Serving San Francisco, East Bay, and Silicon Valley

Pat Yarrington, CFO of Chevron,
 Honored as 2013 Financial Woman of the Year

September 2013

Pat Yarrington"I could have listened to her all day," was the comment heard at our table as everyone stood to applaud Pat Yarrington as she concluded her remarks at the 2013 Financial Woman of the Year Luncheon on September 27th at the SF Hyatt Regency.

Indeed the over 650 attendees at this annual event were both captivated by Pat's remarks and inspired by the stories of this year's ten scholarship recipients.

As Pat noted, the FWSF does such important work helping so many admirable women launch successful careers and providing scholarships to deserving women. In fact, thanks to the many who contributed, this has been a record year for our scholarship fund with over $260,000 raised.

Reflecting on her personal history and the personal compass that helped guide her throughout her career, Pat shared the expectations ingrained in her by her parents to get a good education and to work hard.

Education was a priority in her family, but not the only foundation for her success. The second expectation her parents set was the need to work hard for whatever she wanted in life. And work hard she did, because her education was largely self-financed. This is where Pat finds a strong bond with our FWSF scholarship recipients.

Working hard initially to please her parents, Pat was influenced as well by competition with her older brother. Although interested in a legal career, after years of competing academically with her brother, Pat changed direction and applied to business school when he announced his law school aspirations.  Pat now affirms that was one of her best decisions.

Pat expressed that she does not believe there is one path - one secret to success - that works for everyone. "Our motivations, priorities and capabilities all change as we move through our lives as do our approaches to work."

She shared with those just starting out in their careers the following three guiding beliefs.

First, take the long view. Don't get caught up worrying about climbing the career ladder as fast as you can. Do the best you can today with the job you have now. Exceed expectations today. Results do speak for themselves and nothing is a greater predictor of future success than current success.

Second, people matter. It's more important who you work for than the actual work you do. A constructive, positive manager who challenges and stretches you will ensure you learn more and perform better. Good people want to work for good people, and good people make high-performing teams. This carries over to companies as well, because people are what make the culture of a company and culture matters. Strive to find the right culture fit and to be part of a good team.

Third, have the courage to admit you don't know everything but the confidence to know that you know a lot. It takes courage, especially when you're young and trying to prove yourself, to admit you don't know something. Never apologize for having to ask how or why something works the way it does. Often that question you have may be the same one others have but don't have the courage to ask. 

Pat concluded with comments about the future for young women today and some practical advice. Young women today will have to navigate more uncertainty and volatility than in the past, but they will encounter more innovation, opportunities, and more human progress than ever thought possible. For those just starting out, Pat advises that you find your compass. Hold yourself accountable for finding the path that works for you, one that enables you to achieve all the things that matter to you. Pat emphasized that there are infinite personal compass settings and each person has the opportunity to find their own combination.

The Financial Woman of the Year Luncheon generates much-needed funds for the FWSF Scholarship Program, a program that has contributed to the future of women in finance by awarding over $1.9 million to more than 200 Bay Area women who show promise as future financial leaders.

If you have not already contributed, please visit our scholarship page to learn more and assist us in this worthwhile program.

We look forward to seeing you at the Financial Woman of the Year Luncheon next fall!

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