• 01 Jun 2020 10:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Each month, we profile a few BWF members of the community in our "Member Spotlight" series.  This month, meet Erica Fotta & Mary Ellen DeWinter.  Get to know them a bit better!

    Erica Fotta
    COO, ETF & Index Investment Management
    BNY Mellon Investment Investment
    BWF Member

    What was your favorite BWF program to date?  And key takeaways?

    As a relatively new BWF member (I joined in Q1), I have been impressed with the quality of the panelists for each program. Notably, last month's discussion on Navigating the CARES Act was not only timely, but the panelists presented a complicated topic in a very easy to understand manner.  

    What is your #1 WFH tool?

    I am a huge advocate of using video tools to connect with clients and colleagues. My experience is that virtual face-to-face meetings (1:1 or in small groups) help strengthen personal relationships. It also allows you to gauge reactions and be more aware when others are trying to contribute to the conversation. Add in the ability to share documents real-time and video can be very effective.  

    Something you are most proud of in your career?

    Watching the colleagues who I mentored over the years advance in their careers makes me incredibly proud. Their myriad accomplishments aside, it is those who have matured into humble, considerate leaders who I most admire and know will leave a similar legacy for others to follow.

    What’s your latest binge watch?

    One of my favorite binge watches was the BBC series Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch. Most recently, with two sons unexpectedly home from college, our latest family binge watch has been Family Guy!

    Connect with Erica on LinkedIn!

    Mary Ellen DeWinter
    Advisor, Paragon Fund Services
    BWF Board Member

    Your most memorable BWF program to date?  And key takeaways?

    BWF’s recent program on Managing and Collaborating with Remote Teams was a timely and relevant topic given this time of our country’s pandemic.  This program reinforced the importance of trust, teamwork, communication and being flexible, both within and beyond one’s regular scope of responsibility, to successfully address dynamic business opportunities.   

    What is your #1 WFH tool?  

    Zoom has become a much more essential tool in addition to an updated process to better track the status of evolving client projects in a more effective manner.

    Something you are most proud of in your career? 

    I am proud of leveraging my diverse experience across different industries to help firms/organizations achieve their goals and objectives.

    Best read lately?

    Given our current times, two books that I have read recently and would recommend are as follows:

    “How Will You Measure Your Life”, by Clayton M. Christensen  and “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni.   They provide a great perspective for both personal and professional success.   

    Connect with Mary Ellen on LinkedIn 


    Special thanks to both Erica & Mary Ellen for participating in this monthly feature & of course for your continued support of the BWF community!

    If you'd like to be featured in an upcoming BWF Member Spotlight, please reach out  

  • 13 May 2020 3:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Do you have a business survival kit during this pandemic? Those who attended Boston Women in Finance’s May webcast “Business Survival In Pandemic Times: Navigating The CARES Act & Other Relief” may have got some answers. Experts Lyn Kaplan, Macken Toussaint & Gabrielle Piaiso lead a 60-minute discussion, offering an overview of the small business relief package under the CARES Act. 

    Our speakers also gathered a list of helpful resources to help as you continue to lead and protect your business. 


    • The Federal Reserve System- Main Street Lending Program: The Federal Reserve to provide liquidity to lenders to support loans to eligible businesses (small and mid-sized businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic).  Eligibility (as of 4/30/20): (1) the business has 15,000 employees or fewer; or (2) the business had 2019 revenues of $5 billion or less. (Go here to view
    • Covid Relief Coalition: Launched in April 2020 in Massachusetts by a coalition of law firms, nonprofits and governmental agencies to help small businesses and nonprofits in the greater Boston area access emergency loans and other sources of relief. Providing pro bono legal support. Resources include: (i) list of sources of relief for small businesses; (ii) list of sources of relief for nonprofits; and (iii) list of other available funding sources. (Go here to view
    • Lawyers For Civil Right (Boston):  LCR is offering virtual free legal workshops to help small businesses during COVID-19. There is a Covid-19 help and support page, including small business resources. (Go here to view)
    • TSNE – MissionWorks: Covid-19 resources for nonprofits, including financial supports page. (Go here to view)
    • Center for Women & Enterprise: SBA Partner is providing free counseling and mentoring. The CWE has compiled a list of COVID-19 funding opportunities and resources that may be available to small businesses. (Go here to view)  
    • SCORE: Has Coronavirus small business resource hub, sharing SCORE partner and friend programs that are available for small business support. (Go here to view
    • Assistance from SBA Partners:  Free counseling and mentoring (including loan application assistance) from SBA partners, including Certified Development Companies (CDC), Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), and SCORE. (Go here to view
    • Bunker Labs (Go here) *Specifically for entrepreneurs who are U.S. Veterans
    • Forbes List of Small Business Resources (Go here)
    • CDC Guidance for Business and Workplaces (Go here)


