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  • 11 Nov 2020 7:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Here’s a few basic facts to provide context to the antiboycott compliance question. Elizabeth McMorrowOwner of Elizabeth A. McMorrow Law LLC and BWF board member shares why it’s important for you to remain vigilant in document review. 

    How Has Improved Muslim-Israel Relations Impacted U.S. Antiboycott Compliance?

    In the midst of the U.S. Presidential campaign, came positive economic and diplomatic news as members of the Trump administration brokered deals this summer and fall between Israel, Serbia and Kosovo; Israel and Bahrain; Israel and UAE; and Israel and Sudan. One practical question arising from these arrangements is what is the impact on U.S. companies’ antiboycott compliance?

    While scholars will likely write lengthy articles if not books on this chapter of Middle East relations, my goal is to give a few basic facts to provide context to the antiboycott compliance question.

    Serbia & Kosovo

    Serbia and Kosovo were part of the former Yugoslavia. In 2008, majority ethnic Albanian and Muslim Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia. While most Western countries have recognized Kosovo’s independence, Serbia has not. Additionally, Kosovo and Israel have not recognized each other.

    Results of the new arrangements include:

    • Serbia and Kosovo normalized economic ties but did not agree to mutual recognition.
    • Israel and Kosovo agreed to mutual recognition and will establish diplomatic relations.

    Bahrain

    Located in the Persian Gulf, Bahrain declared independence from the UK in 1971. Bahrain signed a “Declaration of Peace, Cooperation, and Constructive Diplomatic and Friendly Relations” and several memoranda of understanding with Israel in September 2020. Through the declaration and MOUs, Bahrain and Israel established full diplomatic relations and expanded economic potential in trade, air services, telecommunications, finance, banking, and agriculture.

    United Arab Emirates

    The UAE is a federal elective constitutional monarchy formed from a federation of seven emirates: Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras Al Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm Al Quwain. In September 2020, the UAE and Israel signed an agreement normalizing relations between their two nations which opens the door to develop commercial, diplomatic and security ties.

    Sudan

    The Republic of the Sudan is located in Northeast Africa. In October 2020, the Sudan agreed to put $335 million in an escrow account for compensating U.S. victims of terror attacks. President Trump subsequently signed an executive order to remove Sudan from the terrorism list. Israel and the Sudan normalized relations and agreed to discuss cooperation in agriculture, trade, and other areas.

    U.S. Antiboycott Law

    Certain individuals and companies are required to report to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) boycott requests and operations in boycott countries.  Failure to report can result in administrative and/or criminal penalties.  The U.S. boycott reporting regime extends beyond U.S. borders and can include foreign organizations. The boycott of greatest concern to U.S. organizations is the Arab League Boycott of Israel which was established pre-Israel statehood in 1945 and continued when Israel was established in 1948.

    What Does the U.S. Mean by Boycott?

    A relevant boycott involves entering into an agreement as a condition of doing business in a country where the agreement requires a person to refrain from:

    • Doing business in or hiring employees from another country or
    • Doing business with other persons that do business in or hire employees from the other country.
    • Boycotts in this context do not include those boycotts sanctioned by the U.S.

    Boycott Levels

    The IRS reporting requirement extends to three levels of boycotting:

    • Primary:  This type of boycott is imposed by a country on individuals, entities, property, and transactions in the targeted country.
    • Secondary: This level of boycott extends the boycott beyond the targeted country to blacklisted persons (i.e., those doing business with the boycotted country’s government or one of its companies or nationals).
    • Tertiary:  This is the most attenuated boycott level.  It extends the boycott to countries or individuals doing business with the blacklisted persons affected by the secondary boycott.

    Examples of Boycott Agreement Requests

    Boycott requests can range from blatant to subtle.  There is no cookie cutter approach taken by those trying to get you and/or your company to agree to engage in a boycott.

    You should be alert to the below types of requests:

    • Agreements to refuse or actual refusal to do business with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.
    • Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about business relationships with or in Israel or with blacklisted companies.
    • Agreements to discriminate or actual discrimination against other persons based on race, religion, sex, national origin, or nationality.
    • Agreements to furnish or actual furnishing of information about the race, religion, sex, or national origin of another person.
    • Implementing letters of credit containing prohibited boycott terms or conditions.

    Who Is Covered by the U.S. Antiboycott Laws?

    It is necessary to review your structure to determine which individuals or organizations may be covered by the U.S. antiboycott laws.  Coverage includes U.S. corporations, individuals, partnerships, and trusts.  The antiboycott regime also includes certain foreign corporations, individuals, partnerships, and trusts.

    The reporting regime requires more than just the reporting of boycott requests.  It also includes reporting (among other things) the existence of operations in countries implementing an international boycott.

    Penalties

    Violations of the U.S. antiboycotting program can result in administrative and/or criminal penalties.

    If there is a criminal judgement then each knowing offense can result in a fine of up to $50,000 or five times the value of the exports involved, whichever is greater, and imprisonment of up to five years.

    Administrative penalties can result in:

    • a general denial of export privileges;
    • the imposition of fines of up to $11,000 per violation; and/or
    • denial of all or part of certain foreign tax benefits.

    Reporting

    Boycott requests must be reported quarterly.  Boycott requests and the existence of operations in boycott countries must be reported annually.

    If you believe you may have violated the antiboycott provisions, the Office of Antiboycott Compliance has a process of self-disclosure.

    Compliance Program

    The U.S. Department of Treasury (“Treasury”) released its quarterly List of Countries Requiring Cooperation with an International Boycott during October 2020:

    • Iraq
    • Kuwait
    • Lebanon
    • Libya
    • Qatar
    • Saudi Arabia
    • Syria
    • United Arab Emirates
    • Yemen

    While it has not yet removed the UAE from its list, Treasury noted it is “monitoring the situation of the United Arab Emirates, which has announced the issuance of a decree repealing its boycott law.”

    Once the UAE is removed from the list, you will no longer be required to report the existence of your operations located in the UAE. You can update your compliance manual at that point.

