Meet Stephanie Hauge, our August 2019 FWA Member of the Month, who recently received the Alumni Service Award from the Stillman School of Business at Seton Hall University.
Please tell us about your FWA journey so far and what sets the FWA apart
I joined the FWA in the mid-90s when I was working at AT&T as a Finance VP/CFO of Corporate Shared Services based in New Jersey. The CFO of AT&T at the time encouraged his staff to be active in outside professional associations. I was active with the Institute of Management Accountants (mostly men). I became aware of the FWA and joined. It offered greater diversity of membership, as well as a focus on advancement of women. The FWA has been part of my career since and my volunteering engagements varied, depending on where my work was located.
After retiring from AT&T, I worked as CFO/Treasurer of theglobe.com and I was located in NYC, downtown. This allowed me to be more active with the FWA, where I joined the membership committee and initiated FWA events in NJ which ultimately achieved recognition as a separate committee: the FWA in NJ.
After my time at theglobe.com, I consulted as acting Controller for the start-up of Virgin Mobile. Then I joined ‘the world’ of foundations: first, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation in 2002 as Director of Finance and Administration and then my alma mater, Seton Hall University, asked me to join them at the end of 2006 to lead its corporate and foundation relations, which I did until mid-2015. During those years, I took on more leadership responsibilities with the FWA, and became Treasurer for two years, President-Elect, then President.
One thing that sets the FWA apart is its legacy: as a professional organization, the FWA offers women opportunities to connect and give back and we welcome members with a diverse background, such as HR, Finance, Marketing, Recruiting, Legal and Entrepreneurship. This makes our organization very dynamic.
I am very proud when I think of all the women who have benefited from our numerous programs (such as mentoring, scholarships, financial literacy) throughout many decades.
As founder of the New Jersey Committee, can you share with us some success stories?
The primary objective of the New Jersey Committee is to ensure that every event is relevant to our members who are dispersed geographically, and since our event attendance tends to be more intimate, (15-25 participants), we are all about building value for our members and a sense of comradery among our membership. Our Annual Summer Dinner brings in a much larger attendance and gives us opportunity to continue to bring in new members and recruit new mentors for our FWA in NJ mentoring Program at Seton Hall’s Stillman School of Business.
We recently launched a survey and found out that some members were interested in participating in a book club. We therefore launched it in January as a virtual (via ZOOM) business focused book club with Liz Crystal as founder/moderator with 10 members participating.
You became President of the FWA in 2009: how did you lead the organization during the financial crisis?
Indeed, I became President of the FWA in 2009 and we were impacted by the upheavals in the financial industry which affected both our membership and programming. Before I became President, I prepared myself a lot and met with as many past Presidents of the FWA as possible. As a leader in times of change, one thing that is very important is ongoing communication. Leaders need to be visible and communicate because it’s the only way to build trust. As an example, when I became President of the FWA, I launched a monthly blog available to all our members.
What is the best career advice you have received so far?
Women should support and empower other women. When I was hiring, I always made sure that women were candidates. As an executive leader, I always ensured that women had opportunities and got access to professional and personal development opportunities as well as the men who worked for me.
When my term as FWA President ended in 2010, I made a personal commitment to be an FWA mentor, which I continue to this day both in the Baruch program, and the FWA in NJ mentoring program which will be beginning its fifth year this fall.
Who is a source of inspiration and strength in your life and why?
My mother is a source of inspiration: she was the second youngest of 8 children, married at 28 in Dec. 1941 and became a war widow with 2 children. After spending some time with my grandfather in Boston, she moved to New Hampshire and remarried a few years later. Unfortunately, she was widowed again when she was in her 40s. Despite the difficulties and limitations at the time, my mother always encouraged me and my sister to prioritize our education. My mother had a lot of faith in women and believed in their courage.
Do you have any book to recommend our FWA community?
Since January, our New Jersey Committee launched a virtual business book club and we are currently reading “Moment of Lift” by Melinda Gates which I highly recommend.