Like Olivia Ott’s, my perception of asset management and finance is not an extremely positive one. Although I really like economics and do consider going into finance, I feel like it is still a male-dominated industry. Sheryl Sandberg says that we women have to “lean in” in the workplace, but that is easier said than done. Even in school, I feel uneasy to speak up in a class dominated by boys, imagine the same scenario, but in the workplace!
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MS. SMITH: More than 200 million women worldwide are running businesses. These are amazing women, and yet there are obstacles that keep these amazing women from reaching their full potential, and that includes lack of access to capital. But the women on this panel are doing something about it, and we're going to talk to them about what they're doing and how they're overcoming those obstacles, and we're going to learn something about it as we go. I want to introduce Josefina Urzaiz, who is the co-founder of Hammock Boutique, and Fundación Cielo in Mexico. Next to her is Nigest Haile, who is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Accelerated Women's Economic Empowerment in Ethiopia. And next to her is Jill Calabrese Bain, and Jill is with Bank of America. She is the Managing Director and Head of Sales for Bank of America's Merchant Services. So, I'm going to begin with Nigest. So, you are the founder of Enat Bank, which focuses on women. Why was it necessary to start a bank for women in Ethiopia?
And I'm thrilled to be joined by some of our past mentees and current mentors for a discussion really about the power of partnership. You know, I think that there's something really profound going on in our world today, and I think that if you look around the world, and it was echoed in all these discussions that we just had, that women are really reaching the highest levels of leadership. And I think they're getting there and they're realizing that, you know, they came a lot further than they anticipated. They have a lot more power, they have a lot more reach than they ever thought would be possible for them in their lives. And the first thing they think is, "How am I going to give back? How am I going to pay this opportunity forward? Engage more people?" And they don't just want to write a check, they really want to give of their time and their resources. They want to open up their networks.
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.
1... biggest advice to any female looking to break into finance... drop the feminista thing, it won't get you anywhere. It's ok to be bitchy, and in fact may help you in certain instances, but don't ever, ever pull the feminist card. There's nothing worse than a person who chalks up their own personal failings to an "anti-me" thing. It's nothing more than an excuse for being a slacker.
When you’re starting out, it’s important to know that, when it comes to investments, there are some no-brainers. The most obvious example is a 401(k) or another employer-sponsored retirement account. Employers often match your contributions up to a certain dollar amount. At the very least try to contribute enough to get the full amount of that match—otherwise you’re essentially saying no to part of your salary.
Remember that there are many different definitions of "retirement." You don't have to attain some preconceived ideal. To reference our survey again, though the largest percentage of our respondents said they planned on a traditional retirement (i.e., leaving the workforce entirely between ages 65 and 70), a significant portion also reported making the forced or unforced choice to put off retirement or transition to a second career.6
To attend, first secure your ticket to FUND Conference here. During the checkout process, you will be asked if you plan to attend WiW. Upon selecting “yes”, a short questionnaire will be emailed to you that will allow us to better pair you for WiW's networking session. Completion of this questionnaire will then secure your spot, and a confirmation email will be sent to you.