2018 was another memorable year for 100WF Cayman. Two years on from the body rebranding, its membership continues to grow steadily, and it has reached new highs in terms of its charity fundraising. Cayman Funds caught up with some of the committee members of 100WF Cayman.
It has been another busy 12 months, notable for a number of further achievements for 100WF Cayman, the global network of professionals in the finance and alternative investment industries working to empower women at every stage of their careers.
It held many successful events, raising thousands for charities in the process, and launched several new initiatives.
The Cayman location of 100WF was launched in 2012 with over 200 members. Now with more than 800 members, it is one of the fastest-growing locations globally.
Originally branded 100 Women in Hedge Funds, the organisation formally changed its name to 100 Women in Finance (100WF) in 2016. 100WF has also grown organically globally from a single New York City location to 23 locations spanning four continents.
Through peer engagement, philanthropic, and educational initiatives, it has more than 15,000 global members who are making connections and creating opportunities that help to advance careers and strengthen their field.
100WF is a resource for its members: it supports women to advance their careers through education, giving back through philanthropy, and leveraging relationships through peer engagement.
A global reach
The global organisation has an Advisory Council, which works to enhance global opportunities for its operating committees, share best practices and access to speakers, and create a forum for global conversation around industry topics.
Representation from the Cayman Islands on the Advisory Council includes Christina Bodden, a partner in the investment funds group, Maples and Calder, who chairs the council; Angie Baraud, CEO of Baraud International; and Odette Samson, partner at Deloitte & Touche.
Bodden is one of the founding members of the Cayman Islands location of 100WF, a member of 100WF Global Association Board and chair of the 100WF Global Advisory Council which was expanded in January 2019 to better reflect 100WF’s membership in North America, the Caribbean, Australia/Asia and EMEA.
“The 2019 mandate of the Advisory Council has broadened, and now aims to enhance connectivity and communications within 100WF’s growing global membership,” Bodden says. “We will do this through a strategic plan of engagement, expansion and diversity which incorporates all 24 of our global locations.
“100WF is represented by professional women across the globe. It is important that the work of the Global Advisory Council, its service to 100WF’s CEO and 100WF members, are reflective of the views and experiences of all the professional women who adhere to the values of the organisation.”
As part of this role, Bodden is involved in some of the international events run by 100WF. In February 2019, along with Betty Baraud MBE, a ‘Global Angel’ with 100WF, she attended the 100WF London Gala held at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Members of the finance industry and wider community attended, including delegates from BlackRock, Allianz Global Investors, CIBC, Citibank and UBS. Some £500,000 was raised in support of The Royal Foundation’s Mental Health Initiatives for Children and Young People. Baraud also attended a private reception with the Duchess of Cambridge in support of such fundraising initiatives.
Global Angels of 100WF Cayman are members who play a vital role in helping to fund ongoing operating expenses and to ensure that the body’s educational programmes continue to be free for members. Baraud represents the Cayman Islands as a Global Angel member of 100WF.
This branch of 100WF also holds events. The Global Angels Supper Club launched in the Cayman Islands at the start of 2019. The first event was held at the private residence of Global Angel Baraud and hosted the organisation’s Global Angels as well as special invited guests such as representatives from the Alternative Investment Management Association, Cayman Finance and the Ministry of Financial Services.
The Global Angels Supper Club concept will take place twice per year at hosted venues in the Cayman Islands. This event is one of many new event concepts which will be rolled out as part of a wider Global Angels programme. At each designed event, Angels will have an opportunity to network, be presented with curated educational content and be offered the opportunity to support and raise awareness for GirlForce 100, the organisation’s mentoring programme which supports young women in the public high schools of the Cayman Islands looking to develop careers in finance.
“This inaugural event established the Cayman Supper Club series and is meant to provide regular fellowship at bespoke and unique events for our most senior members and special invited guests,” Baraud says.
On the Cayman Islands, 100WF has a main committee and three sub-committees covering the three pillars of its ethos: philanthropy, education and peer engagement.
Its main committee is co-chaired by Tammy Jennissen of MaplesFS, and Monette Windsor of MUFG Alternative Fund Services. Also represented on this main committee are representatives from: DMS Offshore; Butterfield; Intertrust; Northview Services; PwC; Harbour; Mourant Ozannes; Deloitte; and Maples and Calder.
Three pillars: philanthropy
The Philanthropy Committee is co-chaired by Anne-Marie Leadbetter, from Harbour, and Laurie Mernett from Deloitte.
The organisation’s global philanthropy theme for 2019 was unveiled in March and is “Investing in the Next Generation”. The global body said at the time that this was chosen in direct response to a persistent challenge.
