One clear strength of Franklin & Marshall College throughout its 235-year history is its outstanding alumni. Today, its living graduates number more than 29,000 and stretch around the world. They are leaders at every level, committed to successful careers and meaningful lives.
They also are determined to support F&M and one another, continuing their quest for knowledge as they create the way forward together. While graduates of any age are Diplomats Forever, many of those making a difference in their communities are under 40. Several are featured in banners across the Franklin & Marshall campus and on Diplomats Forever. In this series, we’ll introduce you to a few of our many alumni making a difference.
Dorinda Foster doesn’t shy away from a challenge. After graduating from Franklin & Marshall College in 2009, she went on to earn her law degree from New York Law School and MBA from Syracuse University, which she leverages daily as Vice President of Ethics and Compliance — Market Integrity Domain, Americas Control Room, at BNP Paribas, the largest bank in the European Union.
“I felt confident in my law and business school classrooms because F&M gave me the confidence and comfort to ask questions, to push the envelope, and inquire more,” Foster says.
On April 27, Foster returns to her alma mater to deliver the keynote speech at F&M’s Sophomore Declaration Celebration, where she’ll share some advice and words of encouragement with second-semester sophomores who recently decided which fields of study they will explore in more depth during their final two years on campus.
Foster says she developed her aptitude and positive attitude at F&M, where she was a special studies major — business, psychology, and Africana Studies — and active member of numerous organizations, including the John Marshall Leadership Institute, Orientation Planning Committee, Black Student Union, African Dance Troupe, and SISTERS.
We asked Foster to preview her message to the sophomore class and share how F&M helped prepare her for success during and after college.
What are you most looking forward to when you return to campus in April to speak to members of the sophomore class as they look forward to delving into their newly declared majors?
Foster: I am looking forward to connecting with students who may be nervous about this pivotal moment they have arrived upon in their college career. I'm excited to serve as a source of encouragement and share wisdom and knowledge about navigating these next two years and beyond. What I am most excited about is networking and connecting with students to serve as an ongoing contact and potential mentor as they continue to chart and navigate their own course toward the professional workforce and make their indelible mark in their communities and on the world.
You went on to earn a law degree and MBA after graduating from F&M. How did your undergraduate experience prepare you for the demands of those programs?
Foster: The F&M experience and the demands of its academic programs helped me to craft a strong work ethic. Furthermore, professors at the College train you for critical thinking, but also help to strengthen your writing. I felt confident in my law and business school classrooms because F&M gave me the confidence and comfort to ask questions, to push the envelope, and inquire more. Professors maintained an open-door policy and truly provided the space for me to explore business, psychology, and Africana. The College also provided a balance through a myriad of student-led organizations and volunteer opportunities. I obtained the tools here first, to navigate not only the classroom, but the real world, too.
You’re currently Vice President of Ethics and Compliance — Market Integrity Domain, at BNP Paribas, the largest bank in the European Union. What does a typical day look like for you in that role?
Foster: A ‘typical day’ does not exist at BNP. I can go into the office with intent on handling specific tasks, but given the fast nature of the environment, my time and attention is directed to something else: a real-time issue, a transaction announcing to the market where the firm was involved, discussions with different banking teams on various deals, or other compliance officers on a range of topics — even revamping policies and procedures. I love that my days are not mundane. It keeps my role exciting and keeps me on my toes, and well-caffeinated.
More about Dorinda
Current home: East Windsor, N.J.
Favorite place on the F&M campus: Shadek-Fackenthal Library
F&M research project: Analyzing the Social, Cultural, Economic, and Psychological Forces of Slavery, which focused on the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the role Africans played in the forced movement of millions of Africans
Hobbies and interests: Self-care, cooking, listening to music and dancing with 7-year-old daughter, Taavi, and Therapy for Black Girls