2020 Conference Playlist

Need a boost? Tune in to the sounds of the 2020 Virtual Pennsylvania Conference for Women!

An Executive Coach Shares Her Hard-Won Insights into Finding Your Voice, and Strength, in 2020

Charmaine McClarie

One truth about tumultuous times like these is that it can be difficult to get a sense of perspective—the kind that allows you to take a bigger view than the day’s headlines and begin to find your voice, your strength, and your role in a changing world.

That’s why, this month, we are happy to share insights from an intimate conversation with Chamaine McClarie, an executive coach and communications expert who has helped many women and people of color find their voice, their strength, and their way to the C-suite.

McClarie shares her reflections on what we might learn from Covid, the awakening to racial injustice, and political turmoil. She also shares thoughts about what she calls our basic need—to be seen and heard—and why there may be a greater opportunity for that now than ever.

Excerpts from McClarie’s conversation with the Conferences for Women, which took place before Election Day, follow. They have been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.

On Learning from Covid

  • “One of the things I said when we went on lockdown was that my meditation and prayer is that the world would get quiet enough to hear whatever the lesson is in all of this.”
  • Part of what has been revealed to me is that, as I always say, the universe provides me with ample opportunity to practice what I say I believe. So, if I say I believe in humanity, this time gives me ample opportunity to put that into practice.”
  • “Two things come from this: One is I try to be grateful in every moment, even though that is really hard now. And two, I ask myself: How do I heighten my humanity in the midst of this? My work, helping people be seen and heard, has been a driving force, and I see the need for that now more than ever.”

On the Awakening to Racial Injustice

  • “The American public, particularly white Americans, think there is this profile of the kind of black people who are stopped by the police: that they look or sound a certain way, or drive a certain kind of car.”
  • “But I have been stopped by the police going down a highway and had to lie on the ground for 45 minutes with my arms behind my back, in a suit and silk blouse, while they searched the car and could find nothing.”
  • “Another time I was coming home from dinner with my husband who was asleep with his seat pushed back. I was making a turn off the freeway, and the police stopped me. My window was jammed and they were yelling and shouting at me. I kept my hands on the dashboard. I know the drill. Then my husband woke up and pushed the button so his seat came forward. The cop saw him and said, ‘Oh, I am so sorry, sir.’ My husband is white.”
  • “I have a client who is a white CEO. She asks me what can I do? I said: “Who are you going to put on your board? If everybody looks like you, there is a problem.”
  • “Sometimes I hear people say this [confronting racial injustice] will help black people. No, this will help all of us.”

On Learning about Others in Divisive Times

  • “We all have to check ourselves every day. I have to check myself every day. Where is my ism? How do I relate to otherness? Where am I projecting that?”
  • “Life is uncomfortable and awkward. It also provides an opportunity to create connection and a sense of community. To me, power is grace—opening up to bring people in. This is the way to create community.”
  • “Curiosity is at the core of this. You are going to keep somebody as ‘other’ if you are not curious about them.”

On the Need to Be Seen and Heard

  • “The whole premise of my work has been to help people find their voice—because there is power in our voice and our story. When you know who you are, you can stand in a place of strength and you can do what is necessary to be heard. It is our most basic need.”
  • My thing is: What is the narrative that I am perpetuating, that I am holding onto because it makes me feel good and doesn’t rock my world? Where is it that I am so fragile that I have to hold onto a story? That’s the place where you really need to work and explore.”
  • “I believe particularly for women and people of color now, there is a window of opportunity. In the virtual world, it is easier than ever to fall through the cracks. But also, if you learn the skills, you can push the doors wide open.”

Charmaine McClarie, a speaker at the 2020 Pennsylvania Conference for Women, is founder of the McClarie Group and creator of the Executive Success Principles®.


More from the November 2020 Newsletter

Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Embrace the Unknown, Career Choices, Communication Skills, Transitions, Life Balance, Goals & Priorities, Success & Leadership Tagged , |

Suze Orman Has Some Advice for You: About Money, the Future of Work, and More

business woman reviewing income and expense report on computer while crunching numbers on a calculator

In a recent exclusive interview with the Conferences for Women, Suze Orman—America’s best-known financial advisor to women—was characteristically outspoken money, the future of work, and more.

