The second annual Bonnie Baha Memorial Scholarship, a fund of PCF, has been awarded to Crystal Guerrero (pictured above), a Los Angeles resident pursuing a Master of Science in Finance at the Gordon S. Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California. The Bonnie Baha Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to women pursuing graduate degrees and careers in the financial sector.
Bonnie Baha was a resident of the Greater Pasadena area and a senior portfolio manager and partner of the asset management firm DoubleLine Capital LP. She passed away at age 56 on August 21, 2016. Widely respected for her expertise in corporate credit and fixed income investing, Ms. Baha was devoted to promoting the entry and advancement of women in the financial sector.
With the support of friends and family of Ms. Baha, PCF established and administers the charitable fund in her memory to help address the underrepresentation of women professionals in the financial sector. The fund provides at least one $10,000 scholarship each year to an outstanding woman pursuing a graduate degree in business with plans to pursue a career in finance. Candidates are considered from women enrolled full-time in a finance-related Master’s degree at the University of Southern California. (Ms. Baha received her Master of Business Administration at USC.)
Ms. Guerrero graduated from University of California, Los Angeles with a Bachelor of Science in Applied Mathematics/Actuarial Science. She later went on to pursue a Master of Science in Applied Mathematics at California State University, Los Angeles with the hopes of sharing her interest in mathematics with her community. Ms. Guerrero dedicated the past three years to teaching mathematics at community colleges around the Los Angeles area. She managed a STEM Success Center at Citrus College in Glendora, CA while assisting in the implementation of AB 705 legislation at the ground level. AB 705 is a law that requires California community colleges to maximize the probability that a student will enter and complete transfer-level coursework in English and math within a one-year timeframe. Now Ms. Guerrero has decided to pursue her passion in finance and is eager to begin a career in Corporate Finance.
Ms. Guerrero was selected from a pool of 10 highly qualified applicants. All the candidates had been accepted into full-time Master’s degree programs in business administration, accounting or finance at USC. The award was decided by vote of a selection committee made up of four professionals involved in the financial sector, each of whom personally knew Ms. Baha. The committee members are: Miriam Baha, daughter of Ms. Baha, marketing operations associate at Kayne Andersen Capital Advisors; Monica Erickson, CFA, portfolio manager and head of the investment-grade corporate bond team at DoubleLine Capital LP; Mary Childs, author and senior reporter at Barron’s magazine; and Melissa Weiler, managing director at asset manager Crescent Capital.
The committee members consider academic merit, work history, and financial need among the factors in choosing recipients of the scholarship. The committee found Ms. Guerrero fulfilled all scholarship criteria and were exceptionally qualified by virtue of their academic and personal achievements.
The Bonnie Baha Memorial Scholarship is particularly relevant in light of new studies demonstrating that diversity among leadership teams results in greater innovation and better financial performance. Click here to read a recent report from Boston Consulting Group highlighting the benefits of leadership teams that represent gender, racial, and cultural diversity.