    Kosovo, Bahrain, and Sudan were not previously on Treasury’s list. As a result, there was no requirement to report operations located in these countries under U.S. antiboycott law.

    The agreements that Kosovo, Bahrain, UAE, and Sudan entered into with Israel are not universally welcomed by their citizens. And even if a company in one of these nations previously included boycott language in its documents in solidarity with the Arab League boycott but chooses to embrace the change, the company still faces the task of employees updating standardized contracts, etc. Thus, t is important for you to remain vigilant in document review.

    For additional blog posts, please go to my website: https://www.elizabethmcmorrowlaw.com/blog.

    Elizabeth McMorrow is an attorney with more than 25 years’ experience representing companies in diverse industries including financial, life-sciences, beverages and imaging technology on international-related legal issues as both in-house and outside counsel. She is Board Secretary for BWF and the owner of Elizabeth A. McMorrow Law LLC. She can be reached at elizabeth@elizabethmcmorrowlaw.com.


    Boston Women in Finance is a professional women's group dedicated to bringing together a diverse community of accomplished women with financial backgrounds, experience, and industry interests, to network, collaborate, and inspire. 

    Our membership is a powerful community of women leaders, innovators, and influencers who meet monthly to delve into a wide range of topics including economic and financial trends, technological advancements, evolving leadership roles, professional development, and much more. 

    At Boston Women in Finance meetings and social events, you will always meet someone new and learn something too!

    Copyright © Elizabeth A. McMorrow Law LLC.  All rights reserved.


  • 20 Oct 2020 8:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Each month, we profile BWF members of the community in our "Member Spotlight" series.  This month, meet Melissa Albonesi.  Get to know her a bit better!

    Melissa Albonesi
    Business Development Advisor
    BWF Board Member

    Your favorite BWF program to date?  What were your memorable takeaways?

    Work in the Time of COVID-19:  The Changing Future of Career Progression was my favorite BWF program to date. 

    My biggest takeway from this session was around the ecosystem of our careers.  I especially loved this comment from Meghan Beaupre, “It is important for us to remember that the ecosystem of our career is for us to decide.  Even when a bomb gets dropped into the middle of it, we still have the power to regroup and make our careers what we want them to be”.   I just found this comment to be so inspiring.  We are living in a time where so much feels out of our control.  I think it is so important for us to remember that we can still take control and be in the driver’s seat of our career progression. While it is critical that we continue to forge ahead, this is also a time when we need to give ourselves and others grace.  COVID-19 has dramatically altered how we all live and work.  This pandemic has had a devastating effect on the lives and the careers of many.  Many people just want to talk or vent so it is important to be a good listener and help build people up and make them feel valued.  This quote from Maya Angelou is always timely….”People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

    What is your #1 WFH tool?

    I have not fully mastered these but I am working on implementing a few WFH tools. I am trying to make more of an effort to take small breaks throughout the day to step back, think strategically and prioritize what is most important on my to-do list.  Some days I feel like I am “running” from one meeting to the next.  For me, it takes a different level of energy to connect through a screen rather than meeting in person. You’d think that not traveling or commuting would make work a lot less tiring but I know I am not alone on Friday afternoon when I am grabbing a large coffee to keep going.  Zoom fatigue is real!  I am much more efficient and I am able to work at a higher level if I can give my brain a break from the screen.  There are days when it feels like you really don’t have the time to take a break but even ten minutes away from the home office does wonders for me.  There will always be days when you can’t take a break and step back. My goal is to not have those days dominate my week.  I always feel so much better when I have energy left at the end of my work day to be fully present for my family. 

    Something you are most proud of in your career?

    Bringing my two daughters to the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on International Women’s Day was a definite highlight for me.  I have worked full-time since they were babies and I have spent a lot of time away from home on airplanes and in hotel rooms. My girls were so excited to go on a business trip with me to the Big Apple.  I felt lucky to have the opportunity to have my daughters see the floor of the NYSE full of powerful women! I have been so inspired by the many working moms that I have interacted with over the years.  It truly takes a village. Balancing it all is not easy and anyone who tells you that you can have it all is lying!!  As I have gotten older, I am slowly learning how to cut myself some slack and take things one day at a time.  I am grateful for the encouragement I have received over the years and I am working hard to pay it forward and be a source of encouragement for young women trying to navigate through their careers. 

     A "go to" for inspiration/motivation?   Jam song, best read lately, guilty pleasure, binge watch?  (pick one)

    My “go to” for inspiration and my new obsession is my Peloton!!  I know, I know, there is so much hype and I hear you, I was sick of hearing from people about this craze too!  Trust me on this though, it is awesome.  It is a great diversion and I really feel like I am in a hip, fun spin studio when I am actually in my basement.  I recently took a “Yacht Rock” ride.  Nothing like jamming to the tunes of Christopher Cross and Hall and Oates while imagining you are on a yacht in the Caribbean!!!  My family makes fun of me because I am typically singing along at the top of my lungs. Nothing like a good sweat and good music to give you some perspective and get you ready to face the day! 

    _____________________

    Connect with Melissa on LinkedIn!

    ABOUT BOSTON WOMEN IN FINANCE

    Boston Women in Finance is a professional women's group dedicated to bringing together a diverse community of accomplished women with financial backgrounds, experience, and industry interests, to network, collaborate, and inspire. 

    Our membership is a powerful community of women leaders, innovators, and influencers who meet monthly to delve into a wide range of topics including economic and financial trends, technological advancements, evolving leadership roles, professional development, and much more. 

    At Boston Women in Finance meetings and social events, you will always meet someone new and learn something too!

  • 20 Oct 2020 8:28 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    COVID-19 has dramatically changed how we all live and work.  Many of us are looking for new careers after being laid off or we are looking to make a change in a very uncertain environment.  While life can certainly feel a bit out of control these days, taking charge and building a career you love is still very much within your reach!   

    On October 14th, 2020, the BWF Community engaged in an hour-long discussion on the topic of  Work in the Time of COVID-19: The Changing Future of Career Progression.  Below is a brief recap of this program and the bios of our speakers.