Orman, the author of 10 consecutive New York Times bestsellers and winner of two Emmy Awards, recently came out of a short-lived retirement to again advise women about a changing world.

“We are entering a new phase of how one works within this world that has absolutely transformed itself over the past year. It is very important that we have learned some vital lessons, as we are hopefully putting 2020 behind us,” Orman said. She predicts that financial markets will begin to stabilize in February or March of 2021 but emphasizes: “We are not out of this by any means yet. You better pay attention. This is time for you to really take heed.”

Here are highlights from the conversation, lightly edited for brevity and clarity:

Lessons from “the financial pandemic” of 2020

  • “The first thing we’ve learned is that it’s not how much money you make; it’s what have you done with money you’ve made?” Orman said. “An eight-month to one-year emergency fund should be your #1 priority. If you haven’t already started to do that, you haven’t learned anything from what we went through.”
  • “The next priority is to get out of any credit card debt. But do not close down your credit card accounts. Because of emergencies like this, you want to know you can put things on credit; but you can only do that if you have credit.”
  • Third, you have to plan escape routes from a financial hurricane—where can you access money if you’ve used up your emergency funds and credit lines. In this case, if you own a home, Orman says, your next step should be to take out a home equity line of credit but don’t use it unless you need it.

The future of work

“You have to face reality and think about the chances that your job is going to be replaced. Don’t be so naïve to think that you’re not irreplaceable—because if you think corporations have not learned how much money they can save from not having individuals come in, I have a bridge to sell you. A lot of companies realize they can do just as well with fewer people and are cutting across the board.”

“That means you have to make the most intelligent financial decisions you have ever made.” Some questions to ask yourself:

  • Are you fully funding your retirement?
  • If you own a home, do you have a 15-year mortgage instead of a 30-year one?
  • Are you taking advantage of refinancing at lower interest rates?
  • Are you downsizing?
  • Are you making every sensible move can make? Are you positive?

Be smart about money and your relationship

“When I was on CNBC, we would get 10,000 emails a day and let me tell you: There are money fakers out there [who say one thing and do another.] If you put your future in their hands it’s the biggest mistake you can make.”

“Ladies if you are in a relationship—the other person’s sex does not matter—you better go over your finances together at least every month. Check your FICA [the money that is taken out of workers’ paychecks to pay older Social Security retirement and Medicare] twice a year. Look at your credit scores. Have any accounts been opened up that you didn’t know about?”

“And, you better know what to do if you get divorced. Know a credit card cannot be shut down if the balance is not paid in full. I’ve heard of men who say I will pay it off and three years later you get a knock on the door saying your ex-husband filed for bankruptcy and never paid off the money and now you owe it.

“The same is true if you own a home together and the loan is in both names. If he is keeping the home, he has to buy out.”

“All of you better understand money and every move that you make with it. And what’s the best way to do that?” Orman recommends subscribing to her podcast, Women & Money.

Conquer the 3 internal obstacles to wealth—through action

“Fear, shame, and anger are the three internal obstacles to wealth because when you come from a place of fear, you don’t check your statement. When you make a move in the stock market because you’re afraid, you sell at the wrong time and buy at the wrong time.”

“When you have those emotions running, you will always make mistakes. So, you may not like what I’m saying. But the only way to conquer your fear is through action. All those credit card statements you are afraid to open? Go open them and call the credit card company and tell them you can’t make the payment. Or, if you know you probably won’t be called back to your job but are just waiting to see: Take action right now.”

Finally, do not think of yourself as a victim

“Don’t tell me can’t do anything because you have too much on your plate. If you do, get a bigger plate. Do you want to think you are a victim of circumstances? Fine but not on my watch because you are just wrong. You are one of the most powerful forces God ever put on Earth. Stand in your power, stand in your truth. Face your obstacles and overcome them.”

