2019 was another memorable year for 100 Women in Finance Cayman and the members are looking forward to another busy year of fundraising and education initiatives. Cayman Funds caught up with some of the committee members.
100 Women in Finance is a global network of professionals in the finance and alternative investment industries working together to empower women at every stage of their careers. 100WF’s more than 15,000 members inspire, equip and advocate for the next generation of industry leadership, in which women and men serve as investment professionals and executives, equal in achievement and impact.
In 2020 the Global Association Board adopted a 30 x 40 Vision—a guiding statement of purpose for 100WF’s next two decades—in which women will occupy 30 percent of the investment team and executive leadership roles by 2040.
Through Education, Peer Engagement and Impact, the organisation furthers the progress of women who have chosen finance as a career and establishes purposeful pathways into the finance industry for young pre-career women of all backgrounds.
Since 2013, 100WF Cayman’s 1,050+ members have been making connections and creating opportunities that encourage female students to look favourably at careers in finance, creating educational opportunities and access points to join the industry, and presenting greater visibility of female role models.
“To support the global 30 x 40 Vision, all of the local chapter’s fundraising efforts go towards our Investing in the Next Generation initiatives,” say 100WF Cayman co-chairs Tammy Jennissen and Odette Samson.
“Last year, we raised more than US$84,000 and were able to fund our flagship mentoring programme, GirlForce100, with US$61,500 to grow, expand and enhance local programming, as well as allocate US$22,500 to establish an endowment for our first scholarship programme to help fund further education for young Caymanian women pursuing careers in finance.”
Following the re-endowing success of 100WF NextGen Cayman, a tight-knit group of professional women with less than 10 years’ experience, the organisation is excited to launch its MidCareer Bridge in 2020. This new network will focus on mid-career women with between 10 and 18 years’ experience to help bridge the gap between junior and senior professionals, providing stronger sightlines and more expansive professional opportunities for the next wave of female leaders and C-level executives.
Formerly known as Philanthropy, this pillar works to squarely address 30 x 40 Vision opportunities and includes an annual gala and two additional fundraising events: Corporate Mixology and Bubbles & Bling, which are always sell-out events.
The sixth annual Barefoot Beach Gala held on March 6, 2020 at the Royal Palms Beach Club was attended by 250+ members of the financial community and raised US$35,000 for Investing in the Next Generational initiatives and local programme partners.
This year’s Miami Beach-inspired event featured a ‘Boardroom to Beach’ runway show headlined by celebrity designer Alex Snyder from the hit US TV show, Project Runway, along with Cayman’s own Isy B. and the latest collections from luxury swimwear boutique, Sand Angels.
“Through the success of this popular annual fundraising event, 100WF in the Cayman Islands is pleased to support our organisation’s Investing in the Next Generation initiatives, which establish purposeful pathways into the finance industry for young women, and supports them in the early years of their careers,” said Laurie Mernett and Anne-Marie Leadbetter, co-chairs of 100WF Cayman’s Impact Committee.
Since its launch in 2013, 100WF Cayman has raised almost US$410,000 for local charities, including the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre, Literacy Is For Everyone, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Breast Cancer Foundation, and the Special Needs Foundation Cayman.
The organisation is currently in talks with the Cayman Island’s Red Cross and the University College of the Cayman Islands as this year’s Community Programme Partners.
Led by industry icons and experts, 100WF Cayman educational events go deep into topics related to the finance and alternative industries, macro trends, and leadership and professional development.
2019 was a busy year for the Education Committee with five panels and presentations held on a range of topics starting with a 2019 market outlook for the private equity funds industry. Two events were held delving into the world of artificial intelligence, blockchain and associated cryptocurrencies, as well as the tax considerations for blockchain and cryptocurrency businesses, where panellists debated the evolving relationship between investors and managers and its impact on the structuring of investments.
The year’s events concluded with helpful tips for fund directors and service providers to limit claims by investors and counterparties.
“Last year, we provided more than 15 industry education sessions and 2020 is off to a fantastic start with the first educational event having tackled gender parity in the financial services industry. The Committee has a number of a great events in the works for the remainder of 2020,” commented Christie Walton, co-chair of the 100WF Education Committee.
100WF believes that achieving gender parity in senior leadership and investment roles will strengthen the industry and the broader global economy. As such 100WF Cayman’s targeted initiatives and professional development and networking opportunities help position Cayman-based female professionals for success at every stage of their careers.
