Women working together to help women, their community | PostIndependent.com

Women working together to help women, their community

Danielle Howard
Staff Photo |

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado facilitated a conversation last week around opportunities for mentoring young women of our valley. The gathering of community leaders, nonprofit organizations and valley volunteers had a rich discussion around the challenges of and prospects for walking alongside our female youth as they mature into productive, thriving citizens. Following the panel discussion, a handful of local youth nonprofits shared their missions and motives as well as their need for community support.

The tidbits and takeaways I had from my view as a financial advisor encompassed two areas of opportunity. First, how do we impart financial wisdom to young ladies in order to increase their chances of living monetarily healthy lives? Second, how can we as women create margin in our lives to better utilize our time, talents and treasures to mentor, serve and do what makes our hearts sing?

Local school superintendents Diana Sirko and Susan Birdsey shared their family experiences of encouragement and support as they sought out their way in the world. We know that speaking affirmative words and creating healthy expectations provide fertile soil for our children to grow in. What are our kids hearing about finances at home? Are they experiencing positive conversations around how to earn, save, give and spend? Are we sharing our family of origin experiences around money, whether good or bad, in ways that kids can learn and grow from?

Heather Hicks, director of the Buddy program, spoke to the empowerment opportunities found through participation in the annual Lemonade Day. Kirsten McDaniel, executive director of Youth Entity, shared how fifth- and eighth-graders are participating in the “I am Financial Knowledge” program. These organizations are providing tools to learn healthy financial dynamics and increase monetary acumen. Kids are exposed to real life opportunities to earn money. They learn to discern between needs and wants, the power of saving and the joy of giving. They learn the tools that will help them build firm financial foundations.

I see a new world of relationship-building opportunities for women. One in which we reach out to each other, collaborating in a variety of philanthropic and volunteer endeavors.

Lori Mueller, executive director of YouthZone, shared the success of their Girl’s Circle Program — small gatherings of young adult females sharing life experiences to encourage empathy and bridge divides. As I meet with groups of women to discuss the meaning of money in their lives, I see the taboo topic of money being dispelled. Women are finding their voices around money attitudes and habits. What is working? What is broken? How can we support each other and grow?

Consider the findings of a 2012 study done by Women Doing Well.

• Women control 51.3 percent, or $14 trillion in personal wealth, and that is expected to grow to $22 trillion in the next decade.

• 95 percent of women will be their family’s primary decision maker at some point in their lives.

• 60 percent of women work outside the home; representing 66 million women of which 74 percent work full time.

• 13 million firms are led by women, which combined generate about $2.6 trillion in revenue and employ 16 million people.

Given these statistics and others, I see a new world of relationship-building opportunities for women. One in which we reach out to each other, collaborating in a variety of philanthropic and volunteer endeavors. We see giving circles, where women combine donations and make collective decisions about causes to support. There is a chapter of 100+ Women Who Care here in the valley. We are blessed to have a community full of intelligent, sophisticated, hard-working women who can share their experiences. As female baby boomers explore their passion and purpose and ignite the fire in their second half of life, they will create time for the causes close to their hearts and their pocket books will follow. We can both build each other up and reach out to the next generation in a variety of ways to mentor, encourage and nurture their growth.

Thank you to WFCO and Valarie Borthwick for orchestrating this event. Another opportunity is this week. Join the Roaring Fork Regional Community Conversation from 5:30–7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, at the El Jebel Community Center.

Danielle Howard is a Certified Financial Planner practitioner. Wealth By Design, LLC, her financial life planning office is located at 23300 Two Rivers Road in Basalt. She helps clients build financial lives to facilitate their passions and purpose. Visit her at http://www.wealthbydesign4u.com or call 927-3909. Advisory Services offered through Lighthouse Financial, LLC., A Registered Investment Advisor. Securities offered through Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Cambridge and WBD are not affiliated.

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