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BC Senior Juliet Zawedde Learns From World-Renowned Investor

Heights Staff

Published: Thursday, May 3, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01

The Smart Woman Securities (SWS) national organization recently sponsored its annual trip and mentorship program to visit with Warren Buffett in Omaha, Neb. SWS Boston College, founded in 2010 by six women on campus, sent Juliet Zawedde, A&S ’12, to learn from the brilliant entrepreneur and investor. Zawedde was the only BC student chosen, among 20 women from universities such as Harvard, the University of Virginia, and Yale.

SWS, whose first branch was founded on Harvard’s campus in 2005, works to inform women of all academic backgrounds about investment strategies and knowledge for personal growth and financial strength for the future. Through a 10-week seminar and meetings with investors of all types, SWS strives to aid women in becoming more self-sufficient in their future financial endeavors.

Zawedde, co-founder and chief development officer for BCSWS, applied for the opportunity and was chosen to participate in the mentoring program with which Buffett has had a long-standing involvement. The trip, which took place from April 12-14, consisted of visits to local subsidiaries, large corporations based in Omaha, an evening with Omaha-based business executives, and a private question-and-answer session for the women to probe deeper into Buffett’s life and success.

“I thought I was just going to be talking business, business, business, and we did learn about that … but also what I appreciated was that I learned a lot about life,” Zawedde said.

Buffett discussed traditional topics such as what he values in a good business, his views on the financial crisis, good management, and his opinions on the U.S. over the years, but also commented on success being more than just monetary-based.

“[Buffett] is an investor, but he’s very adamant on teaching young minds about life and being more of a mentor to us,” Zawedde explained. “He has a great passion for love and marriage, and his relationship with his dad, who was his mentor.”

Zawedde also discussed Buffett as a person, and how she beat the initial intimidation factor of being in the company of the man Forbes ranked third on the Richest People in the World survey in 2011.

“I was very nervous about what to say … but the minute he sits down, it’s like you’re talking to a regular person,” Zawedde explained. “He was very down-to-earth, very relatable.”

Zawedde also described Buffett as getting onto the same level as the students, and not lecturing, but advising and mentoring.

Zawedde, who hopes to pursue a career in the financial sector, was influenced and encouraged by Buffet’s talks and advice. She described herself as a self-starter, and with an interest in entrepreneurship.

Buffett enhanced Zawedde’s ambitions, but also advised her to learn from the best.

“I really wanted [Buffett’s] advice on what makes a good business,” Zawedde explained. “He really sparked that fire under me that I really can do this if I want, however, you also need to learn from the best. You need mentors.”

Now armed with advice from a world-renowned investor, Zawedde plans to pursue a career in financial services.

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