Investing in Inclusion
Erin Burns Bellissimo ’93 is shaping the next generation of women in finance
by Brooke Thames
When Erin Burns Bellissimo ’93 arrived on Wall Street fresh out of college, the management major had everything she needed to navigate the world of investing. Bellissimo’s early confidence came from Bucknell, where she honed the skills she used to rise in what is still a male-dominated industry.

“I never saw myself as limited in my academic or social opportunities because I was a woman,” says Bellissimo, who was a coxswain on the men’s crew team for four years at Bucknell. “Eventually, there came a point in my career when I wanted to create more opportunities for women to join the field, because the industry is best served by a diversity of thought and backgrounds.”

Erin Burns Bellissimo headshot
Photo: Peter Ringenberg
Erin Burns Bellissimo ’93 is working to help women rise in the investment field.
That’s why she became a founding board member of Girls Who Invest, a nonprofit working to increase female representation in finance. The organization invites rising college juniors from across the country to participate in intensive summer programs hosted annually at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Notre Dame. Students build a foundation in finance through courses taught by industry experts, followed by an internship at one of the program’s partner firms — including Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan.

Bellissimo was the catalyst for the program’s launch at Notre Dame, where she is directing manager of the Institute for Global Investing. As a board member for Girls Who Invest, she uses her experience — which includes time as a hedge-fund manager and director of the Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing at Columbia University — to help shape the program’s hands-on curriculum.

“The whole experience is really based on the idea of experiential learning — bridging theory and practice,” she says. “To build a bigger pipeline for women, we not only need to educate but we also need to provide real-world working opportunities.”