    Overview

    This year has proven to be life-changing for many, whether it be child or elder care obligations, health challenges, or just looking for a sense of normalcy. How can we continue to proactively plan for steady career growth in unforeseen and turbulent times? Sometimes this seems impossible with everything else we are juggling right now. How can we remain positive when our energy is zapped from all of the other challenges that this pandemic has thrown at us?

    Tips, Perspectives and Advice

    When the pressure gets too great, it is important to take a step back.  Everyone you meet is facing different challenges.  Some are feeling the stress of unemployment while others are feeling the heavy burden of taking on additional work because of lay-offs and cutbacks.  When we combine this with home-schooling and hybrid schedules for our children, there is no wonder that our anxiety is through the roof!  It is important to give ourselves grace during this time and also be considerate and supportive of our friends and colleagues who are also struggling.

    It is important for us to remember that the ecosystem of our career is for us to decide.  Even when a bomb gets dropped into the middle of it, we still have the power to regroup and make our careers what we want them to be.   Set specifics for what you want and refuse to go back in your career progression.  Even if you are asked to take on tasks that are outside your typical responsibilities, continue to be transparent and honest about your career goals.  It is important to be able to demonstrate that you can pivot and help out when necessary but don’t let these pivots derail you from your ultimate career goals. 

    Communication / Staying Focused and Committed

    In our session we talked a lot about communication.  While it is important to adapt and take on more work because of these unprecedented times, we also need to continue to advocate for ourselves.  Now more than ever, we need to be purposeful and move forward with vision and confidence.  Opportunity is out there, regardless of circumstance.  It is important to continue to learn and grow during this time.  Maybe the job you are in really isn’t the best fit.  Perhaps the company doesn’t have the culture you are looking for.  Know that you have the power to still make changes.  They just might not happen overnight.

    Managing up and maintaining visibility is crucial during this time.  It is critical to have candid and open conversations with leadership.  It’s not easy to remain visible when your boss can’t see you in the office every day.   Continue to focus on your executive presence. Be an active participant on zoom calls and turn on your video so your colleagues can “see” your active engagement. 

    The Power of Humility 

    Humble and modest leaders are willing to put aside their ego and empower others.  This makes us better and more successful.  It is important to check in on colleagues and ask people if they need help.  Be mindful of what people are going through.  Everyone is facing something different and many of our colleagues are feely very isolated whether they live alone or not.  Many people just want to talk or vent so be a good listener and help build people up and make them feel valued. 

    This quote from Maya Angelou is always timely….”People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel.” 

    Suggested Links/Resources

    About Our Speakers

    Kayla Moncayo, Employee Relations Advocate

    Kayla Moncayo is an Austin, TX based HR professional with a specialty in Employee Relations. Kayla has worked in the government, non-profit, and private sectors around the globe and believes in a human centered, vulnerability-based HR practice. Kayla’s expertise is in crisis management, investigations, data analysis, and stakeholder relations. When Kayla isn’t practicing HR she’s enjoying her family and her dog Ezra, advocating for the Black Lives Matter Movement and the LGBTQ+ community, riding horses, and drinking lots of wine.


    Meghan Beaupre, Principal, Private Equity M&A, Mercer
    Moderator


    Meghan is a dynamic, vision-driven people leader with an extensive background in Total Rewards and HR Operations. 
    Formerly an HR executive at Unidine and United Site Services, Meghan has worked in highly transformative and acquisitive environments where she managed teams and organizations through significant change.  In her current role, she works with Private Equity firms on human capital strategy for platform and add-on deals to ensure there is a roadmap for the integration and professionalization of the HR function.  Meghan is a highly collaborative and inclusive facilitator with a focus on elevating people and creating high-performing teams, and a firm believer in emotional intelligence and leading with empathy and authenticity. 


  • 13 Oct 2020 12:50 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Building a culture of inclusion isn’t just a “to-do” on a corporate initiative list.  It’s a multi-step, multi-year shared vision that starts from the executive office and is embraced by employees at all levels.

    On September 16th, 2020, the BWF Community was treated to an hour-long discussion on this topic with guest speakers Marques Benton and Kathryn Burdett and moderated by Sharon Healey.  Below is a brief recap of this program and the bios of our terrific speakers.

    Overview

    Over the past six months, Covid-19, national protests of the deaths of George Floyd and other people of color at the hands of the police, and other factors have greatly impacted the state of our nation and, for many, has highlighted the depths of its economic inequality and racial inequity.  One result of these events, has been an increased focus on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) and the realization that there is more work to be done to advance these areas within organizations of all sizes, types and structures.    Although many organizations have made great progress over the years to welcome, engage and integrate people of different backgrounds, experiences and beliefs etc., it must continue more responsibly to fully appreciate its benefits.

    Considerations for an Effective D&I Plan

    There are generally four key areas an organization should consider when they are developing, promoting and supporting a D&I Plan: 

    • Management engagement at all levels
    • Staff engagement at all levels
    • Compliance and Supplier Diversity
    • Collaborative Leadership

    “When an organization has an effective D&I Plan, no one should be left behind.”

                                                Marques Benton, VP and Chief Diversity Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

    There are many ways that organizations can introduce and support their D&I Plan such as through employee resource groups, diversity councils, education and training programs and engaging staff in contributing their own ideas to create and strengthen an inclusive culture.   As is the case with many organizations, they are also required to prepare a report on their progress with D&I, whether they have achieved certain benchmarks and their plans for continued improvement.   

    Challenges with D&I Plans

    One of the biggest challenges to developing, implementing and evaluating D&I plans is data.  Data is integral to all organizations and how they measure their success with all their resources and business operations.  Determining how to best solicit, capture and effectively track D&I data and analyze both quantitative and qualitative metrics is important because it plays a big role in determining the appropriate action steps to take. 

    “You have to think about D&I in a big picture way.  It influences everything your organization does and you want to promote dialogue around D&I data to continue making progress.”

