Message from the President

February 13, 2019

Dear FWA Members, Sponsors and Friends,

Karen Elinski FWA President 2018-19

I hope 2019 is off to a wonderful start for all of you. Perhaps you’ve had time to reflect on some of the great strides we made in 2018 — during what the media dubbed “The Year of the Woman.”

Women today have many reasons to be optimistic about the future:

  • Sexual harassment has come under great scrutiny, with real consequences.
  • The midterm elections resulted in record numbers of women winning important offices — as members of Congress, governors, state legislators, and mayors. Notably, in the U.S. Congress we now have a woman serving as Speaker of the House, and another as Chair of the House Financial Services Committee. Each has pledged to broaden opportunities for women and minorities in financial services.
  • Many women on both sides of the aisle at all levels of government are calling for diversity, equality, and inclusion in all aspects of our culture, including business. The new Chair of the House Financial Services Committee has created a new Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion. It will hold its first hearing on “Diversity Trends in the Financial Services Industry” on February 27 in Washington, D.C.
  • The state of California just passed a mandate requiring every publicly traded company headquartered there to have at least one woman on its board of directors.
  • Nationally, large companies (with revenues of $5 billion or more) appointed nearly three times as many women to their boards during the second and third quarters of 2018 as in previous years. This paves the way for even more C-suite and senior-level placements for women and minorities.

The above examples show that women are increasingly asserting their power in the world. We know there is much more to be done; yet each gain serves to advance the futures of all women and girls.

As we mark Presidents’ Day this month, recall that Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it.” Lincoln’s words could not be more meaningful to the FWA and its members today.

We stand ready to support you — as you create your future. We will continue to enhance opportunities outside the workplace to:

  • Help one another advance our careers.
  • Promote substantive programming to stay current on developments in the industry.
  • Maximize leadership potential through serving on FWA committees and leading events, to build and cultivate professional and personal relationships.
  • Give back as volunteers via our robust mentoring programs.

Over the coming months, please join the FWA as it presents a number of opportunities to advance your place in the world. Highlights include:

  • Traveling to India for our 34th annual International Business Conference
  • Participating on May 14 in our Annual Summit — “A Rising Tide: Corporate Citizenship.”
  • Learning about the ever-increasing opportunities and challenges in risk management in the financial services industry at Women in Risk Management: From Skill Set to Career Path,” a panel event at Baruch College on February 21, 2019 from 6 to 8 p.m.
  • Examining inclusion issues in the workplace.
  • Celebrating and thanking our volunteers.
  • Coming together — as the powerful community of women we are — to advance, achieve, and extend a helping hand to other women throughout our careers and lifetimes.

The future belongs to fearless women and our allies.

Right now, the FWA is in an exciting period of transformation. We are creating our future! In developing our three-year strategic plan, we are looking to you, our talented members, as critical contributors to it. The FWA was established in the middle of the 20th century. Won’t you please consider reimagining your future, as we reimagine the FWA for the third decade of the 21st century? If you want to join this effort, please contact the Chair of our Strategic Planning Committee, Lee Wood,, and/or the Chair of our Leadership Council, Hermina Batson,

And currently, the Nominating Committee (chaired by Christine Birnbaum, who spearheaded our Pacesetters Program over the past few years) is actively engaged in identifying and nominating candidates who would like to chair or participate in one of the many and varied FWA committees. I encourage everyone to consider taking on a leadership role, or getting involved in a committee as a personal and professional stretch goal — and as a way to support each other throughout 2019.

In the meantime, embrace this time to keep creating your future!


Karen Elinski
FWA President 2018-19

Click here for past presidents’ messages

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