    • The Insperity team has done a tremendous job in building a series of webinars addressing the challenges of business owners and operators in pandemic times. A few they recommend include: 
    • Greatness: Selfless Exceptionalism in the Face of Uncertainty, Adversity, and Chaos (Go here)
    • Greatness: Selfless Exceptionalism in the Face of Uncertainty, Practicing for Emergencies (Go here)
    • Greatness: Selfless Exceptionalism in the Face of Uncertainty, Painting a Masterpiece (Go here)  
    • Insperity Business Resiliency Series, Session 1: Rescue, Recover, Rebuild (Go here)
    • Insperity Business Resiliency Series, Session 2: The Paycheck Protection Program - What Do I Do Now? (Go here)
    • Insperity Business Resiliency Series, Session 3: Returning to the Workplace (Go here)
    • Insperity Presents: Pete Hinojosa & Key Ideas for Leadership (Go here)
    • Insperity & Upward Present- Pete Hinojosa & Key Ideas for Leadership (Go here)
    • Navigating the Waves of Uncertainty, Session 4: Cultivating Great Culture through the Crisis (Go here)
    • Taking Employees' Temperatures Webinar CDC recommendations (Go here)


    If you'd like to get in touch with any of our speakers from today's session, you can reach them at the following:

    Lyn Kaplan, Business Performance Advisor, Insperity |

    Macken Toussaint, Attorney, Riemer | Braunstein LLP |

    Gabrielle Piasio, Vice President, Commercial Lending Officer, The Provident Bank |


    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!

  • 01 May 2020 3:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Each month, we'll profile a few BWF members of the community in our "Member Spotlight" series.  This month, Becky Blackler &  Karen Hogle were kind enough to answer our questions.  Get to know them a bit more here!

    Becky Blackler, President, Boston Women in Finance

    What was your favorite BWF program to date?  And key takeaways?

    I've absolutely loved all of our programming, but if I had to choose one (or two!), they would be Hacking Stress or Shaping Your Personal Brand. Both programs shared the importance of truly knowing and appreciating oneself, and being emotionally intelligent as you move and interact throughout your career.

    What is your #1 WFH tool?

    Truly, just keeping an organized workspace, even if you only get a quarter of the dining room table. Keeping the paperwork, pens, and cord clutter to a minimum allows me the room to concentrate, even if it's chaos around me. And finally, packing it up when the day is done, and putting it away in a place that I can't see it as I'm going through the house. Maintaining some semblance of balance between work and home is key!

    Something you are most proud of in your career?

    I feel blessed to have so many to choose from, but, if I had to choose one, it would be the annual fundraisers I ran as part of The CFO Leadership Council. Together with my team, we raised tens of thousands of dollars for Make-A-Wish Massachusetts & Rhode Island, Birthday Wishes, Autism Speaks, and more. It was a monumental effort that gave joy to everyone involved, and most importantly, served a critical need for the families we supported. 

    What’s your latest “go to” jam song?

    Good as Hell by Lizzo. Boss Up and Change Your Life! (

    Karen Hogle Vice President, Revenue Assurance & Benefits, Granite Telecommunications & BWF Board Member

    Your favorite BWF program to date?  And key takeaways?

    "Stay Fired Up at Work Without Burning Out" My memorable takeaways: 1) Make myself a priority 2) Find balance between work and family.  (Still struggling on both)

    What is your #1 WFH tool?  

    Lattice (For staff 1x1s, goal tracking, updates, etc)

    Something you are most proud of in your career? 

    The development of my staff. A number have become managers, supervisors in just a few years and are doing a wonderful job. 

    Best read lately?

    The book “Severance” by Ling Ma is a great read and strangely similar to what is going on in the world right now. 


    Special thanks to both Becky & Karen for participating in this inaugural feature & of course for your continued support of the BWF community!

    If you'd like to be featured in an upcoming BWF Member Spotlight, please reach out  

  • 22 Apr 2020 5:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Professional presence and brand will always be an important determinant of career growth; however, it can be tricky to navigate the right presence to hold at various stages of careers. 

