Alumnae Spotlight: Giselle Cruz Colavita, Charles Schwab Financial Consultant

Imagine a client approaches you and tells you that they can now retire earlier than expected, or they can comfortably put their child through college because of your guidance. Giselle Cruz Colavita, class of 1996, says those moments with clients are the most rewarding of her career. It’s even better when those clients refer to her not just as their financial consultant, but as a trusted advisor and friend.

Giselle has been helping build financial plans for families and businesses at Charles Schwab for the last 12 years. Finance and investing is not a career path Giselle expected to one day pursue. In fact, she majored in French and minored in political science with an international relations concentration while at Gettysburg College. Her first job out of college was as a research assistant at a venture capital firm in DC. Raised by Argentinean parents who spoke Spanish at home, and after becoming fluent in French, Giselle found being trilingual made her a valuable asset on her firm’s American and European projects.

Through her time at the venture capital firm, Giselle became enamored with investing and the capital markets. Specifically, how venture capitalism allows for someone facing economic and political constraints to make their innovative business idea a reality.

“I saw some brilliant ideas and businesses come to life in the areas of energy, pharmaceuticals and stem cell research,” says Giselle. “All because non-bank lenders provided under-banked segments of the population with access to consumer credit.”

Giselle began studying on her own for the required licenses to become a stockbroker, found a firm to sponsor her, passed the exams – and as the saying goes, the rest is history.

Read more about Giselle, her career and her time at Holy Child below!

What is something about your career you’re proud of?

“I work with families, organizations, endowments and non-profits and am inspired every day by their mission, their stories, and their lives. It is exciting to be able to play a small part in making a family’s dream of financing their children’s education or early retirement possible. Or making a non-profit’s charitable distribution goals possible. Or helping a school’s endowment finance a desired project for its students.”

What is your favorite Holy Child memory?

“There are so many. But if I had to pick one it would be our ring ceremony. I remember my ring sister, Cecilia Nin, and her kindness; signing our class blanket, which my parents were lucky enough to win at the gala that year and I now have it at my home; and getting all dressed up in ridiculous outfits and going to Montgomery Mall. It was a sweet and special day!”

Does one teacher or class stand out to you?

“Senora Meyers’ Humanities class was life changing! I wish I could remember the specific projects that she had us work on because I remember loving them all. But, I’m getting older! What I do remember is that she required engagement and encouraged respectful debate and conversation. She was one of my first instructors to talk about the importance of global awareness and the need to be an engaged citizen. Civic engagement allows ordinary people to influence government and it was fascinating to learn about people that actively challenged the status quo and were able to influence policies that changed the course of history.

Is there anything about your Holy Child experience that continues to guide you today?

“I was a shy teenager when I first got to Holy Child and I did not have a tremendous amount of confidence. Holy Child and my teachers changed the way I looked at myself, so that all of a sudden I didn’t see my differences as flaws but as advantages.”

What is your best piece of advice to a Holy Child student or alumna who is pursuing her career/dream?

“Embrace every opportunity and challenge thrown at you! You never know where it will lead you and sometimes you just have to take that leap of faith. The worst thing that happens is that opportunity or job does not work out for you but opens the door to something better and you have gained valuable experience along the way.”


Spotlight written by Liz Palka Minukas '04

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