Elizabeth “Betsy” McNeilly loves her career because it gives her the chance to have conversations about giving life more meaning through charity.
The West Windsor resident is a Senior Director of Wealth Management with BNY Mellon Wealth Management. Betsy is a Certified Financial Planner with an MBA in Finance from NYU and 30 years of related experience in wealth management.
“I manage complex investment portfolios at BNY Mellon and earlier in my career I was CFO for a large, privately-owned company – wealth planning is second nature for me,” she said. “My diverse professional experiences taught me the power of planning to positively influence wealth outcomes and I am highly motivated to make a broad impact in my community with these planning skills.”
That’s why Betsy is so enthusiastic about her volunteer work. Betsy is a member of the Princeton Area Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees and its Fund for Women and Girls’ Leadership Team. Both roles give her the chance to give back to her community and empower others to do the same.
“Participating in the efforts of the Community Foundation has been transformative for me,” she said. “My heart belongs to the community.”
Several years ago, Betsy was urged to get involved as a volunteer by Susie Wilson, a longtime member of the Community Foundation and the Fund for Women and Girls. She became a very active member of the group and appealed to her employer, BNY Mellon Wealth Management, to become a supporter of the Fund’s annual luncheon.
Earlier this year, she was appointed to the Community Foundation’s Board of Trustees. In this role, Betsy worked with BNY Mellon Wealth Management to become a corporate sponsor of the Community Foundation’s Philanthropy Education Series, supporting their new strategic vision for the Greater Mercer Community.
“BNY Mellon’s past support for the Fund for Women and Girls is something I have been very happy about, particularly because, in general, corporate support for community initiatives has been waning in recent years,’’ Betsy said. “And, having BNY Mellon step up to sponsor the Philanthropic Education Series is just incredible because we all need to focus on reducing childhood poverty in Mercer County.”
Besides giving her time, Betsy works to bring awareness about the needs of the community to others in her circle of friends and colleagues.
“When I think about how I give back, it’s two-fold. I use my professional success to focus BNY Mellon’s support in a meaningful way in the greater Princeton area. And, I lead by example in my community, influencing others to think about the people who live around them who have less,” she said.
Betsy and her husband, Bernie, the COO of a New York-based engineering company, embraced that philosophy while raising their three children. They wanted to give Kerry, Sarah and Jack a sense of the greater good and the gift of perspective.
Growing up, their children ran food drives for local charities, packed back-to-school backpacks for children in need, and volunteered as camp counselors for years with the Special Olympics. While in high school, Sarah became involved with the Fund for Women and Girls.
“It totally changed the way she looked at life,” Betsy said, explaining that Sarah, now a pre-med student studying health policy at the University of Chicago, has become passionate about the public health sector. Sarah volunteers to teach ACT classes to high school students on the Southside of Chicago and is involved in research to address health disparities in the city.
“I am so thankful that through the Community Foundation Sarah learned that she has the power to find a meaningful career that can also help launch others in such a positive direction. It was most certainly a win-win,’’ she said.
Where did Betsy’s perspective come from?
“Everyone who knows me knows it’s my mother,” she said, laughing.
Both of her parents taught their five children to strive for achievement, but to reach back to help others as they looked ahead, she said.
“Life is bigger than what you do, professionally speaking. It’s about how you relate in the world,’’ she said. “I care about professional success, but also about how I relate in the community – charity is part of my overall legacy.”
“I hope to accomplish impact in underserved communities,” she said. “That is my goal. I hope to impact those communities both with the dollars I give and by serving as a role model for people who may have the same perspective.
“What a wonderful place we live in that we actually have a Community Foundation where people care. It’s very fulfilling when you find that you have this common interest with people who want to change the world a little bit. It’s nice to know that you can have impact, and modeling that type of behavior could make it a better place.”