Serving San Francisco and the East Bay

“What a wonderful way to build bridges and pay-forward to our next generation. I’m so proud to be a part of FWSF!”

“Before joining a committee, I loved all the great content in the programs that FWSF organizes. After joining a committee, it becomes more comfortable seeing familiar faces and recognizing people at the various events.”

“The pleasure you get from seeing people participate in, and enjoy, our events is enormous.”

Path to the Board: First Step ─ Maximize Your Membership by Joining a Committee

By Anne Evers, VP MarComm

Have you been curious about how you can get more involved in FWSF? Or maybe you want to deepen your relationships with other members? Or perhaps you want to increase your efforts to give back? Have you considered what it would be like to join a committee, especially if you are new to the organization? To new members, joining the FWSF committees or board might seem a bit of a mystery, but in fact, it’s very simple.

Raise Your Hand 

The path to the FWSF board really starts with raising your hand and volunteering for a committee (see info at end of article about whom to contact). Our amazing committee members (quoted above) explain it best; “Attend a committee meeting with no strings attached, see if you like it, and then gradually get involved.” Committee involvement gives you a chance to see how things work. As an all-volunteer organization, FWSF activities are planned, executed, and managed by our committees (see this list https://financialwomensf.org/committees/ ) and board members.

Every year it’s the effort of dedicated and active volunteers who keep FWSF running. From the wide array of programs to signature events like the Scholarship and Financial Woman of the Year luncheons, it takes members who work behind the scenes to plan speaker and networking activities, get the word out about scholarships and manage the process, and raise funds for those scholarships. The time commitment of a committee member varies by functional area and details are outlined in the FWSF committee roles and responsibilities document found here https://financialwomensf.org/committees/ 

Step Up to the Board

After gaining experience about the inner-workings of the organization on a committee, the next step is a board position as a committee co-chair, more than likely related to the committee(s) for which you have volunteered. Each year the board nominating committee meets to consider the next year’s board and major factors driving the nominations are a member’s interests and contributions as a committee member. Board co-chairs then lead the committees and serve for a maximum of two years. Often, board co-chairs then serve in other functional areas or possibly become VPs. VPs have a range of experiences in the FWSF and have served on several committees during their tenure. The time commitment varies by committee and all of this is outlined in the FWSF committee roles and responsibilities document found here https://financialwomensf.org/committees/.

To give you more insights and ideas about how to get involved, Connections checked in with three current committee members, Katherine Markova (Programs), Krystle Chow (Membership) and Shay Phillips (Diversity and Inclusion). In the next issue, we’ll talk with board co-chairs about their first involvement with FWSF and their current board roles. Finally, we’ll check in with some VPs and officers to share their input with you as well.

As we approach year-end, our committees will be looking for new members. We hope you’ll consider joining one if you haven’t already. As you will hear over and over, getting involved is truly the best way to get the most out of your FWSF membership. Relationships deepen and you can showcase your knowledge and skills. Read on for thoughts from three current committee members:

Katherine Markova, Tax Managing Director, KPMG

Katherine MarkovaTell us about your current role.
I am a member of FWSF Programs Committee. We meet every month to plan the schedule of FWSF’s many leadership, career development programs and events over the course of the following year. I organized a day hike in the Presidio and helped with a wine-tasting at an urban winery. You can probably tell that my interests include the outdoors and sampling wines…

Have you served on any other committees?
No, but I did serve on the board and was a trustee of another charity back in the UK.

How did you first get involved?
When I relocated to San Francisco a year ago, one of the first things I did was Google “women, finance, networking, San Francisco” and FWSF’s website came up first. I went to the first event that was on the calendar at that time (another hike!), attended a couple of subsequent events and then enquired about volunteering. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do and was given a choice of various committees. I picked Programs as I like seeing successful events spring to life from a mere idea and being part of that journey.