Learn more about Suze Orman. Tune into her conversation on the latest episode of Women Amplified. And check out:


More from the October 2020 Newsletter

Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Embrace the Unknown, Career Choices, Financial Fitness, Transitions, Life Balance, Goals & Priorities Tagged , |

3 Ways Employers Can Support Women (and We Can Support Ourselves) Now

Tracy Dumas

It’s no secret that working women are facing unsustainable new challenges this year. Many working mothers have lost access to good childcare. Many working women without children are taking on new eldercare responsibilities. And even those without new caregiving demands are burdened by the fears and loneliness of these times.

“Everybody’s lives have been upended. And when your life is upended, it is going to affect your work,” work-life integration expert Tracy Dumas recently said.

Indeed, women with caretaking responsibilities have already begun to drop out of the workforce at alarming rates.

So, what can employers do to help retain quality talent in all the many fields in which women are contributing to the society and the economy—in some areas, at rates of 50 percent or more of the workforce? And what can we do to take better care of ourselves in these extraordinary times?

In an exclusive interview with the Conferences for Women, Dumas, an associate professor of management and human relations at Ohio State University, offered the following suggestions.


What employers can do:

  1. Figure out how you can help with childcare. “Organizations can help by either looking into establishing smaller facilities that employees could use for childcare or providing subsidies—some kind of financial assistance to help employees pay for childcare.”
  2. Focus on deliverables, not schedules. “Be attentive to the limitations employees have and give them a longer rope instead of enforcing a regular workday. Just pay attention to the deliverables and be flexible.”
  3. Think ahead to develop smarter policies and practices. When we are on the other side of this crisis, life will be different than it was before. So companies should start thinking now about what childcare, eldercare, and schooling might look like; how that will affect their employees; and how they can develop flexible, supportive policies and practices.

What you can do:

  1. Ask your company for childcare help. “If your organization hasn’t stepped up to provide child care but has shown a willingness to help, ask for smaller childcare facilities or subsidies.”
  2. Set some boundaries on work hours. “We switched into this new mode with no warning or preparation. And many of us haven’t been intentional about where and how to set boundaries about working at home.” Now, is the time to do that. Think about what you want your working hours to be – and when you can switch off and relax. “Research shows that having time to switch off allows you to come back to work more energized and better able to engage.”
  3. Be intentional about where in your house you work. “If you haven’t previously set aside a space for work at home, this may be a good time to do it. I just did this. Before I had no strategy. I was sitting on the couch for working and sitting on the couch for watching TV. Now, I’ve spruced up my home office a bit and, in general, created more of a boundary to feel more like I’m switching gears. I’m getting up and going to work now. And now I’m leaving my laptop in the office and going to watch TV. It may seem minor but feels different.”

“It is beneficial for anyone with any given task or responsibility to have the opportunity to unplug and recover. There is a whole body of research in organizational psychology on the benefits of recovery—of stepping away and unplugging and allowing yourself to be immersed in something totally different or just plain old rest.”

In other words, in a world in which so much is beyond our control, setting boundaries about when and where we work is something that is in our control that can help us keep our strength and resilience going through this marathon challenge.


IN OTHER NEWS

  • Want some timely virtual networking tips? Yai Vargas, founder of The Latinista, a national network of women and Latina professionals invested in professional development and career mobility, shares her thoughts on the latest episode of Women Amplified. Listen here.
  • Underserved young women are receiving financial and mentoring support this year as the first in their families to attend college—thanks to you and other members of the Conferences for Women community. Interested in helping? Learn more here.
  • Have you secured your ticket to the virtual 2020 Pennsylvania Conference for Women? If not, learn more here.
  • Don’t miss The Expert Q&A on Managing Change: A conversation with WSFS Senior Vice President Cindy Crompton Barone.

More from the September 2020 Newsletter

Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Embrace the Unknown, Career Choices, Transitions, Life Balance, Health & Wellness, Goals & Priorities, Success & Leadership, Job Advancement Tagged , |

The Expert Q&A: Managing Change
With WSFS’ SVP Cindy Crompton Barone

Cindy Crompton Barone

Q: The changes we have experienced this year have been so significant, it almost feels like change is managing us. And yet, that is not a helpful way to think about it, especially if you are in a position of leadership. How do you think about managing change during this time of great changes in society, the economy, and workplaces?

