News

  • 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.


  • 19 Jan 2015 9:57 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
     
    From left to right, our speakers were Barbara Crawford Nobles, PhD, (formerly) Secretariat, Chief Human Resource Officer, Commonwealth of Massachusetts; Karen Cambray, CFO, Cartera Commerce; Rebecca Chasen, Partner, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services; and Michele Tilghman, Talent Representative, Kforce (Moderator).
    This is a common question: should I stay with my current company to advance, or move on to where the grass may be greener?  Boston Women in Finance convened a panel of executives who provided their insights on the topic, including stretching to a new role, aligning skills to market demands and ensuring ongoing growth – be it at one company or many.

    The panelists represented a wide range of career approaches.  For Rebecca Chasen, Partner, Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, remaining at one company for 20 years has provided the path  to gain different responsibilities to become a Partner.  “Working within one company has allowed me to progress through different roles, with different teams, including special projects and other learning opportunities.”

    A different route was chosen by Karen Cambray, CFO, Cartera Commerce.  Her career path has included “short shelf-life companies, typically VC-backed, where they are looking for an exit sooner rather than later.”  The panelists agreed with her that there is no one recipe for success.  Some companies may offer opportunities to keep your skills growing, whereas others may have more limited paths to develop your career. 

    Barbara Crawford Nobles, PhD, (formerly) Secretariat, Chief Human Resource Officer, Commonwealth of Massachusetts,  explained her position “ended the day Governor Patrick’s term ended.”   As she looks forward, “I consider the experiences I bring and what are my current requirements.” There may be times when a candidate might want international experience and other times when flexibility may be key, she noted. 

    Michele Tilghman, Talent Representative, Kforce, advised the audience to ensure their skills are applicable to the new job for which they are applying.  “You have to set yourself apart. What are the quantifiable results you can point to?”  Michele transitioned from one industry, public accounting, to another, recruiting, utilizing overlapping skills.

    To ensure your talents are aligned to current market demands, the panel recommended using your network to understand different roles, responsibilities and requirements.  You may also want to take a recruiter’s call, whether or not you are actively looking, as this will provide insight into what the market is demanding.  “It is important to make sure you have the right tools in your toolbox,” said Tilghman. 

    How will you know when it’s time to move on to a new role?  Ask yourself if you’re ready for change.  “For me, the impetus has typically been when I felt I was not growing any more, that I’ve ‘been there, done that,’” said Nobles.  This may not necessarily mean moving to a new company.  Rather, a career path can transpire at almost any time and anywhere if you keep your skills current and your connections intact, while knowing what it is you want for yourself.  

    Boston Women in Finance would like to extend a special thanks to our friends at Deloitte for generously hosting our January program!

    *Be sure to register for our next program, Watch Football Like a Pro, generously hosted by our friends at Wells Fargo. This program is complimentary for BWF members! To learn more, or to register, please click here.*


  • 04 Dec 2014 10:49 AM | Deleted user

    11 players, 90 minutes and 7 miles.  Just a few of the facts we learned at the December program of Boston Women in Finance,  “How to Watch Soccer Like a Star.” 

    Led by Felicity Day, NSCAA Premier Coach and Managing Director of John Smith Soccer Academy,  we learned to look for “triangles and diamonds” on the field as teams use different “systems of play” to stage their strikers, mid-fielders and backs.  Whereas one team may use a 1-3-5-2 set-up, with 1 keeper, 3 defenders, 5 mid-fielders and 2 strikers; another may use a 1-3-4-3 with the keeper again assisted by 3 defenders, but now with 4 mid-fielders and 3 strikers.  Her advice, “A coach has to adjust as appropriate.  If the other team has additional strikers, maybe that means you match their system of play or, depending on your team’s skillset, maybe you stick with a set game plan.”  Advice that applies equally well in the workplace!

    Although soccer is a 90-minute game, the referees hold more power than the time clock.  While the game clock counts up to 90 minutes, the referees can add “stoppage time” based on time when play was halted on the field.  While typically no longer than 5 minutes, she reminded us that, “Five minutes may not sound like a long time, but stoppage time can be very meaningful” as evidenced by Portugal’s game-tying goal against the U.S. men's team during this summer’s FIFA match.

