Go Girl!

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado facilitated a conversation last week around opportunities  for mentoring young women of our valley.    The gathering of community leaders, non-profit  organizations,   and valley volunteers had a rich discussion around the challenges  of; and prospects for walking alongside our female youth as they mature into productive, thriving citizens.   Following the panel discussion, a handful of local youth non-profits shared their missions and motives  as well as their need for community support.

The tidbits and takeaways I had from my view as a Financial Advisor encompassed two areas of opportunity.   First – How do we impart financial wisdom to young ladies in order to increase their  chances of living monetarily healthy lives?  Secondly, how can we as women create margin in our lives to better utilize our time, talents and treasures to mentor , serve and do what  makes our hearts sing?

Local  school superintendents , Dr. Sirko and Dr. Birdsey shared their family experiences of encouragement and support as they sought out their way in the world.  We know that speaking  affirmative words  and creating  healthy expectations provide fertile soil for our children to grow in.   What are our kids hearing about finances at home? Are they experiencing positive  conversations around how to earn, save, give, and spend?  Are we sharing our family of origin experiences  around money, whether good or bad, in ways that kids can learn and grow from?

Heather Hicks, Director of the Buddy program spoke to the empowerment opportunities found through participation in  the annual Lemonade Day.  Kirsten McDaniel, ED at Youth Entity shared how 5th and 8th graders are participating in the “I am Financial Knowledge” program .  These organizations are providing tools to learn healthy financial dynamics and increase  monetary acumen.   Kids are exposed to real life opportunities to earn money .  They learn to discern between needs and wants; the power of saving and the joy of giving.  They learn the tools that will help them build firm financial foundations.

Lori Mueller,  ED of Youth Zone shared the success of their Girl’s Circle Program – small gatherings of young adult females sharing life experiences to encourage empathy and bridge divides.   As I meet with groups of women to discuss the meaning of money in their lives,  I see the taboo topic of money being dispelled.  Women are finding their voices around money attitudes and habits.  What is working?  What is broken?  How can we support each other and grow?

Consider the findings of a 2012 study done by Women Doing Well.

  • Women control  51.3%, or 14 trillion in personal wealth , and that is expected to grow to 22 trillion in the next decade.
  • 95% of women will be their  families primary decision maker at some point  in their lives.
  • 60% of women work outside the home; representing 66 million women of which 74% work full time.
  • 13 million firms are led by women which combined generate about 2.6 trillion in revenue and employ 16 million people.

Given these statistics and others, I see a new world of relationship building  opportunities  for women.  One in which we reach out to each other, collaborating in a variety of philanthropic and volunteer endeavors.  We see giving circles – where women combine donations  and make collective decisions about causes to support.  There is a chapter of 100+ Women Who Care here in the valley.   We are blessed to have a community full of intelligent,  sophisticated,  hard working  women who can share their experiences .  As female baby boomers explore their passion and purpose and ignite the fire in their second half of life, they will create time for the causes close to their hearts and their pocket books will follow.   We can both build each other up and reach out to the next generation in a variety of ways to mentor, encourage and nurture their growth.  Thank you to WFCO and Valarie Borthwick for orchestrating this event.  Another opportunity is this week.  Join the Roaring Fork Regional Community Conversation on Wednesday, September 18th from 5:30 – 7:30 at the El Jebel Community Center.

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