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SGA first lady

eing the first female president of the University’s Student Government Association (SGA) helped Jean McMenamin Edelman ’81 develop the skills to become a leader in the high-stakes financial field.

For Edelman, serving in the SGA’s highest post wasn’t about breaking the gender barrier—it was about knowing she could do a great job. “It was a very natural progression,” said Edelman. “It was the right time, the right year and I had a lot of support from the students and the SGA.”

Edelman values the financial responsibilities the SGA presidency gave her. “I had a lot of opportunities to make real-world financial decisions on behalf of the students and the SGA,” said Edelman. “Bob Collard ’66, ’68 (the University’s former associate vice president for administration) and I would do the SGA’s banking together. We would check the current interest rates, pick a maturity and roll over the SGA’s certificates of deposit. None of my friends at other schools ever had this type of opportunity. The whole experience has done a lot for me.”

Those experiences have translated well to her business life. She is the chief operating officer at Edelman Financial Services (EFS). Edelman and her husband, Ric Edelman ’80, started EFS in 1987 and today it is one of the fastest growing financial planning firms in the country. In 1994, Edelman and her husband each received the University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.

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