FWSF’s First Annual International Women’s Day Event was a Sellout and a Success!

By Kathy Wheadon, FWSF Alliances Program Chair

True to the IWD tagline, #PressforProgress, over 100 women gathered the afternoon of March 8 at Golden Gate University to explore the challenges that women face in their careers, especially in finance…and discuss ways to overcome the inevitable obstacles we face.

IWD Event

The afternoon was kicked off with a fireside chat with Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, chair and president, Charles Schwab Foundation. Debbie Messemer, Carrie’s long-time professional friend and managing partner, KPMG Bay Area Market, chatted with her in a capable and warm interview. Carrie shared her career experiences and some great advice for women in financial businesses. She cautioned us to make sure that our values are aligned with the company where we work—great advice in this day and age!

Addressing Gender Bias, Work/Life Integration and Negotiation Skills

Next up experienced moderators and subject matter experts facilitated a series of roundtable discussions. Topics included gender bias, work/life integration and negotiation skills. The facilitators shared with attendees ideas, tools and a vision to handle the challenges women face around these topics. Michelle Angier and Janet Niwa of Exponential Talent led the gender bias workshop. The negotiation skills sessions were delivered by Kristi Royse of KLR Consulting and Sue Bunnell of Wells Fargo. Three colleagues from KPMG, Paige Venable, Homa Saghafi and Melissa Blach, facilitated discussions around tools to find better work/life integration. Each participant in the IWD program had a chance to attend all of these sessions.

After learning hands-on methods how to address those topics, everyone re-assembled for an esteemed panel. The buzz and enthusiasm was evident from the loud chatting and connecting in the auditorium. Led by amazing moderator by Sheila Lewis, of Ashton 212, the panel delivered beyond FWSF’s wildest expectations. Many attendees were overheard commenting that it was the best panel they had ever heard. Helen Russell, CEO & founder of Equator Coffee, told a compelling story and everyone enjoyed hearing it—an entrepreneurial angle really came through and resonated. Kathleen Dunlap, former CEO of Girls Who Invest, made the case for more women in portfolio management and delivered a perfect message for many in the audience. Dianne Sandoval, investment manager, Asset Allocation and Risk Management at CalPERS, and Carolina Nunez, vice president and regional news director at Univision, shared their inspiring tales as first- and second-generation immigrants to the U.S. (also very topical in our current environment!). Their lively discussion propelled everyone into a great hour of networking over wine and appetizers.

FWSF was incredibly proud to take part in this globally significant day together with our members, sponsors and volunteers. Everyone who attended felt empowered to #pushforprogress to achieve gender parity for ourselves, our colleagues, our daughters and our friends. We look forward to our program in 2019 — stay tuned for details


FWSF has other exciting events coming up. Check out our Events Calendar  https://financialwomensf.org/events/.

Also, we are always looking for attendees who want to provide a summary of the event. If you volunteer, you can attend free of charge. Contact Anne Evers, VP MarComm, if interested: anne@aeversco.com

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