    As to the physical demands of the game, Felicity pointed out that in a professional game, the players can run as much as 7 miles.  It may be tempting to give players a rest, but coaches must consider substitutions carefully as there are only 3 allowed per game and once a player is taken out, that player cannot return to the field.  This led to a discussion of yellow and red card penalties.  Whereas the former is typically only a warning, the latter is a serious offense and the player must not only leave the game, but also the field altogether.  Important too, a player removed by a red card may not be substituted. Thus the team as a whole is at a serious disadvantage with only 10 players remaining.

    What if the game ends in a tie?  There will be two 15-minute overtimes as needed.  Overtime play is not sudden death, but rather continues the full 15 minutes.  And if after the overtime play the game is still tied?  Then the coach chooses 5 players to participate in a shootout.  Talk about pressure - one player at a time, alternating teams, trying to score a goal.

    Felicity imparted some great leadership lessons as well.  “Own your place on the field,” she said.  “If you’re on the field, whether you think you’re as good as the other players or not, you’re there for a reason.”

    With women’s FIFA world cup play scheduled for this summer, there is no better time to support the game of soccer and use these lessons learned both on and off the field.


    Felicity Day played soccer in college and professionally in England, before earning one of the highest coaching licenses, the National Soccer Coaches of America (NSCAA) Premier Diploma ‘with distinction’.   Following which she was recruited to be on the Academy staff of the NSCAA. In her role as Director of Coaching of a local club, John Smith Soccer Academy, she is one of a handful of women to hold that title in the state.  Felicity was inducted into the University of Mary Washington's Sports Hall of Fame in October 2009. Additional information on John Smith Soccer Academy is available here.


  • 18 Nov 2014 11:08 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We often think of leadership as truly tested during times of crises. However the art of leadership is developed through ongoing accountability and responsibility.  In October, Boston Women in Finance hosted “The Art of Leadership,” where our panel of speakers discussed whether leadership is a natural skill or learned, why it’s ok to fail, professional presence and the importance of taking responsibility for your career. Our speakers included:


    We learned:

    • Trust Your Gut: If something doesn’t seem right, say something.
    • Invest in Yourself: Working with executive coaches and leadership development programs can help build your confidence.
    • Get Comfortable Making Mistakes: Leadership is about taking risks, and with risks come the potential to make a mistake.
    • Exude Confidence: The majority of the people we speak to don’t remember what we said, but how we said it.
    • Everything is a Choice: Work where you are celebrated, not tolerated. Own your career.

     For more information about this program or more, contact us today. 


  • 11 Nov 2014 9:20 PM | Deleted user
    Boston Women in Finance presented “Working with Boards: Who, When and How to Serve” as our  November program.  Led by moderator Kathleen Burke, Vice President, General Counsel and Assistant Secretary, MKS Instruments, Inc., the panel covered all aspects of board service – from first appointment to responsibilities to rewards.

    “I joined my first board because I was in transition and wanted to fill my time,” explained panelist Sue Gorman, President, New England School of Acupuncture.  This first board position led to a second board aligned with her skills as a financial practitioner, the Boston Chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI).  Stephanie Sonnabend, Co-founder and Chair, 2020 Women on Boards, joined her first public company board, Century Bank, while president of Sonesta Hotels.  Century got a “two-fer” with Stephanie, a board member with expertise in the hospitality industry, an important segment for the bank, and also a director who added diversity.  Emily Walt, Director of Investor Relations, Carbonite, Inc. let her passion for networking guide her first board position.  She said, “I joined Ellevate because I wanted to help women succeed in business; it’s very important to me.”

    In terms of responsibilities, the panelists explained that not only is each board  structured differently, but also there are different roles within a board.  For example, Emily also serves on the board of her professional organization, the National Investor Relations Institute (NIRI) where roles include Treasurer, Programming, Membership, Communications and Sponsorship.  As chair of the Sponsorship Committee, Emily’s responsibility covers “the care and feeding of our sponsors.”  Stephanie, as chair of Century Bank’s audit committee,  helps ensure financial integrity within the highly regulated banking industry.  In her role as president of FEI, Sue explained she makes sure her all-volunteer board knows how much their work is appreciated.  “I spend a lot of time sending out ‘atta boys’.”  

