Gratitude In Action

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The power of gratitude might not get much attention, but talk with Kayleigh Lavender ’17 and you might realize it should.

Lavender was recovering from a traumatic brain injury when, on a whim, she applied to a Deutsche Bank diversity program for women and minorities. “It sounded interesting,” she said.

She interviewed with Joanne Restivo Jensen ‘84 and the two formed a close bond. Getting to know a top-level banker inspired Lavender. “I feel really blessed to have that,” she said.

Jensen was similarly impressed by Lavender. “She’s really good at what she does,” Jensen said. “She’s phenomenal — an impressive young woman.”

In August, Lavender finished her second summer internship with Deutsche Bank, in New York City, working as an asset and wealth management analyst.

Lavender learned how important financial planning is in today’s volatile global market, how it stabilizes homes and families, and builds an economy.

“I truly want to be on the forefront of change. I suppose I want to be a source of innovative ideas. Moreover, I want to provide opportunities for other ILRies as my mentor has for me,” she said, referring to Jensen.

Lavender said, “I’m very thankful for the insight and the perspective I’ve gotten from this education. ILR really fosters being a whole, well-rounded person.”

Lavender is also a mid-distance runner for the Cornell Women’s Track & Field Team. Juggling athletic and academic responsibilities can be challenging, but, “it gives my day structure” and provides a physical and mental release.

Like an internship, “You get out of it what you put into it,” she said.

Similarly, Lavender looks at her head injury as an opportunity. “I’d never say I’d wish it upon anybody, but it has been positive in some ways,” she said. “It’s given me direction.”

Just before her sophomore year, she sustained the serious injury and took a semester off to recover. She has since returned to pursue her athletic endeavors and graduate in May of 2017 as originally planned.

Her parents were worried, but “I felt more motivated by it,” Lavender said. “I saw it as an opportunity to reflect upon myself and my goals. That’s when I decided to apply for the internship.”