    Kathryn Burdett, VP and Head of Diversity & Inclusion Americas, Deutsche Bank

    Suggestions for Developing Organization D&I Plans

    Studies have shown that everyone wants to feel a sense of belonging.  Belonging is an internal experience of feeling appreciated and valued; this includes feeling a part of an organization and its mission.  When an organization attracts and engages employees of diverse backgrounds, it will benefit from their contributions to help the organization achieve its goals.   An effective D&I plan will not only help employees feel more connected to their organization and its success, it will also lead to benefits like increased employee loyalty, increased performance, greater collaboration, etc.  

    To be successful, a D&I plan must have the support of the executive team and resonate with employees. Start by evaluating the organization’s readiness to tackle these issues.  Make sure that the plan’s goals, timeline and scope is not out ahead of the executive team; use employee feedback to develop a grassroots based D&I plan that resonates with their experiences rather than solely being dictated from above.  A successful D&I plan is a journey; one that brings people at all levels of the organization along with it and includes them in planning the pace, route and destination.

    Below are just some examples of specific action steps that were recommended to help develop and/or strengthen an organization’s D&I plan:

    • CEO/Leadership Team led focus groups to actively listen, solicit ideas, reactions, etc.
    • Conduct office visits to gauge D&I differences across sites, markets, departments, etc.
    • Appoint a Diversity Champion to take on specific responsibilities
    • Appoint a Diversity Sourcing Specialist to help build a network of diverse candidates
    • Start and/or promote a diversity referral program; diverse people have more diverse networks
    • Leverage employee resource groups for discussions, better networking and succession planning
    • Incorporate “best practices” from other organizations within and outside of your own industry
    • Start and/or broaden mentoring programs within the organization

    How Each Individual Can Help Support D&I

    In addition to organizations’ taking more deliberate steps to develop strong D&I Plans, each individual can also take steps to move this process forward.  Some representative examples are outlined below:

    • Speak up and get involved in your organization’s D&I Committee
    • Start an employee resource group or a couple of groups with some colleagues
    • Start a discussion group or a book club
    • Get involved in diverse community activities, non-profits, etc.
    • Spend some time reading D&I books, reports and other resources to educate yourself
    • Be a good role model for others and take time to listen and learn from others’ experiences

    Suggested Links/Resources

    About Our Speakers

    Marques Benton
    Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer and OMWI Director
    Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

    Marques Benton is responsible for implementing a comprehensive strategy to effectively integrate diversity and inclusion into the Bank’s culture, management practices, talent acquisition and business activities.  In this role he is also responsible for complying with the letter and spirit of Section 342 of the Dodd/Frank Act which mandates the establishment of an Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (OMWI).

    Benton is Chair of the Federal Reserve System’s OMWI Council, and serves on the board of overseers for the Boys and Girls Clubs and the New England Aquarium. He also serves as a Director on the Greenway Business Improvement District (BID) board and the Mayor of Boston’s Women’s Commission. Benton holds a degree in Economics from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College.

    Kathryn Burdett
    Vice President, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, Americas
    Deutsche Bank

    Kathryn is Vice President, Head of Diversity & Inclusion (D&I), Americas, at Deutsche Bank. She is responsible for setting regional strategy and directing its implementation. She serves as a trusted advisor to the regional CEO, regional deputy CEO, and regional head of human resources and guides the regional senior leadership diversity and inclusion council. Additionally, she oversees five employee resource groups, steers program content for internal and industry franchise events, and manages relationships with external expert partners. She is a member of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

    Sharon Healey, PHR
    Human Resources Director, BWF Board Member
    Boston Partners Global Investors, Inc.

    Sharon Healey has 10+ years of global, business-based HR experience and is currently the Human Resources Director for Boston Partners.  Her expertise is in both operational and strategic HR practices and includes all functional areas of Human Resources such as, talent engagement strategy, total rewards, performance management, employee wellness and safety, and employee training. Her industry expertise includes retail, hospitality, non-profit and financial services. She earned an MBA with a Concentration in Human Resources from Fitchburg State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Management from the University of Massachusetts.  She has also achieved the designation of PHR, (Professional in Human Resources).

    ABOUT BOSTON WOMEN IN FINANCE

    Boston Women in Finance is a professional women's group dedicated to bringing together a diverse community of accomplished women with financial backgrounds, experience, and industry interests, to network, collaborate, and inspire. 

    Our membership is a powerful community of women leaders, innovators, and influencers who meet monthly to delve into a wide range of topics including economic and financial trends, technological advancements, evolving leadership roles, professional development, and much more. 

    At Boston Women in Finance meetings and social events, you will always meet someone new and learn something too!

    To learn more, send us an email at info@bostonwomeninfinance.org


  • 11 Sep 2020 10:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    As we carry on into the latter half of 2020, it is vital that we continue to stay connected, supportive, and engaged with our networks.

    Here at Boston Women in Finance, while that connection might look a bit different than what we are used to, the quality of our programming and the engagement of our community are better than ever.

    Here’s are a few pieces that our members and friends have to look forward to this season with BWF:

    Monthly Programs to Inspire Leadership

    Inspiring Leadership: Building an Effective Diversity and Inclusion Program
    September 16th, 2020 @ 12:00 p.m. ET
    View This Program

    Work in the Time of COVID-19: The Changing Future of Career
    October 14th, 2020 @ 12:00 p.m. ET
    View This Program

    Anxiety in the Workplace: Psychological Safety and its Impact on your Team
    November 14th, 2020 @ 12:00 p.m. ET
    Program Details Coming Soon!

    *Due to COVID-19 safety protocols for offices, indoor gatherings, and restaurants, Boston Women in Finance will continue to meet virtually throughout the remainder of 2020. It is our hope that we'll be able to get back to our in-person events in 2021.

    Members-Only Connections and Opportunities

    As an added benefit for our members, we are planning an exclusive monthly series of virtual programs, including:

    Learning Discussions: Starting this month, we're going to set up a post-program discussion, exclusive for BWF members, to come together online and share their thoughts and takeaways from our public events. Our schedule is coming soon, so please stay tuned!

    Coffees and Cocktails with BWF: Also starting this month will be an alternating series of coffees or cocktails with BWF! Whether you're an early-bird or a night owl, join us every month for an online members-only get together - we'll host trivia games, icebreakers, and any other kind of conversation you'd like to have. We promise plenty of laughs with a group of driven, motivated leaders just like you. 

