Business leaders get involved 

Merrill Lynch employees serve as Principals for a Day, and beyond.

November 10, 2008

On October 30, 2008, more than 1,600 corporate, community, and civic leaders participated in the Chicago Public Schools 12th annual "Principal for a Day" (PFAD) program. As lead sponsor for the third year in a row, Merrill Lynch employees visited local schools and shadowed principals through their daily routine to experience the triumphs and challenges of running a public school, as well as discuss with students the importance of financial literacy.


Sharon Oberlander, Senior Vice President and Wealth Management Advisor for Merrill Lynch, was one of several Merrill Lynch employees who spent a day as principal and program co-chair at Asa Phillip Randolph Elementary School, 7316 S. Hoyne Ave. Oberlander said the Principal for a Day program is immensely important to the future of our children and their education, especially in today's current financial and economic environment.


"The most important investment young people can make right now is investing as much of their time and energy into getting a great education because that opens all the doors," she said.


For Merrill Lynch, the program has achieved its goal of getting business leaders to go beyond the one day of involvement in schools and forge long-term partnerships for the future. It has served as a springboard for Merrill Lynch in Chicago to work with local public schools on other initiatives, including the firm's "Investing Pays Off" financial-literacy program and the Global Classrooms partnership with the United Nations Association of the United States of America.


Local Merrill Lynch employees have also solidified their involvement with various Chicago Public Schools by forming ongoing relationships. After serving as a Principal for a Day, Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor Joel Kendall has made return visits to Benjamin E. Mays Academy, 838 West Marquette Road, and has donated more than 150 books to the school.


Last year, as part of the Global Classrooms program in Chicago, Geoff Centner, Regional Sales Manager for Merrill Lynch, who also serves as the local Merrill Lynch coordinator for Principal for a Day, teamed up with former Chicago Cubs player and Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks. They took 15 local high school students and 35 international students to a Cubs baseball game—for some of them, it was the first time they'd seen a live game, and they got the chance to meet and listen to legendary stories from Banks.


Learn more about Principal for a Day.