My role as a leader at WSFS focuses on the wellbeing of our Associates. I have strong relationships with our lines of business and understand our Associates, their experience working at WSFS, and their needs to maintain a good work-life balance. This past year, I’ve broadened my focus, proactively addressing the changing landscape and Associates’ needs as we all respond to events such as the pandemic. A great company like WSFS is nimble and accepting of different strategies to provide flexible work arrangements, supplemental paid leave benefits and special incentive pay as opportunities to support our Associates through these changing times.

Q: Many people believe that remote work will continue to be a big part of our lives, even after Covid-19 is brought under control. Is that good news for professional women, or are there downsides we should think about now?

My vision is businesses will forever need to consider work-from-home as well as flexible work schedules for every Associate. Although women predominately may be the primary caregiver, I have responded to men, as well as women, who identify themselves as needing to provide childcare and learning assistance now that schools are utilizing virtual learning. I’ve researched and learned that children up to 6th grade need three hours a day of a parent’s time to assist them with their education. We are addressing flexible work schedules to provide time during the day that parents will need to provide this attention to their children. Our children are our future and we will provide the opportunities to retain our talent, which includes women who may consider leaving the workforce to care for their families.

Q: What are the most important tips you can share with people who may have lost their jobs and need to think about making an unplanned career transition?

Those in transition should complete a personal inventory of their talents. Job seekers tend to look for the same position they held previously or for many years. If they completed a self-assessment of their experience, they would realize they have knowledge, skills, and experiences meeting the requirements for other positions in different industries that are hiring. In addition to job search sites such as CareerBuilder and LinkedIn, networking with colleagues, community organizations, family and friends should be in their toolbox of sources when managing their job search. When in transition, be open to learning new skills as well as considering a position that may not be the exact level you held if that position is with a good company that can provide a sustained future to continue their career.

Q: What is one idea you have heard that has helped you personally adapt to change during this time—or one thing you have learned about change that might continue to help you in the future?

Working with our Associates, I’ve learned they all react to dramatic change differently and we need to be attentive to their emotional wellbeing. As an example, everyone adjusted differently to working from home and having limited accessibility to physically spend time with family and friends, and time outside their homes. We need to learn how change impacts someone and provide support if they are having trouble adapting. When working remotely and communicating through video conferencing, we need to be conscious of behaviors that are signals that tell us someone needs help. Out of care for one another, we need to develop our ability to ask those difficult questions to address others’ needs, should they be reluctant to ask for help themselves.


Cindy Crompton Barone, SHRM-CP, is SVP, Human Capital Management at WSFS Bank, where she has spent 16 years caring for the Bank’s Associates.


SPONSORED BY

WSFS Bank logo
WSFS Financial Corporation is a multi-billion-dollar financial services company. Its primary subsidiary, WSFS Bank, is the oldest and largest locally managed bank and trust company headquartered in Delaware and the Greater Philadelphia region. As of June 30, 2020, WSFS Financial Corporation had $13.6 billion in assets on its balance sheet and $20.8 billion in assets under management and administration. WSFS operates from 115 offices, 90 of which are banking offices, located in Pennsylvania (54), Delaware (43), New Jersey (16), Virginia (1) and Nevada (1) and provides comprehensive financial services including commercial banking, retail banking, cash management and trust and wealth management. Other subsidiaries or divisions include Arrow Land Transfer, Cash Connect®, Cypress Capital Management, LLC, Christiana Trust of Delaware, NewLane Finance, Powdermill Financial Solutions, West Capital Management, WSFS Institutional Services, WSFS Mortgage, and WSFS Wealth Investments. Serving the greater Delaware Valley since 1832, WSFS Bank is one of the ten oldest banks in the United States continuously operating under the same name. For more information, please visit www.wsfsbank.com.

Serving our communities since 1832, WSFS Bank is one of the ten oldest banks in the United States continuously operating under the same name. Other subsidiaries or divisions of WSFS Financial Corporation are listed below.

Posted in Speaker Articles, Financial Fitness Tagged , |

Staying Calm In A Crisis: Tips From The Woman Who Faced Down Somali Pirates

Michelle J. Howard

When Admiral Michelle J. Howard was 12, she saw a show about people who attended U.S. military academies and realized that was what she wanted to do.

