Kristi Ross: A Champion for Change

"Empowerment" - the ability to give someone more control over their life - was a theme that resonated with some 75 guests who gathered on September 18 to hear Kristi Ross explain the reasons for dough, Inc.'s success in financial online media and DIY investing at a breakfast hosted by Midtown Educational Foundation. 

Ross and her partners have pioneered the development of two new businesses, tastytrade and, which are giving new and seasoned traders alike fun educational programming and an innovative trading platform that's visual and highly interactive. 

"We saw gaps in the marketplace and set out to make finance fun, clear out the noise, and create actionable, investable content," said Ross. "Customers can actually watch other traders live, in real-time, and learn in the process." 

The company's intent isn't to replace advisers, she said, but rather to help customers learn more about the markets themselves.

In many ways, dough, Inc.'s approach to investor education mirrors MEF's approach to youth development. Metro and Midtown programs close the achievement gap for students who need a boost. They supplement a child's education at the core by teaching virtue. And staff, tutors and advisers empower students to reach higher and achieve more by building self-esteem and confidence. 

Just as dough, Inc. is making a material difference in the world of finance today, MEF is making a world of difference in the lives of 1,000 at-risk Chicago children every year. 

Special thanks to Laura Van Peenan, managing director of investment banking at William Blair & Company, for introducing Ms. Ross, moderating the Q&A, and being a true champion for MEF's work with Chicago's urban youth.