    New Opportunities to Expand Your Network

    Along with partnering with other financial and executive associations in the Boston area, Boston Women in Finance has also started a formal partnership program, designed to bring you even more opportunities to network, support, and inspire one another.

    We’re thrilled to announce our first annual partner, PNC Bank, who has already invited our members to a series of virtual programs the week of September 14th as part of their 10th Annual Women in Business Week.

    Diversity and inclusion, fighting financial fraud, wellness activities, and more, will be discussed. To learn more, or to register for this great series of events, please go here.

    Giving Back To Our Community

    Over the summer, Boston Women in Finance launched its first annual Inspire Scholarship, designed to inspire, motivate and elevate minority women in their pursuit of a career in the financial industry.

    The recipients of this scholarship will be awarded a one-year membership in BWF and free attendance at BWF events during that year (September 2020 – June 2021) and assigned mentors.

    If you know of a candidate you’d like to nominate, or would like to learn more about our scholarship, please go here.

    Of course, there’s so much more that Boston Women in Finance has been working on, and we can’t wait to share it all with you. On behalf of the entire BWF Board, thank you for choosing to be a part of our community, and thank you for continuing to support and inspire one another. It’s an honor to serve all of you!

    We look forward to continuing the discussion with you throughout the 2020 and 2021 season. As always, if you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at anytime at info@bostonwomeninfinance.org.

    All the best,

    The Boston Women in Finance Team


  • 09 Sep 2020 5:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    When the world gets back to "normal" will tax debt effect your employees ability  to travel?  Elizabeth McMorrow, Owner of Elizabeth A. McMorrow Law LLC and BWF board member, reviews how the State Department & IRS decide going forward. 

    Don’t Take My Passport Away!

    We have learned many great techniques for communicating during COVID which may have been previously handled through international business travel. We will likely retain some video conferencing after an effective vaccine is launched but we will also return to in-person meetings with international colleagues and business partners. When that day comes, will your employees be able to get through the airport check-in? Or will their passport have been revoked due to “seriously delinquent tax debt” owed to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS)?

    Passport Revocation

    The U.S. Department of State is responsible for issuing U.S. passports. However, the IRS communicates with the State Department including informing them of any U.S. citizen who has a seriously delinquent tax debt.

    The result of this notification is the State Department will generally deny an application for issuance or renewal of a U.S. passport from the seriously delinquent taxpayer.  The State Department may also revoke or limit a passport previously issued to the taxpayer. Limiting the passport means the State Department will allow your employee to return directly to the U.S.

    "Come up with an educational plan now because the last thing the CFO needs is for a key member of her team to be a no show at an important international meeting."
    Elizabeth McMorrow
    Owner
    Elizabeth A. McMorrow Law LLC

    Making demands on the State Department will not resolve the issue as all discussions regarding the debt (or the fact it is all a big mistake) must be conducted with the IRS.

    What Is Seriously Delinquent Tax Debt?

    The IRS considers a tax debt to be seriously delinquent when the taxpayer owes the IRS more than US$53,000 in back taxes including penalties and interest; and the IRS:

    • Has filed a Notice of Federal Tax Lien and the period to challenge the lien has expired; OR
    • Has issued a levy

    The surefire way to know the debt is “seriously delinquent” is upon receipt of an IRS CP508C Notice which provides the amount due, due date and how to prevent the State Department from denying, revoking, or limiting a passport. However, it is late in the game at this point because the IRS CP508C Notice is also sent to the State Department.

    If your employee is posted outside the U.S., the State Department may receive the notice prior to the employee. The IRS sends the notice by regular mail to the last known address and does not send a copy to the power of attorney.

    But She Is a Senior Executive!

    Even if the employee needs the U.S. passport to retain her job which in turn she needs to pay off her debt, the IRS expects payment.  Full payment is preferred but it may be possible to make an alternative payment arrangement to have the IRS CP508C reversed. If the employee seeks your guidance, the best response is:  Talk to an experienced tax attorney or tax CPA.

    Once the employee pays off the debt, the debt becomes unenforceable, or debt ceases to be a seriously delinquent tax debt, the IRS will reverse the certification within 30 days of the resolution and provide notification to the State Department. The State Department will then update the individual’s record.

    Detrimental to the Company

    Revocation of an employee’s U.S. passport can have a significant adverse impact on the business.  It would be embarrassing for the company to explain a key member of the finance team is unable to close a deal in person because her passport has been revoked.  (More embarrassing would be the failure to take care of one’s children: Unpaid child support of US$2500 or more also makes an employee ineligible to receive a U.S. passport.)

    Similarly, it would be demoralizing to a foreign subsidiary to hear the deployment of their new American general manager has been cancelled because she did not manage her U.S. taxes. On the flip side, financial stress can adversely impact your employee’s performance.

    To protect the company, a pre-employment credit check may be appropriate. Where permitted by law, some employers do a credit check before hiring a new employee. In the U.S. when a potential employer runs a credit check, they receive a credit report similar to a report the individual would receive except certain information which might violate employment laws is omitted. The report will show the candidate’s payment history, outstanding debt and available credit.

    On an ongoing basis, the company should consider including debt management counseling as a benefit to employees. For specific ex-pat tax questions, human resources should provide the employee an opportunity to speak to the assigned ex-pat tax preparer.  Human resources may also consider providing contact information for the American Bar Association (ABA) and American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

    Human Resources Training

    On the immediate front, corporate human resources departments should consider alerting employees of their obligations to stay current with their U.S. taxes.  For longer term planning, human resources should provide training to both U.S. citizens and non-U.S. citizen employees engaged in international business travel or overseas deployment.

    The training should not only include U.S. passport revocation but:

    • The Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts Report (FBAR)
    • IRS Form 8938 Statement of Special Foreign Financial Assets
    • Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act and IRS Form W-8BEN
    • ​Common Reporting Standard and Self-Certifications

    Employees need to gain a basic understanding of these topics as they are being inundated with form requests by employers, financial institutions and the U.S. government.

