“I had the time of my life at Peddie,” Chavon Sutton ’99 began, sitting with 20 Peddie students in Coates-Coleman Alumni House. Sutton came to campus to share her experience in the financial services industry, and while she did encourage students to explore careers in finance, she emphasized the importance of trying new things and seeking out exciting experiences to make the most of their Peddie experience.
In her time at Peddie, Sutton was active in every sphere. She was a prefect, played varsity lacrosse and varsity field hockey, joined clubs and sang and acted on the Peddie stage. “Anything I wanted to do, I was able to do while I was a student here.”
Sutton also participated in the Principio Project, the precursor to the current Signature Experience Program. At the age of 16, Sutton traveled to Trinidad to study AIDS at the Caribbean Center for Epidemiology, where she conducted interviews, made and edited videos and built her project from scratch. “It was just a fascinating experience to be a young person there by myself getting access to these people, with all of Peddie behind me.”
Sutton graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania, obtained a Master’s in Journalism from NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute and an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business. Her practical interest in how money is made and managed led to a career in finance. She became a financial analyst at Bank of America, then became a reporter for CNNMoney.com and eventually became the Vice President at J.P. Morgan. She recently took on an independent consultant role at Momentum Advisors. All of that, and she’s also a classically trained soprano and a board member of the Hyde Leadership Charter School. “I’m a believer in bringing your whole self into your work and everything that you do,” said Sutton. “As a student here at Peddie, I was an artist and a creative person, and I still do that today. So I sing, I do some acting, I do it all, whenever I can, as much as I can. It’s my passion. I think that having that passion and maintaining those passions makes you a stronger employee and a stronger entrepreneur. It all adds to who you are as a person.”
For students seeking success in finance, or any field, Sutton advised, “Don’t chase money, don’t chase prestige. Just find things that you’re interested in. Find people to talk to and ask a lot of questions and try not to be propelled to do it just because there’s a wave of other people doing it. There’s so many interesting and fascinating things you can do all over the place and what I’ve learned in my experience is that you’ll be OK. I mean, you went to Peddie. You’ll go to a great college. You’ll be fine. So do what you’re really passionate about and what you’re truly interested in. That’s corny,” she said, laughing. “But it’s the best advice I’ve got. It’s the easiest way to maintain happiness in what you do.”