    Just as roles vary widely, so too does the time commitment.   Sue estimates she sometimes spends 10 hours a week overseeing FEI activities given the size of the board, the number of members and the full event calendar.  Stephanie can spend 2 or 3 days at a time preparing and attending quarterly board meetings with additional time spent on monthly calls.   Emily advised board candidates to understand the commitment prior to joining a board.  She said, “Make sure you know in advance what is expected so that neither party is disappointed. And if you’re recruiting for a board, it’s important to provide a realistic overview to the candidate.”

    One aspect the panelists were in agreement on was the benefit of board service.  Each said that board service had helped not only with time management and operational discipline, but also in working with a broad range of people.  In addition, the panelists noted that board service can be a great balance to the demands of day-to-day work.  “There were days when I was feeling pretty beat up at the office,” Stephanie commented, “and then I would attend the board meeting and my equilibrium would be restored because once again my input was appreciated.”  “I agree,” said Sue, “Board service is a great affirmation of confidence and competence. “ 

    Interested in learning more about board service?  Here are resources recommended by the speakers:

    The Boston Club Women executives and leaders in the Northeast; a resource for board recruiters

    Idealist Find volunteer and non-profit opportunities

    BoardProspects  The online boardroom recruitment destination

  • 25 Sep 2014 2:31 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Food is big business. Whether it's homestyle or healthful,  classic comfort or fine dining, food is a commercial enterprise.   The business of food includes filling seats, moving product, managing people and making sound financial decisions.

    Our September kick-off event, graciously hosted by Brown Rudnick, featured a panel of foodie all-stars including:  Alexis Gelburd-Kimler, Owner, West Bridge Restaurant;  Shirley Leung, Columnist, The Boston Globe; and Aimee Morgida, Director of Operations, Roche Bros. Supermarkets.

     Our Speakers:
     
    Alexis Gelburd-Kimler,
    Co-Owner, West Bridge
    Restaurant
     
     Shirley Leung, Columnist, The Boston Globe
     
     Aimee Morgida, Director of Operations, Roche Bros. Supermarkets
    1st Course - Trying Something New

    Alexis had been on the management side of the restaurant business for years when she teamed up with a partner to start a restaurant of her own.   Shirley had been a reporter for the Baltimore Sun, The Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal when she decided to come back to the Globe to try a management role.   Aimee started her career at Whole Foods, took time off for her family, and was recruited by Roche Bros, a smaller family-owned business.

    2nd Course – Location, Location, Location

    Aimee used her Whole Foods real estate siting experience to help Roche Bros determine a second location for their newest venture, Bros Marketplace.  Using analytics to support her thesis that “mermaids don’t shop,” Aimee guided away from oceanfront locations.   After 24 months of site visits and data analysis, the former Filene’s store in Downtown Crossing was chosen as the best spot to open the next location of Roche Bros.

    Alexis was guided by another philosophy as she figured out the best location for her restaurant. “Sit on a lot of park benches,” she was told.   She did, all over the city. She knew she had to be passionate about the location and find a spot that would add to the heart of the restaurant. Kendall Square had transformed over the years into a vibrant neighborhood with a diverse mix of people. Now her restaurant draws all different types of guests who add to its unique personality.

    3rd Course - Driving traffic

    All the marketing in the world will not counteract a low quality product. When you provide an exceptional customer experience, be it holding the door open for a guest or accommodating a special request, the stories customers tell are worth more than a marketing campaign. Creating the right culture –- or Kool-Aid – will build strong relationships with your employees. They will buy into the story behind your business and empower them to take care of your customers so they keep coming back.

    4th Course – Trends: Leading or Listening?

    Food is a dynamic business. Not only have food preferences changed, but the way we buy food is different as well.  Shirley has young children and loves to cook. Her dilemma: she hates grocery shopping, but wants to feed her family a proper meal. And she’s not alone. This has led to the growing trend towards supermarkets offering prepared or ready to cook food.

