Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Jamie Sears, Head of Community Affairs and Corporate Responsibility for the Americas with the global financial firm UBS, who also leads the UBS Foundation USA.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
Get practice using your voice, and don’t be afraid to use it. That was important when I started out and is still important now. I grew up as an adopted Asian American in a small town that was predominantly white and, from my earliest days, I did not feel comfortable speaking up. Even as I moved through life and a career at some incredible organizations, I largely put my head down, did the work and thought it would speak for me. That is not how the world works if you want to have a big impact. I wish I had known the power of believing that my voice was worth something, and that the most powerful thing I could do is use it to advocate for myself and for others. Ultimately, it’s about having the confidence to know that you are contributing to the world.
The Texas Women’s Foundation (TWF) held its Leadership Forum and Awards Celebration on April 29th, honoring the trailblazing women making a difference for both Texas and the world. From 10 AM to 12 PM, thousands joined in on the virtual celebration, discussions, and moments of gratitude. The event served to highlight how, particularly since COVID, women’s leadership offers particular value and potential.
The celebration honored five Maura Women Helping Women Award recipients and two Young Leader Award recipients. The Maura award enters its 42nd year with over 200 past honorees who have and are implementing drastic advancement opportunities for women and girls. The Young Leader Award highlights women leaders under 40 who, through their own accomplishments, are shaping the roads of progress for women everywhere.
Women’s History Month was definitely one for the books, especially with Jack Dorsey’s #StartSmall initiative dispersing $3 million in grants at the end of the month. This newest funding was allocated to four grassroots organizations focused on breaking down educational barriers for women in sub-Saharan Africa.
Fiona McKay’s website asks a simple but striking question: What would the world look like if more women controlled the money? It’s a question I often find myself pondering, too, as a social worker, a small businesswoman, a parent, and a gender equality activist.
McKay isn’t just pondering this profound question, though. She’s actively doing research on the way that gender norms shape our experiences, particularly in the financial sector. She is the author of Trailblazing Women in Investment, a new report that discusses gender lens investing and the barriers that women still face with controlling the money in finance.
A report from Julie Gordon from Reutersdiscusses how the Canadian government is planning to fund a “feminist agenda” that includes $100 Billion (C) for childcareandother resources to support women and families.
Canada on March 8th, 2021 unveiled an all-woman task force to ensure that its upcoming budget, set to include billions in post-pandemic stimulus spending, includes measures to get women working and address gender inequality.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s first budget will not come this month, but later “this spring”, her spokeswoman said Monday. It will be the first full budget since before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
The Texas Women’s Foundation’s long-held tradition of honoring leaders in women’s philanthropy continues. Their virtual Leadership Forum and Awards Celebration will be held on April 29th. Amongst the recognitions, the Maura Women Helping Women Award and the Young Leader Award are highlighted.
As the Maura Award enters its 42nd year, the five recipients are those who have adapted their own leadership roles to further the progression of women and girls in various innovative ways. With over 200 past Maura Award recipients, these women are now part of a bold and fearless group who have taken it upon themselves to make life better for women and girls in Texas, and around the world. The Young Leader Award spotlights two women who have broken glass ceilings in their own fields and industries, demonstrating the way forward towards a more gender-balanced society.
On Thursday, March 19th, team members from Empatthy and a robust panel of speakers gathered online to celebrate the growing women’s giving circle movement in Latin America. Featuring Jeannie Sager (Women’s Philanthropy Institute), Carmen Stevens and Sondra Shaw-Hardy (Women’s Giving Circles International), Sara Lomelin (Philanthropy Together), and Rosa Madera (Fundadora Empatthy), the event was half celebration, half lively discussion of the future of collaborative giving in the Latin American region.
Juan Carlos Diaz Bilbao (BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network), the day’s moderator, introduced the event with thanks to the attendees, participants, and sponsors making the event possible.
On St. Patrick’s Day, Women Moving Millions led a lively discussion as part of its 2021 #GenerationEquality Series. Entitled “Building a Blueprint for a Gender Equal World,” the virtual event featured Latanya Mapp Frett (Global Fund for Women), Michelle Milford Morse (UN Foundation), and Kavita Ramdas (Open Society Foundations).
Executive Director Sarah Haacke Byrd began the day’s event with a moment of silence for the Asian-American community in Atlanta, where violent attacks in local spas have recently taken place. She also shared context for the day’s conversation, following the 25th anniversary of the Beijing agreement for gender equality. New legislation is due to be created and ratified within the United Nations, all designed to gather the world’s powers to advance gender equality.
Editor’s Note: The following announcement was made on March 6 by the leadership of Dining for Women.
Together Women Rise is about women and allies coming together all over the world, from all backgrounds and communities, to achieve global gender equality.
Our new name, logo, and tagline are aligned to create a fresh, modern look for our organization — one that is inviting and inclusive to all and tells the world exactly why we exist and what we aim to accomplish.
Together is front and center because our community is strong: gathering together in our chapters and working together with you, our grantees, lies at the root of our impact. Women, because global gender equality is our guiding star; Rise, because we envision a world where all women and girls around the world can reach their full potential and become powerful agents of change to build a stronger, more sustainable, and peaceful world.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Elena Marszalek, Managing Director of Del Mar Global Trust, a private foundation dedicated to the environment.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I started my career in philanthropy as the only employee of Del Mar Global Trust, a newly established family foundation focused on the natural environment. Although I had previous experience working in climate change, I had little experience in philanthropy. I felt both hopeful and overwhelmed.
Joining Rachel’s Network, a community of women environmental philanthropists, broadened my knowledge of complex environmental issues, and significantly improved my ability to select and monitor grant recipients. Networking with other women with similar goals and interests helped my career in numerous other ways, for example sharing information about projects that as individuals we would not be aware of. Perhaps most importantly, I have access to other members with many years of experience who offer advice and mentorship. As in all professions, you learn through experience.