Embrace the Unexpected

By Marianne LaPorte, Co-Chair, FWSF MarCom

On Friday, October 11th, Financial Women of San Francisco (FWSF) honored one of the Bay Area financial industry’s most inspiring leaders, Terri Kallsen, former executive vice president, Investor Services at Charles Schwab.

Terri Kallsen

FWSF’s 24th Annual Financial Woman of the Year event highlighted Terri Kallsen’s outstanding career and accomplishments. Terri exemplifies FWSF’s guiding principles: lead, mentor, inspire. She also shares FWSF’s passion for advancing the careers of women, demonstrated through her leadership as a successful woman in financial services. She mentors those looking to advance their career within financial services, with an emphasis on financial planning.

The event kicked off with a reception where attendees chatted with Terri, her guests, FWSF 2019 scholarship recipients, board members and sponsors. Event Co-Chairs Kim Pugh and Denise Rigli then started the main program in the Hyatt Regency ballroom with a warm welcome, followed by remarks from FWSF 2019 President Kathy Wheadon and Scholarship Co-Chairs Sandra Camacho and Vineetha Mummadi, who introduced the 2019 scholarship recipients. Kathy Wheadon introduced the new launch of the Leadership Circle, which will host its inaugural event in early 2020.

Kim Pugh and Denise Rigli

Colleagues, students, mentees and friends each spoke about Terri and her journey in a video prepared especially for the event, which was followed by a special introduction by Dr. Mary Hinton of Saint Benedict College, Terri’s alma mater. Dr. Hinton warmly introduced Terri to the audience of nearly 600 attendees. She recited a quote that exemplifies Terri, “A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on its own wings. Always believe in yourself.” In addition to Dr. Hinton’s personal insights, there were incredible life lessons shared in the video. From Terri creating a vision for her team, to her ability to inspire others to be their best, to her willingness to make time for mentor others one person at a time — the video is packed with inspirational details on, in Terri’s words, “a blessed life.” If you missed the event, we highly recommend watching the video produced by Feast Studios.

Terri took the stage as an accomplished leader. Her remarks to the packed ballroom emphasized how to embrace the unexpected. She told her story of leaving  Schwab over the summer due to a restructuring in the organization. Her world was flipped upside down. Terri’s advice to the women in the audience was to be ready for the unexpected, know your purpose and keep going in life. After her sudden departure from Schwab, she took time for herself and traveled. This summer’s unexpected event showed her that her family and support group was all around her.  “When you think things are falling apart, they may be falling into place,” Terri explained. She is now spending more time with family and friends and is ready for the next opportunity in life. Terri encouraged the audience to embrace the unexpected and think of how they can face an unexpected situation.

Empowering Women

The money raised at the FWSF luncheon benefits the FWSF’s scholarship fund, an integral part of the organization’s mission to advance the success of women in finance. The FWSF awards scholarships to both undergraduate and graduate women. This year, 13 scholarships were awarded to an amazing group of women who were also in attendance to hear directly from Terri Kallsen and to meet our sponsors. Due to the generosity of our sponsors, donors and previous attendees, FWSF awarded $10,000 to each undergraduate recipient and $15,000 to each graduate recipient.

Board of FWSF


The 24th annual Financial Woman of the Year event was a big success and was filled with wisdom and uplifting messages from an inspiring and impactful leader, Terri Kallsen. Terri has built her incredible career and life on being compassionate and uplifting and mentoring others. Attendees left feeling inspired and motivated to follow Terri’s lead; who knows how many attendees will make a positive difference for those around them as a result?

Terri Quotes

“It is not about you, it is about others.”

“I have been blessed in my life.”

“Having an open heart and mind and faith, you can get there over time.”

“When you think things are falling apart, they may be falling into place.”

“I commit to my family, faith, fitness, fun and finances with integrity, purpose and joy.”

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