    Recently, Boston Women in Finance had the great fortune of hosting expert executive & career coach, Deb Kennedy as our luncheon keynote for "Shaping Up Your Personal and Professional Brand".  Deb Kennedy, helped attendees:

    • Identify the qualities that are basic to their authentic selves
    • Keep these qualities are front and center when others perceive you
    • Learn tips to shift those perceptions if you find your brand is off the mark

    Deb also shared an invaluable lists of resources.  Several BWF members have mentioned the tremendous value they've found from this list, so we thought we share it with the rest of our BWF community.  

    18 Resources To Shape Your Personal & Professional Brand


    James A Masciarelli

    Discover Your CEO Brand                              

    Suzanne Bates

    Flying Without a Net                                 

    Thomas DeLong

    The War of Art                                                

    Steven Pressfield

    What Got You Here Won’t Get You There    

    Marshall Goldsmith    

    The Success Principles                                 

    Jack Canfield

    The Tipping Point                                            

    Malcolm Gladwell

    Speak Like a CEO                                         

    Suzanne Bates

    Stop Saying You’re Fine                             

    Mel Robbins

    The First 90 Days                                        

    Michael Watkins

    Business Model Generation                     

    Alexander Osterwalder

    Being the Boss                                             

    Linda A. Hill & Kent Lineback

    Braving the Wilderness                        


    Getting Naked                                          

    Patrick Lencioni

    The Networking Survival Guide              

    Diane Darling

    The Entrepreneurial Instinct              

    Monica Mehta

    Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team 

    Patrick Lencioni

    Entrepreneurial You                                    

    Dorrie Clark

    A Bit More About Debra Kennedy 

    Debra Kennedy, Executive and Career Coach
    Strategic Directions Consulting

    I am  an executive coach and leadership development specialist working with individuals and teams to develop strategies for successful careers and balanced lives. I bring 25+ years of corporate and higher education leadership experience to help managers and executives optimize their professional presence and skillset to achieve positive and successful results.

    As a coach, I partner with clients in a straightforward manner to enhance career potential and smooth transitions while considering the whole person and the passions that drive excellence in life and work.  My approach is grounded in experience in several industries and professional training in leadership and coaching.

    Prior to becoming an executive coach, I was the Director of Executive Education at Bentley University where I launched the business unit and excelled in designing innovative leadership development and business programs for corporations and small business partners as well as teaching Global Strategy.  As a former General Manager in the energy industry, I led finance and marketing business divisions through industry change and deregulation.   I am a seasoned leader with proven results in creatively launching new business units, redesigning existing processes within established operating units, and looking for new solutions.

    My depth of experience in strategy, finance, marketing and leadership development provide a broad and unique perspective to her coaching practice.  I bring  a tangible understanding of the challenges of leading organizations through change and shaping strategies to make progress. 

    Debra welcomes the chance to continue the discussion.  Learn more at

    And thanks again Deb!

    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!  Check out our best-in-class programs; and the About Us tab for further information on our membership and leadership team.

  • 14 Apr 2020 7:45 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Searching for a bit of inspiration as you continue your WFH? Here's a list of helpful resources shared during Boston Women in Finance's recent online discussion, "Collaborating & Managing Remote Teams".  We hope you find them useful as we continue to engage & inspire!  


    10 Tips To Help You Lead Your Remote Team 
    Thrive Global

    The New Rules For Remote Work ~ Pandemic Edition 
    Harvard Research Study

    Readers Ask I Need Tips For Working At Home
    Harvard Research Study

    Leading Remotely: What Managers Need To Keep Teams Engaged

    How To Manage (Newly) Remote Workers
    Harvard Business Review


    9 TEDTalks For Leaders Managing Remote Teams

    How To Look Good On Video Calls


    A Manager's Guide To Virtual Teams by Yael Zofi

    Platform Revolution by Geoffrey G. Parker, Marshall W. Van Alstyne & Sangeet Paul Choudary

    Meetings Suck by Cameron Herold

    Life Is Good The Book, by Bert & John Jacobs

  • 30 Jun 2015 7:11 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Today’s business landscape is heavily mined with systems, signals and detection devices, yet financial crimes continue to be perpetuated on companies.  Boston Women in Finance tackled the subject of fraud recently, led by moderator Donna Walsh, Highland Financial Group, with speakers Meredith Leary, Partner, Mintz Levin; Sheila Magoon, Special Agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and Kelly Webber, Supervisor of FBI Boston’s Forensic Accountant Squad. 

    The Person You Least Expect  Typically fraud within a company is led by an individual who has oversight of critical components of the system. The person knows how to game the system, including how to avoid detection.  Thus it is often “the person you least expect,” since that person has somehow accrued responsibilities that rightfully should be distributed among others for appropriate checks and balances.

