Today, gender equality is in the spotlight like never before. The #MeToo movement has encouraged countless women to share their stories about being harassed at work—myself included. Powerful men have lost their power, while powerful women (hi, Oprah) are putting their platforms and their money into stopping workplace harassment and abuse. It’s been incredible. And it’s just the beginning.
Looking beyond investment banking, it is also worth pointing out that two of the most influential positions in the financial world are currently held by women, namely Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, and Janet Yellen, who in 2014 succeeded Ben Bernanke at the helm of the US Federal Reserve. These examples only go to prove that when women set their minds to a career in finance, absolutely no heights are unattainable.

MS. HAILE: Finance being the major constraint, I don't think it's the only one. Of course, we'd have to design strategies that women have access to finance. But again, women entrepeneurs being community caretakers, there's so many obligations in place with playing multiple roles. I believe that the business environment has to be women- friendly, starting from the policy. So, everything has to be there for them to start and to expand their business for those—particularly the young ones, who also want to start new businesses. So, equally important as finance, I believe there are so many constraints that hamper women to expand in business or start a business. The cultural barriers when it comes to my country and in our continent and elsewhere. The access to markets, the information available, disposable at their facilities close to them because of the particular role they're playing. So, I believe we have lots of things to do. And at the moment I'm here now being part of the Global Ambassadors Program I sincerely would like to thank Bank of America. I don't think many do it like this, partnering with institutions like Vital Voices .

According to a recent Huffington Post blog post by Alexander Kjerulf, founder and Chief Happiness Officer of Woohoo inc, “Way too many people hate their jobs. Exactly how many is hard to say, but depending on which study you believe, somewhere between 20 percent and 40 percent of employees are miserable at work.” Kjerulf goes on to say that hating your job can weaken your immune system, make you gain weight, rob you of sleep, ruin your personal relationships, and even increase your risk of serious illness. Not a good way to ring in the New Year!