The Peer Engagement Committee continues to focus on hosting targeted professional development and networking events and nurturing our Peer Advisory Groups. These Peer Advisory Groups are aimed at providing an opportunity for intimate circles of senior practitioners (with greater than 10 years of experience) working in the same specialised areas to engage with one another.
Additionally, a Social Styles event, an interactive session exploring communications strategies in a business development setting based on respective social styles, was oversubscribed and very well received, and set the tone for networking at subsequent member events.
“In addition to holding our recurring Peer Advisory Group meetings, we held a number of successful cross-Peer Advisory Group meetings. This was seen as particularly beneficial in a year of significant legislative change in Cayman as it provided an opportunity to leverage the wisdom, skills and experience, and understand the perspective, of Peer Advisory Group members across impacted practice areas,” said co-committee chair Beth Florek.
Also in 2019 the Operations Peer Advisory Group was launched, which held a number of meetings including one at which representatives of the Cayman Islands government’s Economics and Statistics Office spoke. In 2020, the group is looking forward to refreshing its Administration and Insurance Peer Advisory Groups and is excited about the opportunity to deepen its bench of enthusiastic and talented members with which to share ideas and resources.
The middle stage of a career offers an abundance of opportunities to develop in the finance industry, from junior to increasingly senior positions. Such opportunities present challenges and a balancing act in managing diverse priorities as professionals continue to grow in their careers.
For example, in the professional arena the focus may be on career development, managerial skills and mentorship relationships. On the personal front, professionals may be drawing on flexibility and resources to manage commitments for family and diverse interests.
This year 100WF Cayman is excited to launch MidCareer Bridge, following a successful pilot programme in London last year. This new group will focus on 100WF members with 10 to 18 years of experience, and will bridge the gap between NextGen and the more seasoned practitioners within 100WF.
It is intended that MidCareer Bridge events will cater to the needs and interests of mid-career women, who are usually in a time of great change in their careers and personal lives, but they will be open to all 100WF members.
NextGen Groups are a peer network of 100WF members in the first decade of their finance careers. Led by NextGen committee members, the groups host industry education, professional development, and networking events to develop a strong community of early-career women and a talent pipeline for the finance industry.
Membership growth last year rose 12 percent with membership now at 350+, thanks to the group’s annual Inspire conference which reached its highest attendance yet at more than 187 delegates.
Following the success of this much-anticipated half-day summit, the chapter has decided to develop a Global Inspire Conference for 2021 (100WF’s 20th anniversary) that will be open to all 100WF membership levels, including those registered in other jurisdictions.
“Our 2020 initiatives will focus on raising our profile in the community, recruiting new NextGen members and continuing to provide an educational and social forum for young women entering the finance industry,” said committee co-chair, Brittany Fox.
GirlForce100 is the organisation’s flagship mentoring programme which pairs professional women from within the 100WF membership with female Caymanian public high school students who have been selected by educators as having potential for successful careers in the finance industry, but lack the resources and support to achieve their full potential.
Now in its fourth successful year of operations, the plan is to expand GirlForce100 to allow more young women to be able to join the programme, implement mentor training, and develop mentee programming—all with the ultimate goal of preparing the GirlForce100 mentees for tertiary education, and ultimately, for careers in finance.
The 2019–2020 programme launched with an introductory session with Caymanian international supermodel, Selita Ebanks, who talked about her road to success in the fashion and modelling world. An essay-writing competition was also held last summer where two GirlForce100 members were awarded a trip to London to celebrate the 100WF’s Investing in the Next Generation Initiatives held at Buckingham Palace in February 2020.
Thanks to the additional philanthropic support this year, 100WF was also able to set up its first scholarship programme to provide GirlForce100 members funding for an approved course of study at a local college.
Cayman Islands-based 100WF Global Association Board member Christina Bodden remarked: “For the past four years, we’ve delivered pre-career programming and mentorship to diverse, high potential Caymanian high school students.
“It’s gratifying to see that 100WF’s work—in the Cayman Islands and globally—makes such a difference in elevating young women’s professional ambitions and pointing them toward careers in the finance industry.”
100WF is a global network of over 15,000 professionals across 24 official locations. It offers valuable, long-lasting peer-to-peer relationships via direct global connectivity and seamless communication pathways to the key financial jurisdictions around the world. If you are interested in becoming a member or sponsoring the Cayman Islands chapter, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Tammy Jennissen, Odette Samson, Christie Walton, Beth Florek, Brittany Fox, Christina Bodden