    Checks and Balances   Segregation of duties is a basic tenet of fraud prevention.  This principle dictates, for example, that a single person cannot be responsible for the full  cycle of sending out invoices, collecting receipts and then adjusting accounts receivable.  Instead the duties should be divided among multiple people to ensure shared control.  Yet sometimes companies are short-staffed or decide it’s “more efficient” and one person winds up with full oversight of a material financial process.

    Confronting Fraud  If a company determines that a fraud has occurred, it is very important to take proper steps both internally and externally. Since it is likely the first time the company has had to manage through the process, there should be immediate consideration to bringing in experienced financial and legal resources. 

    Preventive Measures  Do not rely solely on regularly scheduled audits or in-place systems to uncover fraud.  The person committing the deception knows how to work around these detection devices.  As such, companies need to take a holistic view including a top-down review of financial processes as well as a focused assessment of the individual components.

    Pay Attention A poorly designed system and/or an overly entrusted employee can result in a small infraction becoming a larger problem. The best defense is a good offense – including background hiring checks, ongoing internal controls and attention to early warning signals.

  • 04 May 2015 10:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our panelists, from left to right: Kerri Casarano, Client Relationship Associate, KForce; Sharon Schuler, SVP Finance, Americas Region, Clarks; Paula Higgins, Program Manager, MassMutual Financial Group; and Elizabeth Hailer, Marketing, Branding and Business Development Consulting. 
    In April 2015, Boston Women in Finance presented "Differentiating Yourself for Success," an in-depth look at how you can brand yourself for success. Our panel will discuss best practices for promoting yourself, why executive presence is important, and how you can take your career to the next level. 

    We learned:

    Be a Great Business Partner:

    • Help solve problems, brand yourself as a ‘fixer’
    • Foster innovation and collaborate
    • Always add value and contribute
    • Ask good questions and always listen
    • Always follow through on what you promise

    Find Your Unique Brand:

    • No matter what your level, always try to learn new things
    • Get a mentor
    • Find your passion – be honest with yourself about what you want to do
    • Be clear with your management about what you want to do and how you want to grow
    • Don’t let yourself get pigeon-holed – while you will have to specialize your skills at times, don’t be myopic. Always challenge yourself to get out of your comfort zone to generalize your skills.

    Promote The Good Work You Do:

    • Be mindful of where you are in your career – promotion tactics work differently at different stages
    • Find opportunities to demonstrate your competencies
    • As a leader, always promote your team first
    • When on LinkedIn, promote the good work your company is doing all of the time, and the good work that you’re doing only some of the time

    What Your Managers Don’t Want To See:

    • Don’t blame others
    • No gossiping
    • No whining or excuses
    • Don’t be indirect

    Our panelists parting advice – always be authentic, and always be working on your relationships.

    Interested in learning more about Boston Women in Finance? Click here. To register for our next program, "Identifying Fraud: Malfunction or Malfeasance," please click here.

  • 30 Apr 2015 9:47 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    CAMBRIDGE, MA  – Harvard Smart Woman Securities, a student-run investment organization based at Harvard University, selected Beth Kurth Woman of the Year 2015. The Harvard SWS program includes education, mentoring and research. Over the last three years Beth has lectured on The Financial Crisis of 2008 and How to Read the Wall Street Journal: Statistics, Stories and Disestimation.

    “We are delighted to share Beth’s recognition,” said Boston Women in Finance president Macken Toussaint.  “When Harvard SWS was looking for instructors, they contacted Boston Women in Finance and we were able offer speakers with depth and breadth of financial expertise.”

    “This is truly a great honor to be selected by this talented group of Harvard students. I admire their hard work and innovation, and look forward to watching their continued success,” said Beth Kurth.  

    Beth leads Investor Relations for LeMaitre Vascular (Nasdaq: LMAT).  LeMaitre is a global provider of innovative devices for the treatment of peripheral vascular disease.  Previously she led the Corporate Forum, a resource for public companies to meet with the retail investment community.  Other experience includes Director of Investor and Public Relations for an enterprise software company and Public Information Officer for the federal government’s emergency management agency.  She began her career as an analyst with an economic consulting firm.
    Beth is past president of Boston Women in Finance and currently serves as Chair of the Advisory Council.  She holds an MBA from Boston University and a BA in English from Tulane University.

    About Harvard Smart Woman Securities  Harvard SWS is a premier investment organization with chapters nationwide devoted to educating undergraduate women about investing in the financial markets. Through instructive seminars, mentoring initiatives, and meetings with successful investors such as Warren Buffett, SWS provides resources upon which women can build greater knowledge of the financial markets. By educating, mentoring, and giving practical experience to undergraduate women, SWS aims to empower a new generation of women investors for the future. 