    Aimee believes trends are based on where her customers are in their lives. A family of four typically only makes one shopping trip per week for ready to cook or prepared foods that can accommodate everyone’s food preferences and schedules. Empty nesters or singles shop every few days for fresh food.

    Alexis listens to trends. Palettes have become more sophisticated and customers crave exciting food. West Bridge is now famous for the Egg in the Jar appetizer. Although the menu changes every 2-3 months, this is a staple. Alexis also creates trends. If she plans to remove a very popular dish, she’ll use social media to announce the change and entice customers to the restaurant to savor the dish for one last time.

    Dessert – Fun-size servings of advice

    At the end of the meal, um, event, we asked each panelist for some parting words of advice.

    Aimee told us to remember who your real friends and family are. Know whom you can trust and who will be there for you in the long run. She also told us to be fearless and to be true to yourself.

    Shirley wants us to have “our Dick Cheney moment” and raise your hand for a big job. She shared a story of how her boss was looking for a new columnist and asked her to lead the search. He didn’t consider her for the role and neither did anyone else. However, she raised her hand, asked for the job, and got it.

    Alexis offered this advice: repeat every name back to you, every face you see, every hand you shake is important. It was through meeting as many people as she could that led her to the success of her restaurant.

    At our next program, on October 28th, we’ll talk about The Art of Leadership.

    Editor’s note:  Special thank-you to Wendy Berk for writing this summary.


  • 06 Aug 2014 9:36 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It may be the dogs days of summer, but we’re putting the leash on the upcoming Programming Year. The BWF Planning Session was held recently, including current board members and new volunteers Kerri Casarano, Mary Conway and Liz Sadwick.

    Here are a few of the topics we covered:

    • 2014 – 15 Programming: Our draft calendar contains a mix of events, day and evening, with topics to include The Business of Food; The Art of Leadership; Start Over or Stay Put; Undercover COO; and Malfunction or Malfeasance: Identifying Fraud.
    • Macken Toussaint, Secretary, filled us in on the work she’s been doing to ensure records are in order and documents are on file.

    • Donna Walsh, Treasurer, reported on our finances – all’s well and the books are in balance.

    • Becky Blackler, Communications, provided an update on the myriad of ways we are reaching out to our member and friends, including our new blog, LinkedIn and Twitter.

    Overall, our planning session was excellent, and we're very excited to share our new programs and events with all of you! In fact, be sure to save the date for our next program, The Business of Food, on Friday, September 19, 2014, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. ET. Graciously hosted by Brown Rudnick, LLP, this program will feature local foodie all-stars who will share their recipes for business success!

    Finally, we’re still looking for members who want to lean in, give back and help out!  Contact info@bostonwomeninfinance.org to connect.

  • 21 Jul 2014 4:49 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our speakers included (left to right): Brittany Leaning,
    Content Strategist, HubSpot; Karyn Martin, EVP, 
    Public Relations, 451 Marketing; and
    Becky Blackler, Executive Director,
    The CFO RoundTable 

    On Tuesday, July 15, Boston Women in Finance gathered three Twitter leaders to demonstrate how to get the most out of your Twitter account including establishing an on-line voice, finding lasting connections and ensuring best practices for business communications.

    They shared the following five tips for Twitter success:

    #1 You Are What You Tweet

    Twitter provides an excellent opportunity to present your brand and style to a global audience. Make sure to optimize your profile (including your bio) with keywords that will help interested parties easily find you among the millions of Twitter users.

    Secondly, tweet relevant content that speaks to the type of issues that matter to you (You can use resources such as Mashable or Feedly to help find articles and ideas). Also, break up a long line of text tweets with pictures and video to drive interest and engagement with the people who follow you.

     

    #2 Pick Your Friends Wisely

     

    Becky Blackler shares tips on the basics of working with Twitter

    Our speakers agreed that one of the biggest initial roadblocks is finding the right people to follow. After all, there are millions of users  – how do you sort the people to follow that are right for you? 

    To get started, our speakers recommended searching Twitter for users based on keywords. For example, if you are looking to connect with users who talk about women in leadership, search for ‘women in leadership,’ and find the users and organizations who discuss that issue frequently.

