Womens Forum, Gloria, BCRF, The Gentlemen’s Fund, and What if?

peter I’m back! After 10 days of travel in Europe and two days reconnecting with my family, the week started off with a bang! Although I promised not to continue to make this blog a report on the activities of Jacki Zehner, please allow me to comment on the important events of this week. First, on monday evening I celebrated 35 years of the existence of the New York Women’s Forum with a roomful of the most incredible women in the city ( and a few good men!). I am honored to a member of this diverse group of educators, non-profit leaders, writers, business women, donors and more. It was created to offer a space for women to gather, connect, share, and help one another achieve their life goals, and serve the community. Their education fund provides scholarship funds to women over the age of 35 achieve their academic goals. Truly an inspiring evening.

Last night I co-hosted a party for the Ms. Foundation in continued celebration of the 75th birthday of their founding member Gloria Steinem. What was so special about this gathering was that in the room was a an incredibly diverse group of people – from a 14 year old young man, to a 60 year old iconic hedge fund manager. Gloria shared stories from her life of activism and focussed on the effects of the ‘gendered’ world we live in. We all imagined living in a world where all people where not inhibited by expectations and limitations, but rather came to be their full selves…. A very special evening indeed.
I am now dashing to the Breast Cancer Research Luncheon and then to GQ magazine’s Gentlemen’s Ball – founded by our good friend Pete Hunsinger ( picgtured) , publisher of GQ. As I wrote last year Pete created this fund to raise awarenenss and funds for important causes, including the one mentioned below. I thank and honor all the amazing men in the world that are using their resources – their time, their treasure, their talent – to make a better world.
I would love to call your attention to an amazing organization and an amazing person that I have featured previously on this BLOG. Lamont Hiebert is an abolitionist, a singer/songwriter, and one incredible human being. “Love146 ( his non-profit) combats child sex slavery and exploitation with the unexpected, and restores survivors with excellence”. In a recent blog he calls us to imagine if it where white males being trafficked, instead of women and girls, would more be done? This is one of the most important issues of our world and we all need to think deeply about how we can be part of the solution. Thanks Lamont for all you do to make this world a more just place.

Deauville, Schloss Leopoldskron, Salzburg Global Seminar, Philanthropy for Global Impact

austria-150x150From France where I attended the Women’s Forum For the Economy and Society conference to now Salzburg where I am attending the “Smart Change” Investing in Women and Girls – Leveraging Philanthropy for Global Impact Seminar – what a week! Yes this is where I am staying (to the left) as it is the location of the Salzburg Global Seminar, a place where for 50 years people have gathered to think, share, organize, mobilize and more. For Sound of Music fans, it was filmed here! ( at least in part) Before you get too jealous know that we are working our bottoms off trying to advance the womens movement with little time to take in the views.

As someone said early on we are indeed trying to solve a “wicked problem.” Moving our world towards a place of greater equality and equity is complex indeed but there have been breakthroughs here, at least there have been for me. The Women’s Funding Network has provided us with a framework that I truly believe has handles for everyone to grab on to. ( more on that to come) You might ask who is present here for this conversation and it is very broad based – Executive Directors of non-profits, donor leaders, government NGO leaders, academics, philanthropy consultants and more. In terms of geographical representation we have women and men from all over the world including Nigeria, Jordan, The Netherlands, and more….

So I know I owe my readers much more content and less travel updates and I promise it will come. Having attended three global conferences in two weeks, the other being the World Business Forum, I have content, people, ideas, knowledge that could keep me writing for weeks to come.

Tidbits from Deauville………….

I had the opportunity to speak on a panel with Halla Tomasdottir of Audur Capital who is from Iceland and started an investment management firm based on feminine values that one the Cartier Award. She is a rock star and a new best friend!
watch her here

I did have the amazing opportunity to spend some time with Melanne Verveer, The US Ambassador For Global Women’s Issues. She is one incredible woman and I cannot tell you how encouraged I am to know she is in Washington representing all of us.

For the take on the conference from the New York Times click here and here. From the Guardian click here. For a special piece related to our release of the NCRW hedge fund report, click here.

The Womens Forum, Crititical Mass and Paris

It was a couple of amazing days in Deauville, France for the “Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society.” There was an aweseome line-up of speakers and attendees from around the world. I made many new friends including two inspiring women working in leadership development in Australia, and an absolute rock star from Iceland who who has created a new financial advisory firm. We launched the NCRW Women in Fund Management report to a roomful of people, and were interviewed by reporters from all over the world. In many of the sessions people asked the question if “Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Brothers and Sisters, would we be in the place we are today? ” and we were there with answers and opinions.

One idea that we had put forward in the paper definitely seemed at the center of focus for many, and that was the idea of an absolute need for a ‘critical mass’ of women in positions of power and leadership. The evidence is abundant that diversity leads to better decision making so the question was, why has that not happened? The reasons of course are listed in out report but one has to ask the question, “if not now, when?” I say now…..

Nina and I returned to Paris today and spent the day walking around this magical city. I am off to Salzburg tomorrow for a women’s donor gathering. More from Austria later in the week.