It noted that the alternative investment industry is known to be one of the most dynamic, intellectual and rewarding fields for bright young minds to apply their skills. Globally, however, fewer than 19 percent of employees in the industry are women. In investment roles, fewer than 15 percent of employees are women, and among hedge funds, fewer than one in 10 portfolio managers are women, according to Prequin (data from 2017).
It said that this should be seen as “industry underperformance”. There is no simple, quick fix: the factors that contribute to gender imbalances are multifactorial and require a constellation of initiatives to improve women’s representation.
100WF stressed that an important part of the solution is to make the industry more visible and appealing to a diverse group of pre-career young women, and to support them in the early-stages of their careers. 100WF plays a critical, industry-supporting role in this way. It runs successful programmes to establish a larger presence of women in the industry, in investment roles, and onwards toward executive leadership, it noted at the time.
Some of the work being done by the philanthropy pillar includes: NextGen groups, 100WF’s global network for early-career women offered in nine locations; professional development programming, including scholarships offers for career advancement in investment roles; mentoring programmes in which female students are paired with 100WF mentors; encounter opportunities for teens that enable career inspiration from female industry role models, and opportunities for NextGen members to be industry ambassadors; and Fund Women: 100WF’s umbrella campaign to influence young women’s aspirations by changing the default public perception of what an investment professional looks like, and to enable greater capital allocation to female-managed funds via 100WF’s investor conferences.
“We are pleased to announce that GirlForce 100 has been selected as the Cayman Islands beneficiary supporting 100WF’s global philanthropic theme, ‘Investing in the Next Generation’,” Philanthropy co-chair Mernett says.
“GirlForce 100 is 100WF Cayman’s flagship mentoring programme that pairs 100WF members with female Caymanian public high school students with ambitions towards careers in finance, but lacking in resources and support to achieve their full potential.
“GirlForce 100 will also provide a needs-based, local scholarship for one GirlForce 100 student to pursue a course of study at one of the local colleges.
“A number of events are organised by the philanthropy committee during the year, of which our two flagship events are the gala, which took place on March 23, 2019, and the corporate Mixology event, which is typically scheduled in September.
“Both events are a great way to meet up with friends, network and support our beneficiary.”
One of the highlight events for this strand of the body was “A Pep Talk with Salt-N-Pepa”, in which Angie Baraud, CEO of Baraud International, talked to Cheryl James and Sandra Denton, as they reflected on their experiences as women in the rap music industry.
Baraud says: “100WF members enjoyed the chat with Salt-N-Pepa, the Grammy Award-winning female hiphop artists, while raising funds for 100WF’s Investing in the Next Generation initiative. ‘Salt’ James and ‘Pepa’ Denton shared a resonating message on the power of women advocating for each other across all industries and provided some insight on their personal and creative evolution as music legends over the last 32 years.
“This was definitely an out-of-the-box event for the organisation as a whole. We were able to shine a light on the message of female empowerment for all women and how finance crosses and supports many industries—including the business of hiphop, which is no exception.”
Three pillars: education
The Education Committee is co-chaired by Monique Frederick, Butterfield Bank (Cayman) and Christie Walton, Maples Group. The Education Committee plans events with high-profile speakers on industry-specific topics. Education sessions are open to 100WF members globally.
This segment of 100WF successfully put on a number of keynote events in 2018 including an event titled “New Era: Funds and Managers of the Future” in which speakers including Claire Griffin, KPMG; Christina Kopec, Goldman Sachs; Alexandra Krystal, CIBC; Kathleen Olin, Indus Capital Partners; and Jo Huckle, Ogier, discussed some of the big topics facing the industry.
They were asked to discuss the fact that the alternative investment industry is on the verge of radical change and debate what the industry will look like in 10 years’ time. What will differentiate the winners from the losers in the race for survival, for growth and for better returns?
“The insights given by the panellists from a variety of different perspectives was extremely beneficial to attendees,” said Walton.
At another event, “Career Advice I Wish I’d had at 25, and Advice I’d Give My Future Self”, speakers including Jackie Doak, Dart Real Estate; Rebecca Palmer, KPMG; Shari Seymour, Maples & Calder; Heather Smith, Cayman Islands Monetary Authority; and Lesley Connolly, Intertrust Cayman; discussed the fact that, although women represent 50 percent of middle management, not even a third of that number are in top executive management roles, and even fewer in the C-suite.
They were asked to discuss their experiences advancing into leadership roles and what advice they would give their younger selves with the benefit of hindsight.
“It was a fantastic event showcasing how many of our amazing professional women have progressed in their careers, dealt with different challenges and seized opportunities offered to them.
“All the panellists are great role models for the next generation in Cayman,” Education Committee co-chairs Walton and Frederick remarked.
Another event, “Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Business and Tax Considerations”, examined the latest market developments and how they transform conducting business. The speakers included Rob Massey, Deloitte San Francisco; and Alexandra Simonova, Deloitte.