    Over time, your interests may change, or you may find that the people you initially followed no longer speak to the topic you’re interested in.  Therefore  clean up your follow list every 3-6 months to ensure your Twitter feed remains relevant and right for you.

     

    #3 Organize Your Conversations Through Lists

    If you follow a large number of people, your newsfeed is probably a mess. Using the list function is an excellent way to organize the conversations shared on Twitter. You can curate your own list of people to follow, subscribe to other users’ lists, and even enact privacy settings to ensure your lists are yours alone. For more information on how to create and use lists, check out this article from Twitter.

     

    #4 Trends, Hashtags and Retweets, Oh My

    According to Moz, the lifespan of a tweet is about 18 minutes (and most likely shrinking by the day). To extend the life of your tweet, and to expose your tweets to a larger audience, our speakers advised that you enlist the help of some friendly Twitter users to retweet, share and favorite your tweets, which could potentially connect you with new followers, connections and opportunities. (For a  great example of this, check out 451 Marketing’s recap of our Twitter fest here.)

    If you’re looking to engage in a larger conversation on Twitter, our speakers recommended leveraging hashtags and trends. However, do a little due diligence first to ensure that you’re referencing hashtags and trends appropriately. (Check out this article for some infamous examples of hashtags gone wrong.)

     

    #5 Don’t Forget Your Common Sense

     

    Finally, all of our speakers cautioned that a good dose of common sense can go a long way in establishing a great rapport on Twitter. Always ask yourself ‘So What?’ when posting a tweet to ensure your content is relevant and interesting. Secondly, never assume that anything is entirely private. While you can delete public messages and privately message fellow users, never assume that anything is ever entirely deleted or private.

     

    More Resources

    If you’re considering a move to Twitter, or brushing up on some of your techniques, the following are a few great resources to get yourself started:

    Finally, a huge thanks to Paul Toomey and our friends at Wells Fargo for graciously hosting our group!

    If you have comments, or would like to share your thoughts on our Tweet-Up, please share them in the comments below!

  • 19 May 2014 9:31 PM | Deleted user

    Networking isn't just about collecting business cards or adding LinkedIn contacts. Rather, successful networking means establishing meaningful, mutually beneficial relationships.  These relationships can then help you find a new role, fill a position and/or tackle a business challenge.  So said our panel of business leaders at the May program of Boston Women in Finance, led by moderator Donna Walsh, Financial Advisor, AXA Advisors.

    Start Making Connections Now   Joyce Bell, CFO, Nexage, explained that early in her career she did not take the time to have a cup of coffee or meet with someone interested in an informational interview.  Rather, “I was heads down, focused on deliverables.” Following the sale of her employer, however, she found herself without the necessary relationships to help jumpstart her job search. This convinced her of the importance of cultivating a network regardless of any immediate needs.


    Think of Networking as Connecting to What’s Possible  “ You should not dread  networking as something to be done with a specific goal and on a pre-determined timetable,” said Victoria Nessen Kohlasch, Founder and President, NK&J.  She advised the audience to consider networking as an opportunity to be curious – to broaden your understanding of people and industry. 

    Use Social Media to Maintain Relationships  LinkedIn, Newsle and other services allow you to keep an eye on what your connections are doing.   Send a congratulatory note when someone has a job anniversary, or pass along a news article that would be of interest. These small, ongoing outreaches can strengthen your connections.

    Use Your Contacts’ Time Wisely    Roberta Zysman, CEO, Dedham Medical Associates, reminded attendees to be considerate of their contact’s time.  “We are always happy to help you make decisions about your next move,” she counseled, “But we need you to help us with some basic research on areas that you think might be of interest.” 

    Make Sure you Follow Up  All three panelists agreed that follow-up is critical.  If you say you are going to send something or contact someone, make sure you do it.  Joyce recounted a story of a candidate who she referred to someone else, but that candidate did not reach out in a timely manner.  By the time the outreach was made, the introduction had gone cold.


    Follow-up Also Means Closing the Loop 
    “Let us know how the story ends,” said Victoria, echoing the request by the other panelists.  "We are always happy to help," said Roberta, "In return, let us know how things worked out."  So make sure you connect back with your network when you land the new job, fill the position or succeed with the new assignment.
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