    Come up with an educational plan now because the last thing the CFO needs is for a key member of her team to be a no show at an important international meeting.

    For additional blog posts, please go to my website: https://www.elizabethmcmorrowlaw.com/blog.

    Elizabeth McMorrow is an attorney with more than 25 years’ experience representing companies in diverse industries including financial, life-sciences, beverages and imaging technology on international-related legal issues as both in-house and outside counsel. She is Board Secretary for BWF and the owner of Elizabeth A. McMorrow Law LLC. She can be reached at elizabeth@elizabethmcmorrowlaw.com.




    Boston Women in Finance is a professional women's group dedicated to bringing together a diverse community of accomplished women with financial backgrounds, experience, and industry interests, to network, collaborate, and inspire. 

    Our membership is a powerful community of women leaders, innovators, and influencers who meet monthly to delve into a wide range of topics including economic and financial trends, technological advancements, evolving leadership roles, professional development, and much more. 

    At Boston Women in Finance meetings and social events, you will always meet someone new and learn something too!

    Copyright © Elizabeth A. McMorrow Law LLC.  All rights reserved.


  • 26 Aug 2020 7:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Each month, we profile BWF members of the community in our "Member Spotlight" series.  This month, meet Nancy Johnsen.  Get to know her a bit better!

    Nancy Johnsen
    Senior Attorney & Business Partner
    BWF Board Member, Treasurer

    Your favorite BWF program to date?  What were your memorable takeaways?

    Shaping Your Personal and Professional Brand with Debra Kennedy of Strategic Directions Coaching was my favorite BWF program to date. It's personally powerful to know and project who you are and what you want - it eliminates a lot of self-doubt. Identifying your authentic qualities, traits, and preferences (not what they "should" be) and finding ways to bring those forward in your career as well as your personal and professional interactions will make you more successful and satisfied with less stress - primarily because you will attract the people and opportunities that resonate with you and avoid those that don't.  You can't be all things, to all people and still shine your brightest light.  

    What is your #1 WFH tool?

    My internet connection. Without question. I have found that there is no need to be moving from location to location all day, playing beat the clock and traffic. I can meet, create, and research all from the table I moved into my living room. I am not sure that I have found a flattering camera angle yet, but it gives me back so much time that I use to volunteer at the local food pantry, work with my local chamber of commerce, discover the many (many!) projects that need attention around the house, and read. As an extroverted introvert and a hands on volunteer - this is win/win.

    Something you are most proud of in your career?

    This is a question that I used to struggle with  because you're supposed to have a well rehearsed, smooth answer to demonstrate self-confidence, achievement, intelligence, and leadership while being humble and projecting an ability to still be the perfect team member.  Exhausting to even think about! There is so little that any of us truly accomplish on our own - we are all assisted (or hindered) by social structures, hierarchy, connections, expectations, experiences, and the work of others - that it feels uncomfortable to take the kind of credit that 'pride' requires. No one cuts costs, reorganizes a division, rolls out a company wide policy, rescues whales, effects change, etc. on their own. So when I tried to give people the expected answer - it felt inauthentic to me and probably to them. (see that circle back to my favorite BWF program?) Also what and who we are proud of changes over time with greater experience, information, and perspective.  

    At the moment, the activity that I find most satisfying and impactful is volunteering with my local chamber of commerce to assist small businesses in my community.  I have been very fortunate to have had a broad and varied series of career adventures (so far) that allow me to see issues from many angles and work as a bridge between stakeholders.  The best thing anyone has said to me in 2020 is that I made the firehose of information and complex government guidance during shutdown and reopening understandable and relevant to their business.  And the most fun I have had all year (so far)  was figuring out how the reopening guidance applied in practical, tailored ways to individual businesses and their employees.  Designing the connection between policy/legal requirements and operations is my current jam. (ok - maybe a bit of pride is lurking in there somewhere.)

    A "go to" for inspiration/motivation?   Jam song, best read lately, guilty pleasure, binge watch?  (pick one)

    I just realized that because I have not driven much since February - I have no idea what the "song of the summer" is this year!  Do you?  My pandemic indulgence has been reading (a lot): American Gospel : God, the Founding Fathers, and the Making of a Nation by Jon Meacham (for the fundamentals); Engineers of Victory :The Problem Solvers Who Turned the Tide in the Second World War by Paul Kennedy (success is not just a result vision and leadership, it's created by the implementation, operations, and ingenuity of the "doers"), and the daily blog and weekly American political history vlog of Heather Cox Richardson (she offers a fascinating and cogent historical tour of how our politics arrived in this moment and how this moment may shape our nation's future). 

    For inspiration, Julia Child (one of my career adventures was training as a pastry chef and I own over 300 cookbooks) will not steer you wrong:  “Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” (follow and fully explore your passion, be curious); “A party without cake is just a meeting.” (live a little, work will still be there); and  “Always remember: If you’re alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. Who’s going to know?” (you will make mistakes, but you choose how to move on from them).  I recommend the book  "As Always, Julia : The Letters of Julia Child & Avis DeVoto" by food historian, Joan Reardon, which illuminates another time of great social change - the years immediately after WWII.  In letters sent to each other over decades, we witness the friendship between  these two women evolve as they create, and try to find a publisher for, the foundational cookbook "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" and then, that done, figuring out where life goes from there.  Despite many setbacks, criticisms, uncertainty, uncooperative team members, being dropped by publishers, moving around the world, distractions, delays, and relying solely on international mail to communicate with each other - Julia and Avis never stopped working steadfastly towards their vision.  Through discussions of friends, families, marriages, politics, uncertainty about and hopes for the future, travel, relocations, careers, disappointments, recipe testing, the personal impact of the McCarthy hearings, deaths, and aging - we see that life's ups and downs, our fears and hopes, our personal and professional growth, and our relationships to each other and our society (even in moments of great change) are much the same in any age. 

    One final bit of wisdom from Ms. Child:  “I think every woman should have a blowtorch” (equally handy for doors locked against you and making creme brulee).  

    Amen, Julia.  Amen.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    Connect with Nancy on LinkedIn!

