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Finance alumna invests in philanthropic efforts

eileen salisAs a child, Eileen Salis (BSBA ’07) earned extra spending money by cutting out articles from The Wall Street Journal and Investor’s Business Daily for her dad. “I also participated in the Tulsa World’s “Pick-a-Portfolio” contest each year and received many lessons from Dad on topics every kid dreams of learning about: trend lines, key indicators to watch, dividend payments and constant reminders to buy and hold.”

Salis also says she’s been involved in philanthropy efforts for as long as she can remember. “Whether it was working with my family at shelters, organizing meals for the homeless with my church or high school, my experiences have been vast and varied and are some of the most memorable times of my life.”

Today, Salis enjoys a successful business career in Zurich, Switzerland, and uses her professional skillset to give back through an international organization called 100 Women in Finance.

Her journey to Switzerland began at TU. Salis started out as a pre-med major, but given her childhood interests, it’s no surprise that she eventually found her way to the Collins College of Business to pursue a major in finance.

She recalls the professors who served as mentors: “Dr. Rick Burgess had a great teaching style and made sure we grasped even the most complicated of concepts, not to mention a superior sense of humor and the patience of a saint!” She adds that Professor Richard Gebhart managed to make statistics likeable. “And my wonderful adviser, Rick Arrington, probably deserves a medal for getting me to the finish line and serving as my therapist, disciplinarian and unwavering cheerleader,” she quips. “They each had their own unique approach and methods that made an important impact on my life.”

About six years after graduating and starting her career in Tulsa, life led Salis to Zurich for a short-term contract with an asset management firm. “My brother, Thomas Merrick (BSBA ’95, MBA ’97), was part of the executive management team and made the opportunity come to fruition. A three-month contract turned into what is now my seventh year in Switzerland.” She notes that TU played a hand in her move to Zurich, as her brother landed his job due to an introduction by Burgess. “Without that initial connection to Switzerland, who knows where I would be today,” she says.

Salis now manages client relations, marketing and communications for Mensarius, an asset management boutique firm. During her time in Switzerland, she’s also become heavily involved in philanthropy efforts. She initially joined 100 Women in Finance, a global network of professionals in the finance and investment industries who work together to empower women at every stage of their careers, to grow her own professional network. Members serve as mentors to new graduates and those looking to reenter the workforce.

Now a part of the organization’s philanthropy committee, Salis works to raise money for charities focused on women’s and family health, education and mentoring. “We have a global network of more than 15,000 members — including men and women — with 21 locations, and we are thriving,” she said. “Since our inception in 2001, we have raised close to $40 million. It takes time and commitment outside of work, but the benefits of new connections, impact and reach we have made makes it absolutely worth it.”