Frederick said she was very pleased with the feedback from attendees as the speaker successfully explained the accounting and tax considerations related to cryptocurrencies.
Three pillars: peer engagement
The Peer Engagement Committee is co-chaired by Carolyn du Toit, PwC, and Catherine Pham, Mourant Ozannes.
The co-chairs said: “The committee continues to push the agenda of creating an effective platform that leverages the skills, knowledge and experiences of its members. 100WF’s rebranding provided an opportunity for the Peer Engagement Committee to extend its reach into the broader Cayman financial services sector, strengthening its local market network and facilitating strong cross-leverage opportunities between various sub-sectors.
“Having already established peer advisory groups (PAGs) for audit, fiduciary and legal, we recently launched an insurance PAG and are excited to launch PAGs for administration and CFOs in the coming year.
“In addition to the broadening of the PAG offerings, the Peer Engagement Committee held a number of successful events in 2018, including networking events and the ever popular (and oversubscribed) golf lessons—”swing into action”—for which we will aim to run more sessions in the coming year.
“We also held some business coaching-based seminars, including an inspirational speech on rising to the top by being good for business and an engaging session on social styles and tips for effective networking.”
Under the remit of the peer engagement pillar comes 100WF NextGen Groups, a peer network initiative for 100WF members who have less than 10 years of industry experience.
100WF NextGen Groups provide a platform for early-career professional women to access education, networking opportunities and mentoring. 100WF NextGen Groups aim to provide an educational and social forum through which young women can build lasting, synergistic relationships through an open dialogue about the current interests and challenges of working women.
The co-chairs of this are Renee Caudeiron, Campbells; Brittany Fox, Harmonic Fund Services; and Jessica Everard, MUFG.
In addition to 100WF’s NextGen Group, 100WF’s Investing in the Next Generation Initiative in Cayman focuses on young pre-professional women in the Cayman Islands and ensuring that they are afforded the requisite training, guidance and access to the finance industry as a career option. It also exposes pre- and early-career young women to the resources of 100WF’s partner organisations (such as Forte Foundation, Girls Who Invest, Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst and Smart Woman Securities) which offer training, internships and scholarship opportunities to all candidates across the world.
100WF’s NextGen Group in Cayman hosts educational speaker events and more intimate gatherings to develop a community of strong, young women who will ultimately guide each other through the progression of their careers.
This strand of 100WF has some exciting events coming up for 2019 including a three-part investing series, a joint conversation with NextGen and senior practitioners on key issues for women at every stage of their careers, continuing a HotTopics series, and hosting its fourth annual Inspire half-day career conference in October.
100WF also partnered with the Cayman Islands Ministry of Education to launch GirlForce 100. This mentoring programme operates within John Gray High School and Clifton Hunter High School and pairs professional women from within the 100WF membership base with young women in a mentor/mentee relationship.
GirlForce 100 is supported by committee of 18 members, which include senior women professionals in finance, philanthropy, the Ministry of Education and the Red Cross.
The programme provides key guidance and support in main areas: mentoring, goal-setting, and life planning. In 2018, 100WF produced its first impact study on the programme to serve as a benchmark for the effect which such mentoring is having on its mentees in terms of their academic performance and general wellbeing.
GirlForce 100 holds a series of bi-monthly group events and one-on-one mentoring sessions to guide the young mentees to realise their full personal and career potential. Mentees and mentors are paired at the beginning of the school year, and meet for two hours on a biweekly basis—with conversation centred on a curriculum that is developed by the committee and high school educators. This year, the focus is on healthy relationships, career and self-care.
Councillor Barbara Conolly, Department of Education, Youth, Sports, Agriculture and Lands, said: “For the young women, GirlForce 100 is a unique opportunity to discover new skills, solidify future goals and get on track to exciting and rewarding careers. In addition, many of them form positive relationships with industry professionals who can provide important references for obtaining scholarships, internships and full-time employment.”
One of the recent highlights of this programme was an event in February at which Hollywood actor Natalie Portman addressed the students about her personal career path, and encouraged each one of them to dig deep to harness the personal strengths and community they have around them, to reach success. The event left the girls feeling inspired about what their future in Cayman can hold and what it can look like.
The programme currently serves 59 local high school students, paired with the same number of mentors.
With the theme of this year’s 100WF philanthropic initiative being Investing in the Next Generation, GirlForce 100 has been named as the 2019 beneficiary. It plans to use the funds to appoint a part-time administrator of the GirlForce 100 programme, in order that it can continue to grow the programme year on year. It will also be awarding a scholarship to one of the GirlForce mentees to cover all the tuition fees for an Associate’s degree at ICCI or UCCI.