People & Purpose
Thoughts about Women, Philanthropy & Leadership
Learn. Act. Grow. Repeat.
When I wrote these words on a sticky note, I didn’t know what I was doing or what I was expecting. I believe that my initial intention was to write a blog. This was probably at least a year and a half ago. The blog never happened.
In fact, I lost the note and found it about 6 months ago. I looked at it. Shocked!
I realized what I had written is what I’m doing. Now.
How did this happen? At some point, I became focused. I don’t know when or how. However, I did take some advice from Audre Lorde:
“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
Every morning, I realized how committed I am to helping women live better lives—that this is my vision.
There is a Japanese concept of ikigai. Ikigai is the reason you get up every morning.
This picture hangs behind my home desk. I look at it every day and have wondered, “Is this really possible?” How can everything become congruent? In this world? In this time? I felt that these situations were only achievable by Oprah, Brené, and a few others. We all know what they have achieved. Magic, right?
My thought was that magic only happens to special people. Not me. I’m not special. Then I realized that it’s not about magic. It’s about work. Activity. Behavior. Doing what is important to you. Sharing. Doing. Sharing. Doing. And finally it happens. It’s kinda crazy. Ikigai is in fact possible.
I took my financial advisory work from Merrill Lynch to Urban Wealth Management, where my focus on women clients is supported, encouraged, and expected. I volunteered as an Advisory Board member for WriteGirl. I kept moving forward.
Then one day I thought, why can’t this all come together? Can’t my philanthropy and my career land in the same place?
Voilà! I am now the Board Chair of the Women’s Foundation of California as the organization kicks off its 40th year. As part of a statewide foundation that focuses on economic, racial and gender justice, I see an opportunity to have my volunteer work coincide with my work as a financial advisor at Urban Wealth Management, where I’m committed to creating a movement of women who are confident and comfortable about growing and maintaining their path toward financial freedom.
Here and Now
Granted, the times we live in have helped my focus. To see all the things women have accomplished and all the challenges before us presents a constant dichotomy.
Does leadership matter? I would argue no more than today.
As to be expected, the more we, as women, have access to and realize our incredible capacities and capabilities, then the more we expect from ourselves and realize what our lives can be.
In fact, the changes that have taken place in my lifetime are vast and, at times, unbelievable.
- Women are more likely than men to receive a Bachelor's degree before the age of 29
- Women make up almost one-half of the American workforce
- Access to mental health care for women has increased, and deaths related to breast cancer have decreased
- Most women and men believe that women have the capacity to be top leaders
Concurrently, I realize that our lives are not where they could be. Although our lives as women may be better than our moms and, certainly, our grandmothers, we know how roadblocks can appear to choke off our progress, how we are forced onto detours, overlooked despite our competencies, pushed aside, and sometimes just not seen.
How do I hold these two concepts simultaneously? The winning and losing. How am I grateful for all that I, along with my friends and family, have achieved, and all that I know we can be? Because there are still gaps. There are situations and places where women and men are not on the same playing fields. There is so much more to do.
- Women still lag in leadership roles—in government, academia, and corporate America
- American women have the highest rate of maternal mortality in the Western world
- The investment gap for women is costing each of us up to $1 million
This is why I believe there needs to be a movement. Collectively we can make changes benefiting ourselves—all women and girls. We know that lives and communities improve when women’s lives are made more whole, when our economic conditions improve, when our educational opportunities expand.
Nonetheless, before we can take care of others and expand the opportunities for our lives, we must make ourselves a priority. You have to be the first page of your book.
There is no one more important in your life than you. Understanding who you are, your foundation, values, goals and the financial requirements you need to optimize your life and to live your dreams is essential. You must put yourself first. Make yourself your biggest priority. There is no other option.
Here are a few of my other blog posts that I think can help you out:
- 5 Steps to Becoming a Financially Fit Woman
- Get Your Financial Groove On
- Women! You, Too, Can Create Wealth
And, as you’ve placed yourself first, find out where you want to contribute. Where you want to lead. Where you can make a difference. I know this for sure—I can’t do this work alone.
Pick a person, place or thing. Be the best leader you can be. If the Women’s Foundation is your thing—that’s cool. If not, keep looking. You’ll find your best place. You’ll be a smart philanthropist and a great leader.
I look forward to seeing you out there.