On November 19, 2015 the LaSalle Street Trading Tech Awards will be given out by the Pathway to Adventure Council of the Boy Scouts of America. These are not awards for the shiniest new technology or product, but rather to honor those firms who have shown great heart, foresight and soul in participating in the Trading Tech 300 merit badge workshop program. It is to honor those firms and those individuals who have given young Scouts the opportunity of a lifetime through this program.

More than a year ago, the then Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America asked me to reinvent the flagging LaSalle Street After Hours Affair. The After Hours Affair had replaced the once awesome LaSalle Street Dinner where hundreds of Chicago financial market power brokers and traders would party and celebrate Scouting under a tent on LaSalle Street in front of the Chicago Federal Reserve Building.

The event needed a new start after electronic trading, industry consolidation and other factors have left the industry less collegial, more spread out and ZIRPed.

As I have shared before, it was at a LaSalle Street Dinner event in 2002 that I decided to become a Cub Scout Leader. Single stock futures exchange Nasdaq-Liffe had  invited me to the event, which offered me the opportunity of a lifetime. I decided to get involved in the organization to help my son Tim and his friends get the most out of Scouting.

While Tim and three of his fellow Den mates went on to become Eagle Scouts, I went on to become an assistant scoutmaster, district chairman, scoutmaster and merit badge counselor. I have just added crew advisor to my Scouting resume as my daughter Katherine became part of the Scouting experience as a venture crew member.

The Chicago Area Council gave me the opportunity to help reach even more people through the Scouting movement, including boys, girls and you, our industry. In asking me to reinvent this historic connection between the financial district and Boy Scouts, the Pathway to Adventure Council has given me the opportunity to share the Scouting movement with each of you, especially my friends and industry colleagues in Chicago.

Besides helping with the LaSalle fundraising event, I became involved in promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) to Scouts in Chicago. It was my experience promoting STEM and working with key leaders in promoting innovation in Scouting that I came up with the idea behind Trading Tech 300.

I want to bring scouts into the offices and workspaces of the industry and help connect the two through merit badge workshops in industry participants’ offices. I wanted to help foster a connection between those who use STEM in their work lives and those young people interested in STEM careers. I wanted to show these young people the opportunities right here in Chicago in a key industry.

CBOE - Trading Tech 300 2015

In a similar vein, I remember being given a tour of Harris Bank’s forex trading room back in the early 1980s. It was then that I decided that I wanted to pursue a career in the markets. It was a key moment in my development as a young person in pursuit of a career.

Trading Tech 300 is off to a good start. We have had merit badge workshops at Advantage Futures, National Futures Association, Chicago Board of Trade Building with GlenStar Properties and at the CBOE. Today, Spot Trading will be joining the list.

After the November 19 recognition event, Trading Technologies and XR Trading are scheduled to hold events. Your firm could join the list of firms participating; just email me asking for details.

The statistic at the heart of Trading Tech 300 is this, 80% of Eagle Scouts get their life’s vocation from a merit badge they took. They are getting what they will do for a living from an experience they had when they were 11 to 17 years old.

This is when we need to attract young people to our industry. The earliest Cub Scout age is the same age at which Chicago street gangs begin to recruit. If we want to attract kids away from gangs, guns and drugs in Chicago, we need to compete by offering them a better future.

Trading Tech 300 is just the beginning of delivering that message. But it starts with 30 firms and 10 people willing to change lives and open eyes.

You can support the Trading Tech 300 program by coming to the Trading Tech Awards on November 19. Tickets are $400, but if you promise to make a donation I will find you a ticket if I can. I have a limited supply of tickets to share.

You can have the opportunity of a lifetime, and/or a nice night with some good people. Come on November 19 and pick one or both.

Email me at johnlothian@johnlothian.com for more information

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