“You can’t,” her older brother said. “It’s closed to women.”She thought he was messing with her and went to her mother.

“He’s right,” her mom said. “But you’re only 12. You might change your mind. And, if you don’t and want to apply, you should apply. If you don’t get in, we’ll sue the government and take it to the Supreme Court.” Even if it is too late for you to attend, she added, it wouldn’t be for other women.

It proved a powerful lesson for the woman who went on to become the:

  • The highest-ranking woman in U.S. Arms Forces history,
  • Highest ranking African-American and woman in Navy history,
  • First woman to become a 4-star Admiral, and
  • Person in charge when the Navy faced down Somali pirates to rescue Captain Phillips (of Tom Hanks fame.)

We recently caught up with Admiral Howard to ask her advice about how to stay calm in a crisis and lead in these times of great uncertainty. Here are some highlights:

On keeping calm under stress

“My mother and father raised us to take a deep breath. Sometimes, you have to react in seconds—but honestly, not usually unless you’re in combat. I think most people do not give themselves time to breathe. I know it’s not easy but you’ve got to distance yourself from the information you’re receiving. It’s just information. It’s not going to kill you.”

On dealing with the unknown

“I would try to take time, and get my teams to take time, to think about what potential crises could be and then walk our way through how we would respond. If you are surprised by events, give yourself more time for your imagination to work. It’s the art of the long view: identify the worst, best, and middle case scenario. You will go down one of those three avenues or something in between.”

On the commitment to lead

“The most fundamental thing about leadership is you have to choose. You have to decide for yourself whether or not you want to be a leader. It’s not something you are just going to fall into. It has to be something that drives your passion—knowing: I am the right person to get this in a better place. I am the person to make this better.”

On stamina

“I read about women pioneers in the Navy and the 1800s and science; andI and tried to sort through the common characteristics of those who were successful in nontraditional roles. The stamina piece is pretty key: being not necessarily the strongest in the room but as fit as you can be because you need stamina for the journey.”

On traveling light

“A lot of trailblazing women had a wonderful sense of humor. If you can’t see the humor in your unique situation, you add more to your mental burdens. I talk about it as ‘traveling light.’ You could go another way and think: ‘Oh my gosh, I have all these burdens, I just can’t do it.’ You could spend a lifetime focused on all that pain and anguish. And, I suppose you could have a life of satisfaction that way. But you would be missing out on a life of satisfaction tied to success.”

On being yourself

“I have been asked to talk about leadership and women as leaders since I was a mid-grade officer. A lot of times people say talk about yourself. I say talking about myself may not help you. You be the best you. You’re not going to be able to do me right.”

On connecting with other women

“Women pioneers had quilting bees. It was not about the quilt. It was about hooking up with other women. The Massachusetts Conference for Women is the biggest quilting bee!”

LEARN MORE! Admiral Michelle J. Howard will speak at the 2020 virtual Massachusetts Conference for Women. The 2020 virtual Pennsylvania Conference for Women will feature Viola Davis, Tara Westover, and more.

REGISTER NOW

IN OTHER NEWS

  • Anti-Racism: Skills for the Workplace Now. “Anti-racism is a lifestyle that we’re constantly committing to. You have to be anti-racist in the workplace and in your personal life, too…it’s an active belief system in all parts of our lives,” Britt Hawthorne said in a conversation presented by The Massachusetts Conference for Women, The Boston Globe, and State Street. Watch it here.
  • Best of the Archives: Check out the newly released sessions on Best Breakouts, an audio series featuring timeless insights from our archives. Listen here.
  • Highlighting a friend: The Harvard Business Review‘s podcast Women at Work is a trove of information and support for moving your career forward. Catch up on five seasons of conversations on HBR.org or wherever you listen to podcasts, and the team will be back this fall with more stories, interviews, and advice.

More from the August 2020 Newsletter

Posted in Speaker Articles, Life on Your Terms, Embrace the Unknown, Career Choices, Networking, Life Balance, Goals & Priorities, Success & Leadership, Job Advancement Tagged , |

Subscribe to e-News