Co-founder of a new scholarship, Hilili’s drive pays it forward for USF women

Fadwa Hilili

Fadwa Hilili

As a financial auditor and certified public accountant, Fadwa Hilili has excelled at TECO, which commits itself to being a learning organization. Now Hilili is helping others follow in her footsteps with a scholarship she co-founded at the University of South Florida – the higher-learning institution that helped her get her foot in the door of a great career.

Hilili is one of four USF graduates who established the Forward Scholarship for Women of Excellence. Each member of the group – which includes Puja Patel, Anna Morra and Giselle Lara – pledged $1,250 to launch the scholarship to benefit women studying Accounting at USF with a financial need.

With the contributions from others, the total scholarship amount is $5,000; its first recipient will graduate this semester.

“TECO has enabled me to succeed in my role at the company, and that in turn puts me in a position to be able to help students in need,” Hilili said. “For talented women who have the drive to pursue an accounting-related career, financial hardship shouldn’t have to be a barrier to achievement. That’s our vision for this scholarship.”

Founders of the Forward Scholarship for Women of Excellence, from left to right: Puja Patel, Anna Morra, Hilili and Giselle Lara. Photo by Matt May/University of South Florida Foundation

Founders of the Forward Scholarship for Women of Excellence, from left to right: Puja Patel, Anna Morra, Hilili and Giselle Lara.
Photo by Matt May/University of South Florida Foundation

TECO has a deep and longstanding connection to USF, from its College of Engineering that provides a steady stream of talent for our workforce to major honors for TECO team members – along with programs to help our people stay safe, green technology initiatives and much more.

And now Hilili has strengthened that connection with the Forward Scholarship for Women of Excellence – with it founders’ next goal to grow the scholarship to $25,000 so it can be endowed and benefit women in perpetuity.

“The future needs female leaders in accounting, and that goes for TECO as well,” she said. “It’s an honor to work for an organization that prioritizes education for its team members and for the next generation. I’m especially grateful to have had the opportunity to work with people who have supported me in this endeavor.”

Jeanie Chmelir, manager of Audit Services with TECO, said Hilili’s initiative goes beyond the tangible benefits of helping female students further their education.

“Fadwa is a shining example of the kind of company that TECO is – one whose employees look for new and better ways to strengthen the community,” she said. “Not only that, but an effort to pay it forward of this caliber makes her a role model for other young women who will be inspired to do something similar as their careers progress. She makes us proud!”

USF students interested in learning more about the Forward Scholarship for Women of Excellence should talk to their academic advisor. For anyone interested in donating to the scholarship fund, contact Hilili by email.

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4 Responses to Co-founder of a new scholarship, Hilili’s drive pays it forward for USF women

  1. Susan Luis-Jorge says:

    Wow! What a shining example you are.

  2. Deborah B. Smith says:

    I agree with Michelle. This is Awesome!

  3. Michelle Eastley says:

    Fadwa, this is AWESOME! What a great contribution to the future young women in business.

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