Who among us doesn’t want a loftier position with a more impressive sounding title and a higher salary, regardless of where we currently work? The truth is, this isn’t always an immediately attainable reality for everyone—maybe you’re just getting started at your current job and it’s too soon to start thinking about a promotion, or maybe the place you work at is small and there’s no clear upward trajectory. Whatever the reason, if you’re seeking a promotion and there’s no obvious path for growth for you in your current job, perhaps this means you should make a more drastic change as part of your New Year’s resolution planning.
Okay, we have an absolute fantastic program. I think you will find we have discussions that will be inspiring. They'll be moving, they will be thought-provoking, and we have dynamic women here who can really show how they have contributed to driving social and economic impact and improvement for women. So, we have a renowned educator here, we have innovative entrepreneurs, and we have women who have built bridges between businesses, government, and nonprofits. And so, let's just get right started. We will start with Christy Turlington Burns, who is the Founder and CEO of Every Mother Counts, and Andrea Smith, our very, Bank of America's very own. She's the Chief Administrative Officer. We'll hear from Christy as far as the important work that she is doing to advance maternal health, and the role that women play in investing in economic and social issues to continue to make sure we're driving the right level of progress. So, with that we're going to show one more quick video and we will turn it over to Christy and Andrea. Thank you.
MS. NELSON: All right. Katerina, I want to, I want to come back to you and some of what you were talking about about the power of mentoring and partnership, and also bring together a strand that Melanne was talking about earlier, the idea of needing networks, and how valuable networks are. And one of the things that we've found at Vital Voices, because ultimately what we are is a network of 15,000 women leaders around the world, across different sectors, as well as mentors and others, and what we've definitely seen is that there's something about women being part of a non-competitive and non-hierarchical network, that it encourages women leaders to take risks that they wouldn't have normally taken. Can you talk about, I mean did you have that experience? I mean I know you're sort of a risk-taker by design, as an entrepreneur you have to be. But I'm curious, I mean what's next for you and what has, what has been unleashed through gaining more support and mentoring?
Do what you can to learn about investing now, because estimates show that women control 51 percent of wealth in the U.S. and are projected to control two-thirds by 2020, according to a Fidelity study. Yet women are more likely to say that "lack of investing knowledge or experience" and "too much information, or complexity of investing" are reasons they feel less confident, according to a Capital One investing survey. Consider taking an online investing course, downloading a podcast or wading through a book. (Warren Buffett's favorite is "The Intelligent Investor.")
It is definitely doable. I am acquainted with one female at Barclays(some of you might know who I'm talking about) who has managed to wield a massive amount of influence over the company as an associate to where she is more or less a gatekeeper for MBA recruiting. She's very direct, very professional, and very people smart...and she didn't get to where she is by trying to by imitating someone else. She crafted and managed her own unique brand.
Top GWI Takeaway: “An important thing to realize is that there are certain types of financial firms and investment strategies focused on doing some sort of social good. We’ve been learning about ESG investing, which is Environmental, Social and Governance Investing [which refers to three central factors in measuring the sustainability and ethical impact of in investment in a business]. That is something directly designed to make things better, but through the use of financial tools. We also found out about foundations and investing for not-for-profits. All of that combined has shown me that there is still a way to be in finance and pursue some form of public service. I was very interested in law and politics from the social-good perspective, and I’m seeing those worlds align with finance.”
Similar to Raise, Cardpool works as a platform for users to buy and sell gift cards. Buyers can get up to 92 percent of a gift card’s value. Sellers may have to wait a bit longer for their money because, unlike Raise, Cardpool doesn’t post the funds directly to the seller’s bank account. Instead, the payment comes in the form of an Amazon eGift Card or a bank check sent via snail mail.
MS. JOSEFINA URZAIZ: Thank you. First of all, well thank you, I'm very grateful to be here and honored to be part of this as a mentee in this week. Our organizations that lead have the goal to alleviate poverty, and the way we do this is by empowering women in rural communities in Mexico where I'm from. We employ 900 women who hand weave the hammocks from home, so I don't break that family structure. And to give you perspective, each hammock takes about two weeks to weave because they do it in their spare time, and the impact that we have reaches 3,200 people on an everyday basis.
Chelsea Middleton served 8 years as a crew chief on an Army Blackhawk helicopter before Allegiance hired her as a business development VP. She says she “had to grow up fast” and learned you “can’t allow yourself to feel intimidated” in the military. This experience, along with her self-discipline and strong motivation to succeed, come in handy when she talks with people about selling their businesses.
The WII Summit seeks to bring together HBS alumni, industry professionals, and current MBAs for a day of open discussion about the current topics affecting the buy-side community. It is an unparalleled opportunity to meet and network with industry peers and senior women in an open forum and exchange perspectives on how to drive a successful career in investing.
MS. TURLINGTON BURNS: Yeah, I mean I feel into my first career. I was very young. I think I started modeling when I was about the age of my daughter now, which is shocking in a different way. But because my mother is from Central America and I spent my early years traveling a lot around the world, but particularly to Central America I just was really aware of disparities. And coming back and forth from communities abroad and then communities back home because there are also populations with a lot of need here in the U.S. And I think as a young person being able to travel a lot and take that information in I think, you know, it's sort of led me on a path of not knowing exactly what but wanting to be a purpose of use. And so, it took time and I wouldn't have thought my career would take me there, but I certainly got to see a lot of the world through that industry in my work as a model. And then, you know, as soon as I was only a model and I wasn't a student and a model I wanted to go back to school. I knew that like okay this is great and I'm getting a lot of freedom and I have a lot of opportunity but I want to go back to school. So, I think I— things didn't really slow down for me in my career but I made a conscious effort to go back to undergrad in my mid-20s.
MS. SPELLINGS: Absolutely. Well, to set the table, and probably a lot of people in this room know this, but you know, this city, and Raleigh not, is the worst in the United States of America for economic mobility. Raleigh is a tiny bit better, but not much. And so, the gaps are wide here in North Carolina. Here's the good news about that, is because likewise Wake County and Mecklenburg County are some of the highest educated counties in the nation with, you know, 50% higher education attainment with a statewide average in the low 40s. And so, the gaps are very, very wide, and I think, you know, people used to ask me this all the time, if I could wave a magic wand I would start with higher expectations of our children, all of our children, rural children, black children, brown children, poor children. You know? If half the school lunches served today in school cafeterias were tainted and people got sick we would be outraged, it would lead the news today here in this community or nationally. Half of the kids, poor kids getting out of high school nobody seems to, that doesn't matter that much because that's our expectation that it's okay that those children are left behind, to use an old-fashioned parlance that you might have heard before.
The other reason you need to be investing for retirement is that even if you did save every dollar you needed, by the time you got to retirement, the value of money would have fallen and you’ll need more dollars in order to maintain the same standard of living you’d enjoyed previously. The reason for that? Inflation, which raises prices by, on average, 2% or 3% annually. That’s why a gallon of milk might have cost $0.35 when your grandmother was a child and why it now costs $3.50. Here is a visual representation of what inflation does to the value of money over time:
I partipated of WHARTON’s Investiment Competition once and it was when I “fell in love” with business and financial area. Unfortunatly I did not got into the global final, but I got into the 20th first and participated of brazilian finals. It was a very enriching experience for me. I’m still in the second year of High School and intend to participate on it again. Now I’m searching more and trying to discover the best criteria of analisis of maket (what basically what I have to do to go better in the competition, if anyone here is interested in it or has tips, I’d be glad to know more and talk about (: ).
This material does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situations or needs and is not intended as a recommendation, offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security, financial instrument, or strategy. Before acting on any information in this material, you should consider whether it is suitable for your particular circumstances and, if necessary, seek professional advice. Any opinions expressed herein are given in good faith, are subject to change without notice, and are only correct as of the stated date of their issue.
Today, gender equality is in the spotlight like never before. The #MeToo movement has encouraged countless women to share their stories about being harassed at work—myself included. Powerful men have lost their power, while powerful women (hi, Oprah) are putting their platforms and their money into stopping workplace harassment and abuse. It’s been incredible. And it’s just the beginning.
Some more interesting results have been released, in case you're interested in adding it to the list. A recently released PwC article highlights some of the issues women face in breaking into the financial services industry, the basic finding is while involving diverse groups improves business performance - so irrespective of an ethical case there is a business one - many women for instance, still find themselves sidelined with 60% saying financial services firms are not doing enough to encourage diversity.
“TFS Scholarships was inspired by my own father’s experience as an inner-city high school principal, and grew out of the realization that more could be done to support students searching for college scholarships,” said Richard Sorensen, president of TFS Scholarships. “For more than 30 years, TFS has helped students achieve their higher education aspirations by making it easier to find essential funding for college.”
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