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 for Powerful 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.”

texas women leaders
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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How The American Jobs Act Strengthens Women in Society

The Biden Harris Administration recently released a statement analyzing how the American Jobs Plan will positively impact women’s employment. 

President Biden and Vice President Harris (Image Credit: uisjournal.com)

Beginning with an acknowledgement of how the last year saw 3.7 million less women working, the Biden Harris administration recently released a statement discussing their efforts to fight against this trend. Since the onset of COVID, many women have taken on more difficult job conditions, while also being responsible for caregiving responsibilities. Discrimination and hardships plague women, especially women of color, as they try to participate in the workforce. Covid-19 has made this situation even worse, and solving this is key to economic recovery. 

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U.S. Bank Access Fund to Focus $25M on Women of Color in Business

The $25M U.S. Bank Access Fund will be deployed as long term investments to 3 partner organizations supporting women of color in business.

The U.S. Bank Access Fund will be solely focused on helping women of color in business. (Image credit: U.S. Bank)
The U.S. Bank Access Fund will be solely focused on helping women of color in business. (Image credit: U.S. Bank)

U.S. Bank introduced the details of the $25 million U.S. Bank Access Fund – a fund for women of color microbusiness owners, which was first announced in February. The fund, a collaboration between U.S. Bank Foundation and U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC), will include long-term investments of grants and capital funding to three partners: the African American Alliance of Black CDFI CEOs (the Alliance), Grameen America and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). The fund is part of U.S. Bank Access Commitment, the company’s long-term approach to help build wealth while redefining how the bank serves diverse communities and provides more opportunities for diverse employees.

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Jamie Sears of UBS: The Value of More Victories for Women in Biz

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.

jamie sears
Jamie Sears of UBS discusses ways we can do more to support women entrepreneurs. (image courtesy of Jamie Sears)

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. 

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