Shira Ruderman: Show With Actions, Not Just Words

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Shira Ruderman, Executive Director of the Ruderman Family Foundation, a private family foundation that invests in three primary areas of focus: advocating for and advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities throughout our society, strengthening the relationship between Israel and the American Jewish community, and modeling the practice of strategic philanthropy worldwide.

Shira Ruderman is the Executive Director of the Ruderman Family Foundation. (Image Credit: Ruderman Family Foundation)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I knew philanthropy is a life journey that you cannot get separated from. I view it like parenthood, you learn as you go. Philanthropy makes you recognize your passions, skills, views on life.

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Research Alert: Why Women in Biz Are Using Fake Male Assistants

A recently revealed trend of female entrepreneurs using fake male assistants demonstrates how gender norms play out in business communication.

Kelly Doody of Social School. (Image Credit: Club Innovation Conference)

It is no surprise that women in business, especially those who are themselves entrepreneurs, face unique difficulties. A number of women have spoken out about this. A few women have even come out to reveal how they navigate these issues. 

One way they have found helps their work is by having a fake male assistant who handles certain tasks. 

Kelly Doody and Jandra Sutton are two such entrepreneurs who utilize this tactic. Doody is the CEO of Social School, and Sutton is a podcaster. Sutton revealed her use of a fake male assistant in a tiktok that went viral, seen here

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Educating a New Tech Generation in Cambodia with Sisters of Code

Sisters of Code is the first female coding club in Cambodia, where the field of technology is heavily male-dominated. The program was established in 2019 to empower female students and support them through education so that they can reach their full potential and grow a new generation of digital creators. 

sisters of code
Sisters of Code is bringing coding skills to young women in Cambodia. (Image Credit: Sisters of Code)

“Girls can often hear that technology is not a career path for a lady,” said Mrs. Natalja Rodinova, Sisters of Code founder. “But why would we exclude 50% of the population not even giving a chance? That is what Sisters of Code wants to challenge.”

Women often feel unwelcome in the tech industry. They get negative comments about their skills, they don’t have enough role models, and they don’t get enough support. Sisters of Code helps girls grow confidence and challenges long-held gender stereotypes by providing an environment where young women can learn directly from other female instructors, encourage each other, and share in their accomplishments.

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Shayna Hetzel’s Vision for Gender Equality: An Open Sky as the Norm

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Shayna Hetzel, Community and Social Impact Investment Director at the American Family Insurance Institute for Corporate and Social Impact. 

shayna hetzel
Shayna Hetzel, courtesy of Shayna Hetzel

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

 My greatest professional challenges, opportunities and successes have been rooted in unapologetic aspirations, insightful mentors and the brilliance of a team. I wish I had known early on how to set better boundaries and ask for help more often, because I have found that boundaries and help are leverage points for productivity, engagement and inclusion. And, fundamentally, community-based, purpose-driven work only gets stronger and bolder with focused, diverse and inclusive contributions. Asking for help not only builds in resilience and wellness for the individual. It also increases team capacity, levels up organizational competencies, and builds a more diverse and inclusive point of view.

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My Voice. My Story. Keynote Speakers Announced for TXWF Luncheon

The Texas Women’s Foundation (TXWF) announced the women leaders who will grace the stage at their 36th Annual Luncheon being held on September 30. Angie Thomas and Cleo Wade, best-selling authors, will discuss the overarching message of, “My Voice. My Story. Every Woman’s Power to Build Compassion and Community.”

The Texas Women’s Foundation’s 36th Annual luncheon will feature guest speakers Angie Thomas and Theo Wade. (Image credit: TXWF)

The speakers are sponsored by Target and the Suzanne Ahn, M.D. Speaker Endowment Fund at the TXWF. Co-chairs Lindsay Billingsley and Debra Hunter Johnson, both of whom are philanthropists and women leaders in both their personal and professional lives, are hosting this renowned TXWF fundraiser.

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Women in Focus: HEX Features Female Photographers in New Series

In an ongoing series, the fashion brand HEX aims to highlight the work of female photographers. 

HEX
Women in Focus (Image Credit: HEX)

The video series, entitled Women in Focus, tells the stories of five female photographers at different stages in their careers. The content spotlights their individual stories, challenges, workplace practices, and advice that they offer about their experiences as women in a predominantly male field. 

HEX themselves are responsible for producing various photography bags that feature innovative technologies, antimicrobial fabrics and patented designs ideal for the photographer at work. They wish to support creators in the field through this series by connecting women creatives through hearing each other’s stories. 

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Chera Reid: “My Being and Doing are One and the Same”

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Chera Reid, Co-Executive Director, Center for Evaluation Innovation.

chera reid
Chera Reid, Co-Executive Director of Evaluation Roundtable at the Center for Evaluation Innovation, shares her insights on how we can become a more diverse community. (Image credit: Chera Reid)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I had known that it was me, in my whole human self, that was what every organization needed from me. It was and is me that organizations are asking for. When I was starting out professionally, I was ready with my resume and eager to please. I worked hard to do more of what I believed senior leaders wanted me to do, and I kept parts of who I am to myself. Showing up wholly—head, heart, and hands—is what social change leadership requires. Today my being and doing are one and the same.

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Grameen America to Loan $1.3 Billion with New Initiative for Black Women

Grameen America, a non-profit organization providing microloans and financial opportunities to low-income women entrepreneurs, recently announced its new Elevating Black Women Entrepreneurs initiative. By 2030, Grameen America plans to lend $1.3 billion to 80,000 Black women entrepreneurs with this new initiative.

Image credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com

Based on their track record of over $1.9 billion provided to over 136,000 low-income women already, they’ll reach this new goal and continue leading the way in shifting the racially charged financial situation in the US today. Basically, Grameen America’s Elevating Black Women Entrepreneurs initiative saw the estimated 1.4 million Black women entrepreneurs experiencing “systemic lack of access to affordable credit and capital” and are doing something about it.

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Due Diligence and Risk-Taking in Gender Lens Investing (Liveblog)

On Thursday, May 20th, the Philanthropy Women staff teamed up with Roslyn Dawson Thompson and Rehana Nathoo to discuss the importance of gender lens investing: what it is, how it works, and why we should focus our efforts on it.

gender lens investing

Guests Rehana Nathoo, Founder and CEO of Spectrum Impact, and Roslyn Dawson Thompson, President and CEO of Texas Women’s Foundation, discussed gender-lens investing with Philanthropy Women’s Editor-in-Chief, Kiersten Marek.

The conversation opened with a welcome to the day’s speakers and attendees, as well as a general thanks to Invest for Better for facilitating our conversation with Rehana and Roslyn. Citing the male-dominated nature of finance and corporate life, Kiersten shared her experiences in investing in a gender lens Exchange Traded Fund (EFT) called SHE.

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Sharon Shapiro on Growing New Dimensions with Your Giving Quest

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Sharon Shapiro, Trustee and Community Liaison at the Ruderman Family Foundation.

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I had known that philanthropy is a process and that there’s a strategy to giving. Growing up in a family that was highly philanthropic, we really didn’t talk about my parents’ giving and what it meant to them. We saw examples, but it wasn’t really spoken about in the house. Today, I try to teach my kids about philanthropy in a strategic way.

sharon shapiro
Sharon Shapiro is the Trustee and Community Liaison at the Ruderman Family Foundation. (Image Credit: Ruderman Family Foundation)

2. What is your current greatest professional challenge?

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