    ABOUT BOSTON WOMEN IN FINANCE

    Boston Women in Finance is a professional women's group dedicated to bringing together a diverse community of accomplished women with financial backgrounds, experience, and industry interests, to network, collaborate, and inspire. 

    Our membership is a powerful community of women leaders, innovators, and influencers who meet monthly to delve into a wide range of topics including economic and financial trends, technological advancements, evolving leadership roles, professional development, and much more. 

    At Boston Women in Finance meetings and social events, you will always meet someone new and learn something too!

     


  • 12 Aug 2020 7:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Is your team on the same page regarding industry acronyms and their key implications? Elizabeth McMorrow, Owner of Elizabeth A. McMorrow Law LLC and BWF board member, breaks it down for us. 

     In the world of acronyms, nothing is more frustrating than the use of the same acronym for two completely different action items – especially when both requirements apply to the same industry. The acronym world implodes when one of your employee’s tells her manager the company received a SAR and the manager responds without further information, “We don’t receive a SAR, we file a SAR.”

    Not necessarily! For those in the finance arena, the appropriate response should be, “Are you talking about a subject access request or a suspicious activity report?”

    GDPR’s Subject Access Request

    As a result of the European Union (EU) General Data Protection Regulation’s (GDPR’s) extraterritorial reach, a U.S. business that controls or processes personal data of EU residents may be subject to the GDPR.  The GDPR came into effect on May 25, 2018 and is an EU regulation that requires businesses to protect EU residents’ privacy and personal data.  It also grants several rights to individuals with respect to their personal data:

    • Access
    • Update
    • Opt out
    • Erasure
    • Portability

    If your U.S. organization is subject to GDPR, a protected individual may contact you to find out whether you hold any personal data concerning her.  This Subject Access Request (SAR) is the means by which the individual exercises her right to know details about the information and your use of the information such as the purpose for which you are processing the data, where and how long you will store the data, who you have disclosed the data to, etc.

    • Appropriate GDPR SAR training for your staff should include:
    • How to identify a subject access request.
    • Awareness of the strict deadlines associated with the request.
    • Whether it is permissible to charge a fee to deal with the request.
    • How to identify and collect the relevant information.
    • What information may be legally withheld.
    • An appropriate written response to the individual.

    BSA’s Suspicious Activity Reporting

    The U.S. Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) established recordkeeping and reporting requirements for nationalbanks, federal savings associations, federal branches and agencies of foreign banks. The BSA was amended to incorporate the provisions of the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to  Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001 (the “USA PATRIOT Act”).

    BSA requires financial institutions to file a Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) with the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for transactions involving US$5,000.00 or more in funds and assets if the institution knows, suspects, or has reason to suspect that:

    • The transaction involves funds derived from illegal activities or is intended or conducted in order to hide or disguise funds or assets derived from illegal activities (including, without limitation, the ownership, nature, source, location, or control of such funds or assets) as part of a plan to violate or evade any federal law or regulation or to avoid any transaction reporting requirement under federal law or regulation;
    • The transaction is designed to evade the BSA or its implementing regulations.; or
    • The transaction has no business or apparent lawful purpose or is not the type of transaction that the particular customer would normally be expected to engage in, and the company knows of no reasonable explanation for the transaction after examining the available facts, including the background and possible purpose of the transaction.

    Appropriate BSA SAR training for your staff should include:

    • How to identify the client associated with the account/investment, the source of funding and the nature of the transaction.
    • What the internal notification process is to escalate the employee’s concern to the appropriate manager.
    • How to conduct an enhanced investigation to determine whether to file an SAR with FinCEN.
    • How to complete and file a SAR.
    • The need for strict confidentiality in filing the SAR.
    • What information should be documented from the decision process to file the SAR (and close the account if closed).

    Communication

    Whether it is SAR v SAR or any other acronym in your professional world, do not make assumptions. Do not assume you or your employee know what those letters mean. It is better to spell out the phrase, particularly if you are working with a new employee. Once you are all on the same page as to the meaning, a good manager will ensure that everyone in her department knows not just the words, but the requirements associated with those words.

    And now you know, you receive a GDPR SAR but file a BSA SAR.

    Elizabeth is a frequent contributor to BWF News.  Stay tuned for future insights.  For additional blog posts, go to Elizabeth's website: https://www.elizabethmcmorrowlaw.com/blog.

    ABOUT ELIZABETH MCMORROW

    Elizabeth McMorrow is an attorney with more than 25 years’ experience representing companies in diverse industries including financial, life-sciences, beverages, steel, and imaging technology on international-related legal issues as both in-house and outside counsel. She is Board Secretary for BWF and the owner of Elizabeth A. McMorrow Law LLC.

    She can be reached at elizabeth@elizabethmcmorrowlaw.com.


    ABOUT BOSTON WOMEN IN FINANCE

    Boston Women in Finance is a professional women's group dedicated to bringing together a diverse community of accomplished women with financial backgrounds, experience, and industry interests, to network, collaborate, and inspire. 

    Our membership is a powerful community of women leaders, innovators, and influencers who meet monthly to delve into a wide range of topics including economic and financial trends, technological advancements, evolving leadership roles, professional development, and much more. 

    At Boston Women in Finance meetings and social events, you will always meet someone new and learn something too!

    Copyright © Elizabeth A. McMorrow Law LLC.  All rights reserved


  • 30 Jul 2020 7:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Boston Women in Finance (BWF) is honored to announce the launch of our first annual BWF Inspire Scholarship.  As part of our continued commitment to engage professional women, BWF is committed to providing minority women the opportunity to succeed in the business world. The goal of this scholarship is to inspire, motivate and elevate these women in their pursuit of a career in the financial industry.

