Yangchen Lama ’94 is MB’s 2019 Commencement Speaker

Moses Brown School is pleased to announce that Yangchen “YC” Lama ’94 will be 2019’s Commencement speaker. On Thursday, June 13, 2019, 10:30 a.m., 106 graduating seniors will receive diplomas from the Quaker school founded 235 years ago. Commencement traditionally takes place outdoors in the Grove on Moses Brown’s 33-acre campus. (please note: due to inclement weather the ceremony will take place in the Field House.)

As a child in Nepal, Lama lived 17,000 feet above sea level in the Himalayas with no electricity or running water. At 13, she came to the United States, by herself, as an exchange student at Moses Brown and ultimately graduated with a sterling academic record from Cornell University where she received a BA in International Relations and an MA in Public Administration with a focus on International Finance. She also earned her Certified Portfolio Manager designation from Columbia University and her Certified Financial Planner designation from the College of Financial Planning.

Today, Lama is Senior Vice President of Wealth Management, Certified Portfolio Manager, and a Family Wealth Director at Morgan Stanley’s Beverly Hills office. She has been recognized as one of the Top Wealth Advisor Moms in the country by Forbes andWorking Mothers in 2017 and 2018. She was named a 2019 Five Star Wealth Manager in the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal, and Forbes.

Lama gained her first access to education in Nepal via the nonprofit organization Hands in Outreach, which provides young girls with educational sponsorship for their primary and secondary educations. Lama currently serves on its board, believing passionately in HIO’s work to help children and provide access to education for girls in Nepal.

Lama strongly believes in giving back to her community and the world at large. She continues to champion access to quality education for children here in the States and abroad. For the past 15 years, she has been extensively involved in improving the lives of girls in Nepal through Hands in Outreach, which Moses Brown has part­nered with for its TRIPs program in Nepal. She has also served on several higher education boards in the U.S. to help make colleges and universities more accessible to families from underrepresented socio-economic levels. Lama currently sits on the board of Hands in Outreach and Equality California Institute, an LGBTQ civil rights organization in California, while running a successful wealth management practice focusing on advising high net worth and ultra-high net worth clients on wealth transfer, family governance, philanthropic planning, and other complex disciplines in addition to investment management services. Prior to this, Lama was responsible for managing multi-billion-dollar budgets and financial plans for various governmental agencies and higher education institutions in New York and Los Angeles.

Lama says it was her upbringing which sparked her interest in democracy and money as a cultural / sociological phenomenon; she did not see it in her early years in rural Nepal where people simply bartered or cared for one another. Studying in the U.S., she found free-market capitalism intriguing.

She recalls her Moses Brown experience fondly. “It was a positive experience coming to Moses Brown,” she recalls. “MB was wonderful. Its Quaker philosophy and values made a welcoming experience for me. Being different there was more than OK— it was valued.”

Lama joins a long line of distinguished MB alumni who have returned to speak to graduates, including business owner Tom Chappell ’61, former U.S. Ambassador Chris Hill ’70, Yale law professor / human rights specialist Muneer Ahmad ’89, entrepreneur/fundraiser Ethan Ruby ’93, writer/editor Joyce Chang ’94, entrepreneur Wiley Cerilli ’98, journalist/Ebola survivor Ashoka Mukpo ’99, and comedian Tom Cotter ’82.

Note:On Wednesday, June 12, Lama will be having lunch with MB students who traveled to Nepal to provide service this past year.