Alumnae Spotlight: Noreen Miyake-Char, Class of 1993
Noreen Miyake-Char, Holy Child Class of 1993, says she never sought out a career in the investment industry. Rather, the industry found her.
After graduating from The George Washington University with a communications degree, Noreen was working at a temp agency, just as she had throughout college. She talked about her career plans with the temp agency’s owner, who brought up an open position she knew of with her husband’s investment firm, American Asset Management Group, Inc. Noreen knew nothing about the investment world, unless you count the times at Holy Child she used to talk on the phone pretending like she was trading stocks. So, what did she have to lose by interviewing for the position?
She began temping for the firm and two months later was offered the open position of Assistant Research Analyst. Noreen had hard work to do in order to go from a communications degree to the world of finance. After taking the position at AAMG after college, she enrolled herself in Accounting and other business classes at Johns Hopkins University.
“A new and unfamiliar world opened up to me. I always wondered what business school was like and I was excited to explore it,” says Noreen.
She worked full time at AAMG and continued to attend evening and weekend classes, eventually graduating from Johns Hopkins with her MBA in Finance and completed the Graduate Certificate in Investments program. She also passed the Uniform Investment Adviser Law Examination.
Twenty years have passed, and she is still with AAMG, but now as the Director of Investment Operations, Portfolio Manager and co-owner. Currently, Noreen has a diverse client base at AAMG, located in Rockville, MD, from individuals and families to organizations, non-profits and charitable foundations. As part of her position, she’s responsible for AAMG’s securities trading, portfolio reporting and portfolio accounting, which includes stock selection for clients’ portfolios and developing and maintaining several security databases.
The Washington Post and Five Star Professional have recognized Noreen multiple times as a “Five Star Wealth Manager” for the Washington, DC area, and she will be included in this coming November's Fortune Magazine and its “Women in Wealth” exclusive issue. Noreen has also been published in The Wall Street Journal and her story was highlighted in Manila Mail, a Philippine newspaper.
Outside of work, Noreen is involved in The Washington Association of Money Managers, serving as a past president and continues to serve as a board member. She’s also been invited to the New York Stock Exchange trading floor twice for the opening bell and closing bell ceremonies, an opportunity she never would have imagined to be possible.
When Noreen looks back at her experience at Holy Child, Spirit Week, Art class with Mrs. Nemcomsky and Biology with Mrs. Jackson are what stand out to her. Both teachers and classes allowed her to express herself in a way that still resonates today. Another aspect of her time at Holy Child that has continued to guide her: the ability to push herself to try something new and different. After all, she might not have taken the path she did without that desire to try, grow and learn.
Continue reading for more on Noreen, her time at Holy Child and her career!
Tell us about the unique opportunities you’ve had through your work.
“Through my professional networking and affiliations with other organizations, I had the privilege of being invited twice to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) trading floor. My first visit was in May, 2017, two months after giving birth to my second son Nolan. I was invited to the NYSE Trading Floor Podium for the Opening Bell Ceremony, televised on
CNBC. Prior to the Opening Bell Ceremony, I met with Exchange Officials and dined in the Board Room. I even signed my name on the NYSE staircase wall after the ceremony. This was a reality that I did not think was possible for me, and I am still in awe to this day.
For my second visit, I was invited to the NYSE for the closing bell ceremony to "Ring the Bell for Gender Equality" for International Women's Day 2018 celebration. This ceremony was part of a global collaboration across 65 stock exchanges around the world. Organizations such as United Nations Global Compact, United Nations Women and World Federation of Exchanges participated. I was proud to celebrate women’s accomplishments and commitment to gender equality.”
What is your favorite Holy Child memory? Does one teacher or class stand out to you?
“The first memory was Spirit Week. I had so much fun at Spirit Week. I remember dressing up to the themes of the day, the locker rooms being decorated and school wide games in the gym like tug of war and relay races. What an amazing time for all the classes to come together and share our school spirit!
The second memory I would like to share was my experience in Mrs. Nemcosky’s Art classes. It was probably one of the few times in my life where I was able to express myself through the creation of artwork. Paintings I created in her class are displayed in my living room today. I am so proud of them. I also experienced a self-revelation in her class. Most of my artwork reflected my Asian culture. I did not realize this until much later. Through my art projects, I expressed what I knew and liked, and that was my Filipino and Japanese heritage. Mrs. Nem’s Art classes were awesome! I have kept in touch with Mrs. Nem and she has even attended my children’s birthday parties.
The third memory I would like to address was the kindness and dedication of the faculty members at Holy Child. One teacher I would like to highlight was Mrs. Jackson, my Biology teacher. She was kind to me and listened to me. I had the opportunity to reconnect with her during the grand opening party of our new office.”
Is there anything about your Holy Child experience that continues to guide you today?
“Life is about experiences, so never stop learning. At Holy Child, I had the opportunity to try many different things. I remember my three classmates and I competed in the Hughes Hovercraft Competition. We built a hovercraft out of wood, junk parts and trash bags. We were the only all girls team in the entire competition and we broke the record for the fastest hovercraft. The school received a beautiful trophy for our achievement. We were proud to represent Holy Child. I also remember participating in the Volleyball team, for which I received an MVP Award (I am the first to admit that I am not athletic so this was an incredible surprise), and being on the cast of school musicals like ‘Oliver.’ I continue to try new things today to further my knowledge and my career, and maintain the activities that bring me joy. I am active in different organizations outside of my job to learn from others. For many of us, the unfamiliar makes us nervous. The only way to address that is to embrace the unknown. That is where we learn about our true character and how capable we are.”
What is your best piece of advice to a Holy Child student or alumna who is pursuing her career/dream?
“There’s a quote that I hold dear and I want to share it with you.
‘If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.’
As you pursue your dream, you will face many obstacles. Two steps forward, one step back. And at times, one step forward and two steps back. My best piece of advice is to surround yourself with people who mirror the kind of person you want to be and how you want to feel. Surround yourself with people that have ambition and dreams. They will help push you to the next level. Establish your support system. Help each other and catch each other when you fall. To be truly successful, you cannot be an island. Work with those around you and achieve your goals together.”
Written by: Liz Palka Minukas '04
Do you know of a Holy Child alumna with an interesting career, service project, or hobby that we should spotlight? Send suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org!