    About Boston Women in Finance  Founded in 1995, Boston Women in Finance is a community of women professionals demonstrating thought leadership across the financial sector and financial function.  Our monthly programming offers insight into financial issues, workplace events and leadership strategies.   Our diverse membership represents commercial and investment banks, brokerage houses, asset managers, biotech, high tech, insurance companies, accounting and consulting firms, entrepreneurs and academic institutions.  

  • 22 Mar 2015 10:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    In today’s data-driven world, there are more numbers and metrics than ever.  As finance professionals, we inherently understand the numbers.  The challenge, therefore, is communicating the meaning of the data to a full range of audiences. 

    Led by moderator Liz Sadwick, Director of Business Development, RPg Asset Management, panelists at Boston Women in Finance’s “How to Tell a Story with Numbers” reviewed how to identify the right data, words and pictures to tell a meaningful story.     

    The Right Data   Sometimes the story begins with the data and other times it is the data that leads to a story of interest.  Beth Healy, Financial and Investigative Reporter, The Boston Globe, explained that at times she will use data to support an anecdotal story.  Other times she will find a story when she is reading the fine print and/or footnotes.  Whereas the headline of the press release may tout an impressive-looking number, there is often a more interesting story buried in the notes.  She encouraged us as finance professionals to make sure there is an explanation for both good and bad data points.

    The Right Words  Pat Deware, CFO, Selventa, reminded the audience that numbers are only important if they offer meaning into a relevant topic.  As such, she works hard to ensure she narrows down the important data points, then ties those to issues that the management team cares about.  Rather than talk about every metric available, she focuses on the ones that are of use, then uses appropriate descriptions to ensure the meaning is clear to her audience.

    The Right Pictures  Infographics and visuals are increasingly important.  So much so that major publications now have editors responsible just for visual content.  Connie Hubbell, President The Hubbell Group, also impressed upon the group of ensuring that all content – from infographics to  investor decks – be easily viewed on a mobile device. 

    In sum, numbers cannot tell a story by themselves.  Whether using numbers to advocate for more resources for your department or to showcase an exciting company development, it’s important to choose the appropriate  data, describe it with meaningful words, and deliver the complete message in a visually compelling manner.  

    Our next luncheon program, "Differentiating Yourself For Success," is scheduled for April 28th - get your ticket now!

  • 02 Mar 2015 1:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The digital revolution is here, do you know where your data is?  IT executive Jo Hoppe provided insight into today’s IT landscape including the move to the cloud, the importance of a digital data strategy and the crucial questions to ask each and every time you post to social media.

    “Big iron” versus the Cloud   Many companies today are moving their data centers away from on-site hardware and instead are utilizing off-site cloud computing centers. The business case for cloud computing is pervasive and compelling. The efficiencies include:

    • Elastic resource, where intermittent high capacity usage is paid only as needed
    • No capital expenditure, but instead an operating expense as incurred
    • Leveraging the massive purchasing power of cloud suppliers such as Amazon Web Services, Google or Microsoft

    Security  But is cloud computing as secure as a self-hosted system?  In many cases the answer will be yes, the cloud is as secure if not more so. This is because cloud suppliers can leverage security resources just as they leverage purchasing power.  

    Data - the Crown Jewels  Whereas “big data” means exabytes of information, most companies have far less – maybe a few hundred customers or a few thousand transactions.  Nevertheless, all companies should have a digital capital strategy which allows for insights into who are the buyers and what are they buying, whether that be from structured or unstructured (think image or text formats) data. 

    Define Yourself or Be Defined Companies must have a social media strategy as part of a holistic marketing plan.  Social media has moved into mainstream adoption and if you do not actively define your company, others (including competitors) will impose their definition on you. Thus it will be their definition of your capabilities that people discover first.

    Privacy One of the biggest threats to privacy is when individuals post to social media without thinking through  the “connect the dots” implications.  It is critical to understand the entirety of your on-line communications to ensure personal as well as business security.   

    IT has come a long way since stand-alone computers worked only with certain devices across tethered pathways.  Today’s world of seamless global connectivity and unified communications offers  more opportunities to connect, and more obligations to use those connections in a thoughtful manner. 

    Please join us for our next program, "Telling A Story With The Numbers" on March 17th!
    Click here to learn more.                                                                                                            PO Box 52281   Boston, MA 02205
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