Serving San Francisco and the East Bay

Behind the Scenes with the Financial Woman of the Year Event Co-Chairs

By Anne Evers, FWSF VP, MarComm

Melissa and DeniseMelissa Maquilan Radic and Denise Rigli, as Financial Woman of the Year (FWOTY) Co-Chairs, are busy coordinating all the pieces that go into putting on an event of this size and caliber. Have you signed up for this inspiring event yet? We thought we’d ask them a few questions about their experience, what they’ve learned and how others might get involved.

Why did you want to be a co-chair of this event?

Melissa Maquilan Radic (MMR): The first FWSF event I ever attended was for the 2015 FWOTY, Carrie Dolan. The luncheon was so inspiring and impactful that I was immediately impressed with the organization and wanted to be involved. I learned how important the FWOTY event is to support FWSF and the Scholarship program, and as I wanted to make a meaningful difference in my time and work for FWSF, I raised my hand at the first opportunity to work on this event. 

Denise Rigli (DR): FWSF was recommended to me by a partner I worked closely with. She highly encouraged me to get involved in the board and I started in the Programs area. After that, I moved onto Sponsorship for two years which gave me a good look into how much effort the FWOTY puts into raising money for our organization. I was so inspired by their giving back that I wanted to be a co-chair of the event to see it all first hand. 

Did you work on the event committee before becoming co-chair?

MMR: No, co-chairing this event is actually my first board position with FWSF.

DR: I worked on other programs, but not the FWOTY.

How far in advance do you start working?

MMR: We started working in January 2018, but for the 2019 FWOTY we are planning to start working on selecting the FWOTY in November/December 2018.  FWOTY co-chair positions are for two years, which is great, because we learn a lot our first year.

How is the FWOTY chosen? Is there a committee?

MMR: Selection for the FWOTY begins months before the event and the initiative is led by the prior FWSF President. The past president arranges a committee comprised of members and board members. This team then convenes to first come up with a list of prominent and accomplished women in finance in the Bay Area. Then over the coming weeks, the committee engages in research on each of the FWOTY candidates to understand the extent and depth of their leadership and commitment to finance, initiatives for women and the community. The committee then votes on the candidate they view as the best FWOTY.

DR: The only thing I'd add here is that we also reach out to former FWOTY to get their insight into others they believe are worthy of recognition. 

What do you enjoy the most?

MMR: The best part of co-chairing the FWOTY event is to have the opportunity to work with the Financial Woman of the Year. These very accomplished women are humble and extremely generous with their time and advice on careers, leadership, and mentoring. It is a great opportunity to meet them and partner on this event.

DR: I had the opportunity this year to sit in on the filming of the interviews that will make up the introductory video. I was surprised by how much goes into making a 5-8 minute video, but it was amazing. We spent the entire day hearing from those closest to Heidi and learning so many unique things we could never have found out on our own. We also were able to see Heidi in her element and she was extremely impressive. Hearing the stories about her leadership and being a pioneer in her industry, but also how down to earth and welcoming she is, was inspiring. I won't ruin any more of what you'll get to see in the video, but our FWOTY is definitely someone I was extremely impressed by and learned a lot from through the stories. 

If someone's interested in working on the event in future years, what's the best way to get involved?

MMR:  The best way to get involved is to volunteer for this year’s event to get a behind-the-scenes understanding of the luncheon. If you have interest in volunteering for the FWOTY luncheon on Sept. 14, 2018, please feel free to contact us! denise.rigli@pwc.com, melmaquilan@gmail.com

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