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Shunda Robinson smiles with students from UNT and UT-Austin.
Shunda Robinson (center) celebrates with students of the Young Women's Leadership Academy.

GM Financial Presenting Sponsor of Young Women’s Leadership Academy Senior Signing Day

Each year, the Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLA) of Fort Worth hosts a Senior Signing Day to celebrate its students acceptance to college. For the first time, GM Financial was the presenting sponsor of the event, which took place at Coyote Drive-In. While the event is usually held indoors, this year’s drive-in movie theater setup allowed for attendees to socially distance and remain safe.

GM Financial began building a relationship with YWLA four years ago, providing curriculum content from its financial wellness program, KEYS® by GM Financial. Since then, the company has hosted numerous college fairs, mentorship programs and professional development trainings for the school, which serves as an important local recruiting partner for both its internship program and professional job openings. This year’s senior GEMS (Girls Excelling in Math and Science) were especially meaningful to GM Financial, which has watched this group grow and mature from freshmen into accomplished high school graduates.

“Over the past four years, we’ve been both proud and fortunate to build a relationship with this incredible school and its even more incredible students,” said Susan Sheffield, Chief Financial Officer of GM Financial. “Nearly 60% of GM Financial’s workforce is women, which is why it is critical we continue supporting women in STEAM fields. Not only is YWLA of Fort Worth our downtown neighbor, but they serve as an important talent pool for our company. I have often said that the YWLA GEMS represent some of the best and brightest talent in Texas, and they continue to affirm that belief. Our investment in them is an investment in our future.”

This year’s senior class achieved a 100% acceptance rate to a four-year college or university, and 77% will be first-generation college students. In total, the class earned $7.5 in academic and merit-based scholarships.

Shunda Robinson, GM Financial’s Global VP of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I), spoke during the ceremony about the importance of YWLA’s diversity amongst their students. She encouraged each of them to continue surrounding themselves with different people from different backgrounds and to keep DE&I at the forefront when they begin their career search during and after college.

At the end of the ceremony, YWLA graduates learned they would each receive a new laptop to help them better prepare for their college journey. This gift was made possible by a generous donation from Dell Technologies.

“As a company born in Texas, we are so proud to contribute to YWLA's efforts in Fort Worth, recognizing these female leaders as they prepare for the jobs of the future," said Jessica Anderson, Director of Strategic Giving, Dell Technologies. "We believe that technology and digital skills create enormous opportunities for our local communities, our economy and future generations.”

Taylor Crabtree
By Taylor Crabtree, GM Financial

Taylor Crabtree likes to focus her writing talents on community engagement efforts. On the weekends, you’ll probably find her outside playing tennis or taking her Newfoundland for a car ride.

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