    There is a lot of discussion in the country at present about discrimination so we at BWF asked ourselves, what can we do as an organization to make a difference? The BWF Inspire Scholarship is a small step in the grand scheme of things but we hope it will be a big step for the scholarship recipients.
    Elizabeth McMorrow
    Elizabeth A. McMorrow Law, LLC
    BWF Scholarship Chair

    Sticking with our Boston area roots, we are offering this scholarship to students at Bunker Hill Community College and University of Massachusetts Boston. Women comprise more than 50% of the student body at each of these public schools. Additionally, Bunker Hill is one of the most diverse institutions of higher education in Massachusetts with approximately 24% African-American students and 24% Latino and greater than 50% female students. UMass Boston is the third most diverse university in the U.S.

    The recipients of this scholarship will be awarded a one-year membership in BWF, free attendance at BWF events during that school year and assigned mentors. The application and qualification details are posted on the Boston Women in Finance website.  Deadline for this year's application is September 30, 2020.

    We look forward to announcing the three recipients of the BWF Inspire Scholarship in October 2020.

    For details on the application & more info visit BWF Scholarship

    ABOUT BOSTON WOMEN IN FINANCE

    Boston Women in Finance is a professional women's group dedicated to bringing together a diverse community of accomplished women with financial backgrounds, experience, and industry interests, to network, collaborate, and inspire. 

    Our membership is a powerful community of women leaders, innovators, and influencers who meet monthly to delve into a wide range of topics including economic and financial trends, technological advancements, evolving leadership roles, professional development, and much more. 

    At Boston Women in Finance meetings and social events, you will always me



  • 15 Jul 2020 7:47 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Are you a file hoarder?  Elizabeth McMorrow, Owner of Elizabeth A. McMorrow Law LLC and BWF board member reviews best practices for your organization's overall file retention. 

    You may have seen the television show Hoarders and thought, “How could anyone get to that point of hoarding? Why can’t they see the damage they are doing by keeping all of that stuff!?”  You may even be sitting on your couch watching as you “clean” out your work in-box by putting everything in Saved.

    It is time to look through that Saved box and (please say you are not still printing everything) your paper files and your organization’s overall file retention practices to avoid the risks of file hoarding.

    BUDGET BUSTER

    If you maintain paper files, you are either renting floor space in your office or at a third-party storage facility for file cabinets and/or boxes.  In addition to the rental piece of the third-party storage, there are service fees associated with file retrieval, refiling, and transport.

    When paper file boxes are loaded up to be moved offsite, it is easy to understand the cost associated with packing up, transporting and storing that pallet of boxes. There are also costs associated with electronic storage. The cloud is not a magical place: it is a bunch of energy consuming servers sitting in a building somewhere in the world being serviced by skilled experts.

    Companies allocate about 5% of their IT budget to storage and backup. Some studies show that companies’ data storage is increasing 35% per year. Are you willing to increase your CIO’s budget for hoarders?

    PRIVACY LAW VIOLATION

    Data hack! Our data is at risk every day from hackers. Why put even more data at risk? Moreover, why put even more data at risk that you were required under law to have destroyed?

    The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which applies to certain U.S. organizations does not have a set data destruction period. However, the GDPR does require that the organization document and justify the retention period it has established for retaining covered data.

    AUDIT EXAMINATION & LITIGATION DISCOVERY TROVE

    When your organization retains documents beyond the statutory or regulatory retention deadline, you are giving government regulators and plaintiffs an opportunity to find more potential problems in the organization. You may have corrected the historic problem or fired the offending employee but the 10-year old document still exists. It may have to be turned over during a regulatory examination or litigation discovery.

    RECORD RETENTION - HOW LONG?

    Because I am a lawyer, I will give the standard lawyer answer: It depends. The general answer is that you should look to the longest period of regulations relevant to your business or your customer’s business. Retention rules vary by regulatory agency, state and country.  One retention period that cuts across all industries is 6 years. This is the retention time required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

    It is critical to have a communication plan in place for litigation. If your organization becomes subject to litigation, investigation or subpoena, you must notify relevant employees immediately to ensure documents are not destroyed even if a document has been saved beyond the normal retention period. There may be significant criminal or civil penalties even if the destruction of documents was inadvertent.

    POLICIES & PROCEDURES

    Document retention or destruction decisions cannot be convenient ones – a document purge the day before a regulatory examination may land someone in jail.  Organization-wide written policies and procedures must be put in place.

    Even if you are not in a large organization, you should educate yourself on these basic points as the first step to establishing document retention policies and procedures:

    Paper v electronic files

    • Scanning
    • Retrieval capability

    Security
    • Contingency planning for someone else to access files
    • Data breach incident response plan

     File disposal procedures
    • Documents and electronic media
    • Shred, permanently erase, or otherwise destroy so that the information cannot be reconstructed
      • Shred / purge at end of each year
      • Internal certification / log
    • Some devices may save electronic copies of documents
      • Scanners, photocopiers, fax machines
      • Ensure any stored information is erased before the device is removed from office
    Document management software

    For those in larger organizations, it may make sense to obtain outside assistance in establishing new or updating existing policies and procedures.

    For additional blog posts, please go to my website: https://www.elizabethmcmorrowlaw.com/blog.


    ABOUT ELIZABETH MCMORROW

    Elizabeth McMorrow is an attorney with more than 25 years’ experience representing companies in diverse industries including financial, life-sciences, beverages, steel, and imaging technology on international-related legal issues as both in-house and outside counsel. She is Board Secretary for BWF and the owner of Elizabeth A. McMorrow Law LLC.

    She can be reached at elizabeth@elizabethmcmorrowlaw.com.

    Copyright © Elizabeth A. McMorrow Law LLC.  All rights reserved

    Elizabeth will be a frequent contributor to BWF News.  Stay tuned for future insights.  For additional blog posts, go to Elizabeth's website: https://www.elizabethmcmorrowlaw.com/blog.


    ABOUT BOSTON WOMEN IN FINANCE

    Boston Women in Finance is a professional women's group dedicated to bringing together a diverse community of accomplished women with financial backgrounds, experience, and industry interests, to network, collaborate, and inspire. 

    Our membership is a powerful community of women leaders, innovators, and influencers who meet monthly to delve into a wide range of topics including economic and financial trends, technological advancements, evolving leadership roles, professional development, and much more. 

    At Boston Women in Finance meetings and social events, you will always meet someone new and learn something too!


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