Vicki Humston-Casas has made her mark in the field of finance, but it is the writing ability she developed at Park School that gave her a professional head start when she joined Fidelity Investments 21 years ago.
Humston was hired by Fidelity’s office in Boston shortly after graduating from Allegheny College in 1992. During her first year there she approached her boss with some suggestions on how the company could modify an employee rewards program. The boss asked her to write a proposal, which they presented to a company vice president.
“The VP read it and he looked over at my boss and he said, ‘You didn't write this, did you? Who wrote this?’” Humston recalled.
“My boss told him, ‘Vicki wrote it.’ And he said, ‘I knew you didn't write it, it’s way too good.’”
Humston says she honed her writing skills at Park, particularly in history classes taught by Stephen Dombrowski.
“That's what I got from Mr. Dombrowski, it was the writing,” she says. “He made us write a lot. It seemed at the time like a ton of work, and we were always doing reports. I was classic about delaying it to the last minute. But because of that, I can write very easily; even under the gun I usually write pretty well.”
Both Vicki and her younger brother, Robert, attended Park from pre-kindergarten all the way through 12th grade. Now that she and her husband, Kevin Casas, are the parents of two young children, Vicki says she has a new perspective on the value of her Park education.
“Here in Texas we’ve been starting to learn about the school systems,” she said. “And here it’s a lot about learning to the test, the state exams, and everything. They’re just teaching them what the need to know for the test. It’s not so much trying to help kids really just learn what they want to learn. It’s so different from the approach at Park.”
After graduating from Park in 1988, Humston attended Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., where she studied economics. She then moved to Boston to look for a job and was hired by Fidelity.
She has worked in various groups and divisions at Fidelity, all in the finance world. She relocated to the Dallas office in 2000.
“I’m still not sure if finance is what I ultimately want to do,” she says.
The most rewarding parts of her job, she says, are managing people and becoming a mentor to younger colleagues.
“Fidelity is such a good company to work for that people stay here for a long time,” she said. “So while 21 years may sound like a long time, the truth is there are so many people who have been here as long if not longer. One of the vice presidents down the hall from me is at 31 years and another friend upstairs has been here for over 22.”
This year, Humston is mentoring three people in two different programs at Fidelity. In her desire to help younger colleagues there is perhaps an echo of her days at Park, where she fondly recalls the activities that united students from the lower and upper schools.
“With the seniors and the younger kids there was the Halloween Parade, there was Zoo Day, and there was the student assembly that was done for the seniors,” she says. “The younger students did an assembly for the older ones. I remembered all that from doing it as a little kid and I really looked forward to having those things for myself as a senior.
“There were all those traditions, which I really appreciated. They were so important to me growing up. I looked forward to each milestone.”
Vicki and her husband are the parents of a 4-year-old girl, Kory, and a 2-year-old boy, Max. To help her keep up with them as well as her full-time job, Vicki is a runner and takes a fitness boot camp class. In a perfect world, she says, she would be a full-time globe-trotter.
“When we can, my husband and I like to travel,” she says. “Hawaii was where we got married and my children’s godfather lives there. We try to go back to Hawaii every other year or so.
“Our kids love to travel. They are just like us. If we could travel all the time, that's what we would do.”