What do you like best?
How efficient we are as a committee! We have awesome (by which I mean very successful and smart) women involved and we get more done during that one hour when we meet than I achieve in an entire day myself! The pleasure you get from seeing people participate in, and enjoy, our events is enormous. This year the San Francisco Federal Reserve tour event stood out for me as achieving highest levels of satisfaction on the part our guests. It was one of the most memorable moments of 2018 for me.

Any surprises?
Only good ones! Pleasantly surprised that this did not have to become another full-time job (my previous charity engagements tended to end up that way), surprised that turnout for most of our events is so high and that we are able to attract distinguished speakers (e.g. we have Counsel to the International Monetary Fund as a speaker at our next event in mid-November). 

Advice for someone looking to join a committee?
Attend a committee meeting with no strings attached, see if you like it, and then gradually get involved. We are very understanding of our members’ other commitments; we don’t subject anyone to the ‘baptism of fire’ treatment. You do need to be a member of FWSF to join, though.

Krystal Chow, Senior Manager in International Tax, Spott, Lucey & Wall, Inc.

Krystal Chow

Tell us about your current role.
I currently serve on the Membership Committee helping organize new and prospective member lunches and mixers. I thought this committee would be a great way for me to get to know both new and long-time members. 

Have you served on any other committees?
This is my first committee, but I can see myself getting involved in other areas of the organization as well. 

How did you first get involved?
When I first joined FWSF, I remember hearing from every member I talked to that I should join a committee and that you get so much more out of it that way. So, when the new year rolled around and the announcement for committees was released, I looked over the descriptions of various committees and reached out to the co-chairs to see how I could get involved. After an introductory chat with one of the members, I started joining in the regular planning meetings.

What do you like best?
Before joining a committee, I loved all the great content in the programs that FWSF organizes. After joining a committee, it becomes more comfortable seeing familiar faces and recognizing people at the various events.

Any surprises?
I was surprised to learn how much time and attention the board and committee members put into FWSF and that everything is done through volunteers. It shows that everyone really cares about the organization.

Advice for someone looking to join a committee?
Don’t wait until the new year rolls around. There are opportunities to get involved any time of year, so just ask!

Shay Phillips, Compliance Operations Professional

Shay Phillips

Tell us about your current role.
I’m a team member and secretary for the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Our purpose as a committee is to help foster a culture of diversity and inclusion within the organization, one that celebrates financial careers.

Have you served on any other committees?
No, but I’ve especially enjoyed the experience of cross-functioning and team collaborating with other committees. The experience has shown me the incredible leadership we have among other committees and it also reflects the ability we have in coming together to manage different projects. Not to mention, it’s a great way to meet other members within FWSF. So, I advise everyone to look into joining a committee … and I definitely hope you can join the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Why? Because we are a great team and doing great things in the organization.

How did you first get involved?
Well, that’s an easy question. I’ve spent over 15 years in the financial industry and I have always held a strong desire for stewardship and helping others, especially when it comes to supporting girls and young women. So, when I learned of FWSF and its strong support for women in finance, it was just a natural match for me to join.

What do you like best?
I love volunteering at the larger events and networking within the organization, and of course having an opportunity to mentor young women. These opportunities have allowed me to gain new experiences, give back, help others, and create lifelong relationships and great connections with some truly phenomenal women in the Bay Area. This experience has been a blessing and one that I am grateful for and honored to be a part of. I hope that one day these experiences can lead to me serving on the board and furthering my passion for the mission of the organization.

Any surprises? Yes ─ a good surprise! For the almost two years I’ve been a part of the FWSF community, I’ve watched the organization educate, strengthen skills and create career paths that have truly helped foster a community of young dynamic women. What a wonderful way to build bridges and pay-forward to our next generation. I’m so proud to be a part of FWSF!

Advice for someone looking to join a committee?
I believe joining a committee is an ideal way of gaining new experiences and insight of the organization, and another way of giving back to FWSF.

Keep an eye out for the next installment of this series, where co-chairs of committees, who are members of the board, talk about their committees, their involvement with FWSF and their board experience.

Interested in joining a committee or learning more? Contact Alyson at info@FinancialWomenSF.org and she can put you in touch with committee co-chairs.

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