Despite the pandemic, 2021 was a year of major accomplishments for Women Investment Professionals (WIP), which is stronger than ever. We’re pleased to share the following highlights from the year just ended, and what is in store for the future.
2021 Trailblazer Award
- Our Annual Trailblazer Dinner in October was our first in-person event since early 2020. This year’s award recipient was long-time WIP member Leslie Lenzo, Advocate Aurora CIO, a strong supporter of women and minorities in the investment industry, as well as an accomplished investor and leader. Lauren Dillard, Executive Vice President at Nasdaq Investment Intelligence, provided the keynote address. Strict Covid-19 protocols, including limited attendance, helped ensure the event was safe as well as successful. We are looking forward to a variety of in-person, hybrid, and virtual events in 2022.
- In response to our members’ needs and priorities, we created new, smaller events:
- Coffee Roulette, an opportunity to build our professional networks by connecting monthly via Zoom one-on-one with another randomly selected WIP member.
- Coffee with a Board Member, an opportunity for up to six members to meet in person with a WIP board member without a specific agenda.
- We continued our Professional Development series, with three sessions focused on leadership skills (Being Bold, Being Courageous, Being Authentic). We also took a deep dive into timely topics that included presenting and networking in a virtual environment.
- The What’s Important Now (WIN) series focused on environment, social, and governance (ESG) investing as well as diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
- Expanded roster of sponsors. Thornburg recently joined a list of platinum sponsors that also includes Jackson, Legal and General, Northern Trust, Nuveen, and Putnam. Our gold (13) and silver (11) sponsors grew by six total.
- Membership remains high. We maintained close to 400 members.
- New advisory council. We formed this group in 2021, which includes representation from all our platinum sponsors, to provide input and feedback about programming, outreach, and other key decisions. We are pleased to welcome our advisory council members to our family.
- Two WIP members joined our Board of Directors in 2021. They bring deep and diverse industry experience that will be valuable as we look to help support the industry’s women in a fast-changing world:
- Angela Miller-May
- Donna Holmes
- Three board members stepped down, as their terms expired, but continue to actively support our mission. We are grateful for their tireless work and dedication:
- Courtney Hugger
- Amanda Beers
- JoAnne Hickman Dodd
- We welcomed four new committee chairs:
- Jin Phillips (Events)
- Galina Kalcheva (Strategy)
- Nicole Zaleski (Membership)
- Sandra Krueger (Sponsorship)
- Additional committees create more opportunities for women to get more involved in our work and expand their networks.
- We continued our partnership with “Invest in Girls,” an organization that supports financial literacy and promotes finance-oriented careers to high school girls. We hope to be actively seeking volunteers to participate in implementing the “Invest in Girls” curriculum in a Chicago school in 2022.
- WIP raised over $4,700 for charity at our in-person holiday party. Deborah’s Place’s mission of supporting homeless women in Chicago closely aligns with our own mission of empowering women.
Communication and Outreach
- We continued our quarterly newsletter, which informs and inspires members with profiles of remarkable women investment professionals.
- WIP has a LinkedIn page with more than 450 followers and a presence on Instagram (@WIPChicago). If you haven’t already, please follow us to receive WIP updates and engage with other members.
We enter 2022 with a great deal of optimism about our future. While much in the world has changed, we remain committed to programming that is valuable and relevant and that supports our core purpose of actively inspiring, empowering, and advocating for the advancement of women in the investment industry. More importantly, we feel gratitude to you, our members, and our corporate sponsors, whose support is critical to our ongoing strength as an organization. As you look to learn and grow in the coming year, I hope that you will continue to deepen into your engagement with WIP and allow us to support your professional and personal goals.
Nancy Prial, WIP President