financing backed by Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans to small businesses. Since then, I have transferred to the statistics and analysis department where my job is to review reports that institutions submit to the Federal Reserve Bank. This includes data analysis, looking for trends, and processing. I am also the co-chair for the Federal Reserve Bank’s Resource Network Group (RNG) called Somos Uno.

SMDP: How did Saint Martin prepare you for the future?

Maria: It gave me an incredible education! Coming out of a public grade school, there was a big gap in knowledge as I entered a private high school. It was definitely challenging at times but the teachers were understanding and did everything they could to catch me up. I specifically am thankful for my senior capstone project. It prepared me so much for college in terms of how to write and set me way ahead of my peers at John Carroll. I still to this day use the same ACE structure I was taught in 9th grade which has stuck with me all these years.

SMDP: Tell me about your Corporate Work Study experience.

Maria: I was fortunate to work at the Cleveland Foundation from 10th-12th grade completing administrative tasks such as filing, copying, setting up conference rooms, and more. It opened my eyes to the nonprofit world and helped me to not only build my network but also gain important professional skills. I am still in contact with my coworkers from the Cleveland Foundation and have used them as resources throughout my professional career. I am thankful for all they have taught me.

SMDP: How have you utilized your Saint Martin network?

Maria: Every time I mention my Saint Martin work experience, I am amazed at how it gives me a foot in the door, especially in a city like Cleveland. While working full time at both the radio station and the Young Latino Network, I came across the job post for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in the Young Latino Network’s monthly newsletter. I reached out to the connection listed who was George Sample, Vice President of People & Culture at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, and we decided to meet even before I even had a formal interview with the company. As he asked about my background, he was excited to learn that I was a Saint Martin student as he is a member of Saint Martin’s Jobs Committee. Not only that but the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is one of Saint Martin’s Corporate Work Study Partners so many of their employees were familiar with the program! It’s almost like I already had an “in” before I even interviewed.

SMDP: Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

Maria: My goal is to continue working at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and hopefully obtain a leadership/management position. The company is really focused on everyone’s growth and providing opportunities, which is exciting. I hope to keep climbing up the chain and am eager to see where I end up.


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