In her first term as state treasurer, Lynn Fitch has made it her mission to make financial education a staple in Mississippi’s schools. “Our young people are afraid of money,” Fitch told the Mississippi Business Journal. “We need to empower them.” So Fitch created a public-private partnership last fall to launch a Web-based interactive financial literacy program in eight high schools. Now with enough money to bring it to every high school in the state, Fitch wants to expand it to middle schools and community colleges.
A graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Law, Fitch was working as a bond lawyer in the 1970s when she met then-Lt. Gov. Evelyn Gandy, who fast became a mentor and lifelong friend. “She’s the one who early on taught me about being a part of the community, about public service and making a difference,” Fitch says. Gandy became the first woman in Mississippi in 1959 elected to a statewide office when she ran for treasurer. More than 60 years later, Fitch became only the third woman ever elected statewide. Fitch, who is running for re-election, notes that Mississippi has yet to elect a woman governor or congressional representative. “When the time comes,” she says, “I’m going to look around and see if there’s somewhere I might be valuable in a different way.”