Message from the President

July 6, 2018

Dear FWA Colleagues,

Karen Elinski FWA President 2018-19

I am thrilled and honored to take the reins as President of the FWA. It is a privilege for me to step into this role at such a critical time for women in finance.

I follow in the footsteps of an incredible group of women who have served in this position — Stacy Musi, Anne Izzillo, Susan Harper, Kim Weinrick, Maureen Adolf, and Katrin Dambrot — and am fortunate to have served on their boards. Each has brought their own exceptional and varied talents to make the FWA the dynamic organization it is today.

A little about me: I have spent most of my career as a lawyer in the financial services sector, leading corporate government relations and public policy teams on the federal, state, and international levels. This work involved advocating and leading strategies that served financial businesses, employees, and customers. It also provided an external view of our industry that engendered a deep appreciation for the progress we’ve made advancing cultural and workplace environments.

My theme this year is “corporate citizenship.” Each of us holds a personal stake in ensuring a strong sense of corporate citizenship — as an employee, entrepreneur, or investor. In addition, the FWA’s corporate sponsors are taking this theme to new levels of engagement and impact in their workplaces and communities. These efforts are welcome as they grow and bear fruit.

As part of the focus on corporate citizenship, we’re continuing to make the case for diversity and inclusion. The data proves that the creation of a diverse and inclusive workplace improves the bottom line. The FWA has long recognized that diversity and inclusion can generate a powerful impact on our organizations and the careers of our members. As women assume more power and influence, the FWA will work with our partner organizations as they accelerate their diversity and inclusion initiatives. It is time we seized this moment to amplify our voice. We still have much work to do to achieve equal footing in the cultural and workplace landscapes.

The FWA will work to assume a more active role on critical issues such as pay equity, women’s board representation, and paid family leave. We must build alliances with male colleagues, sponsor women to ensure a stronger path to leadership, and prepare the next generation for equitable and fulfilling careers. This focus is even more critical as the government appears to be gridlocked on these significant public policy issues.

While we look within our industry to enhance corporate citizenship, we also must take an outward view — recognizing the role of global markets. In keeping with a 30-year tradition, we again invite members to join us at the International Conference. I am pleased to announce that we will travel to India in February 2019 to explore the economy, business opportunities, and challenges for women in the largest democratic nation in the world. With its growing economy and youthful workforce, we must build bridges to India’s global businesses, diplomatic corps, and women’s professional organizations. We will search for examples of Indian corporate citizenship to enlighten and support our own.

I look forward to working with you during this dynamic time. Our talented and committed volunteers are the FWA’s lifeblood and will be vital to our success! Together, we will achieve our mission of “Advancing Women” while recognizing and enhancing corporate citizenship on behalf of us all.


Karen Elinski
FWA President 2018-19

Click here for past presidents’ messages

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