The Subject was Women and Money, which Quickly Came Down to the Sense of Self
By Karen F. Buchsbaum
The more things change, the more they stay the same. That old catchphrase came to mind during a recent luncheon, part of the Women & Wealth Seminar Series sponsored by the Coral Gables Trust Company at their Coral Gables headquarters.
The programming was developed to empower women, providing expert guest speakers on a variety of financial topics and wealth management. Businesswomen Deborah Davidson is jointly leading the initiative along with Christine Galliano on behalf of Coral Gables Trust. “Despite the unique challenges many women face, we have never been in a better position to achieve financial security for ourselves and our families,” explained Davidson.
At the quarterly invitation-only program, guest speaker Symeria T. Hudson, MBA, President and CEO of the Chapman Partnership, delivered a poignant program tailored for women about “How Self-Worth Can Impact Net Worth.”
Research by Coral Gables Trust shows that, despite the growing economic power and influence of women, they continue to be poorly served by the financial industry. Amidst sobering facts about women’s current status in the financial world, Hudson served up specific tips and approaches for changing the pattern. She talked about how much money women leave on the table because they don’t negotiate salaries as high as their male counterparts, and that poverty levels and student loan debt are both higher for women than men.
Men, for example, are four times as likely to ask for a raise. And when they do ask, women request 30 percent less than their male counterparts, resulting in earning only 82 cents for every dollar a man earns for the same job. In fact, 68 percent of women would rather discuss death than money.
During the presentation, the group of 20 women put down their silverware and became completely silent while watching a brief video about perceptions of self-image. Among the physicians, lawyers, accountants, and executives in the room, every woman could relate to the notion that as women, we are our harshest critics and usually don’t see ourselves as favorably as others do.
Hudson urged the group to write down their dreams, make a plan, and verbalize their goals. “If you don’t believe you can get it done, you won’t,” she explained. Keeping life in balance is also important to building wealth, she said. Take breaks to recharge and find ways to continually “nourish your mind” and to focus on “clear intentions of what you want and why.” A lively discussion followed, with shared personal experiences and a lot of nodding heads and whispered affirmations. Hudson provided examples from her personal story; working her way from a poor, rural, southern background to a Harvard MBA, she set the stage and made the audience comfortable in relating their own experiences.
There were stories about not feeling totally qualified, adequate, or deserving of a particular task or job, feelings rarely exhibited by men in the workplace. Hudson explained that as women, we can control our destiny and build self esteem, ultimately improving our financial future. Women, she pointed out, are the members of society who do the most for others. So, the “more we help ourselves, the more we can help others.”
“As women, we should’ve been born with capes, we are so amazing,” said Hudson. It’s a message every woman should hear.
Symeria Hudson Offers These Seven Tips to Increase Your Value:
1. Practice positive self esteem
2. Recognize the difference that you make (and quantify it) 3. See yourself on par with peers, worthy to be there
4. Don’t undercharge for services
5. Be clear about your values
6. Believe you are good enough
7. Engage in work that is exciting and fulfilling
Future programs in the works at Coral Gables Trust Company include estate and retirement planning, taxation, elder care, educating children about financial matters, philanthropy, and investment strategies. For more information about the Women & Wealth Seminar Series contact Christine Galliano at Coral Gables Trust Company, 786.497.1212 ext. 131