Former Financial Services Exec Helps Students “turn their dreams into reality.”

Apr 20, 2023 | CWSP

For 30 years, Mari-Lou Menezes worked with client companies to develop and implement strategic plans to support their working capital needs and growth including their access to capital markets. As an executive director for JPMorgan Chase & Co. in downtown Chicago, her end goal was to drive sales growth and produce successful outcomes for her clients.

These days, the retired Northbrook resident spends two days a week hunkered down over her computer in a cubicle in the CRSM Corporate Work Study Department. There, she helps grade and coach students on their writing styles for their work-study time card reports. Some days Mari-Lou also mentors students who are either struggling at their current job or who have been removed from their work-study assignment.  She and a team of CWSP coaches use the book Seven Habits of Highly Successful Teens as an outline for these talks.

“I see my role as helping students turn their dreams into reality,” says Mari-Lou. She has been volunteering for CRSM for the last two years. Mari-Lou is one of four CWSP members of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC) Chicago, who volunteer for the work-study program. IVC is an American-Catholic volunteer service which matches volunteers with charities and nonprofits.

“Mari-Lou is very good at encouraging and working with our students,” says Brian Weinberg, Director of the Corporate Work-Study Program.

A native of India, Mari-Lou spent her early career years teaching English in her native country. When she moved to the United States as a young adult, she pursued advanced studies and graduated from DePaul University’s Charles H. Kellstadt Graduate School of Business.

“Mari-Lou brings a unique cultural experience for our students, showing them how she created her own success journey, and they can relate because she too is a person of color,” says Brian. “She’s very good in establishing strong one-on-one relationships with them.”

Mari-Lou says: “I am continually amazed and inspired by how much the students have on their plates to juggle. It seems overwhelming, yet they push through and work hard to achieve. I am honored and grateful to work alongside them.”

CRSM is blessed and truly grateful for volunteers such as Mari-Lou, who give of their time and expertise, and make a significant contribution to our students’ success!