2020 may have been a challenging year, but Women Investment Professionals (WIP) is stronger than ever. Despite the twin crises of a global pandemic and civic unrest, which continue to test all of us, we were able to accomplish a number of key initiatives. In fact, 2020 was a year of major accomplishments that we are excited to share with you:
- We welcomed two new corporate sponsors (Lord Abbett and Aviva Investors Americas) as well as 75 new members. We start 2021 with nearly 400 active members and 20 corporate sponsors.
Volunteers Stepping Up
- Four members joined WIP’s Board of Directors in 2020, helping us strengthen our commitment to the success of women in the investment industry. They bring deep, diverse industry experience to the governance of WIP and will help guide us in a fast-changing world:
- Stacy Scapino – Chair, Governance & Nominating Committee
- Courtney Hugger – Chair, Membership Committee
- Denise Winchar – Chair, Corporate Sponsorship Committee
- Fran Skinner – Chair, Strategy Committee
- Along with additional Board members came two new committees focusing on strategy and governance. Additional committees mean more opportunities for women to get involved, have a voice in WIP programming, and expand their own networks.
- Like many organizations, WIP embraced the power of technology to not only continue existing events, but to expand programming. WIP did more than pivot from in-person events to virtual ones; we leveraged digital platforms to increase both the number and the diversity of topics addressed in the sessions hosted. In fact, WIP hosted more events since March than in any single year prior.
- 2020 also saw the start of our new Professional Development series, which included two sessions focused on leadership skills. We also learned about presenting in a virtual environment with Lauren Sergy of Up Front Communication, as well as building one’s own personal brand with Alesia Latson, co-founder of LeadvantEDGE, Inc.
- The WIN (What’s Important Now) series explored the impact of artificial intelligence and technology on the industry. Topical discussions were expanded to include a new, annual asset allocation and portfolio trends discussion with an experienced panel of CIOs. The 2021 WIN series will focus on Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) as well as DEI considerations.
- Importantly and in line with our mission, we initiated event takeaways that are now available following each event.
Recognizing Women Trailblazers
- The Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing work from home environment couldn’t stop us from continuing our tradition of recognizing the Trailblazers of our industry. 2020’s award went to long-time WIP member Angela Miller-May, CIO, Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund. Angela has long been a strong supporter of women and minorities in the investment industry; we celebrated her in our first ever virtual Trailblazer event, which also included a fireside chat with Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO and President, Ariel Investments.
- WIP has always worked to increase diversity and give back to our communities. In early 2020, our Outreach Committee began a partnership with “Invest in Girls,” an organization that supports financial literacy and promotes finance-oriented careers to high school girls. Starting with the 2021 school year, we will be actively seeking volunteers to participate in implementing the “Invest in Girls” curriculum in a Chicago school.
- WIP closed the year by raising over $1,400 for Deborah’s Place, accomplished through a virtual holiday party alongside Flowers for Dreams. Deborah’s Place’s mission of supporting homeless women in Chicago closely aligns with our own mission of empowering women.
Keeping Members Informed
- In an effort to provide better communication and keep you informed, WIP launched a quarterly newsletter which profiles remarkable women investment professionals in various areas of the investment industry.
- We also strengthened our social media presence in 2020. WIP has a new LinkedIn page with more than 235 followers. WIP is also present on Instagram (@WIPChicago). If you haven’t already done so, please follow us so you can begin seeing WIP updates in your LinkedIn/Instagram feed, as well as engage in discussions with other members.
We enter 2021 — our 25th anniversary year — having performed a comprehensive review of our core purpose, vision, mission, and values. While much in the world has changed, we remain committed to our core purpose of fostering a professional community that actively inspires, empowers, and advocates for the advancement of women in the investment industry. Our goal is to ensure that our work and mission align with and best support our values of integrity, collaboration, and inclusivity as WIP continues to evolve. While aspirational, our vision is powerful as it encompasses women investing in women – a community of women inspiring in each other the confidence to achieve their full potential.
As we look to the future, WIP is committed to ensuring that our programming remains valuable and relevant. We are excited about 2021 and are particularly encouraged by news of advancements in preventing and treating Covid-19. Like you, we look forward to once again gathering in person with (and hugging!) extended family and friends. Most of all, we are grateful to you, our members, and our corporate sponsors, whose support is critical to our ongoing strength as an organization.
As you look forward to 2021, have a win-win experience. Learn and grow, both personally and professionally. Become a WIP member or get involved in a WIP committee. Visit our website for more information on how you can get involved – we look forward to welcoming you!