Sunday, February 28, 2010

Canada Wins Gold in Men's Hockey!

I had to capture this moment... my friend and fellow Canadian Mandy and I celebrate an amazing ending to the Olympic Games in Canada! It was so special to be able to go to my home province with my 9 year old daughter, catch a few events, and to be back home in CT to watch this final event. I spent the first 22 years of my life in BC, and 4 in the truly spectacular city of Vancouver. They did a great job hosting! I am left feeling so inspired and grateful. Hope you are too.....

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Ben Bernanke in Washington

I am in San Fran doing a funding raising training with the most amazing Tuti Scott of Imagine Philanthropy but I did catch a few minutes of the Bernanke testimony this morning. First observation, it is truly scary how little some of the committee members know about what the Fed does and the role of monetary policy. Scary. Some of the questions were just plain ridiculous. Second observation was this key comment when asked about interest rates - "We have made it clear that we will keep rates unusally low for an extended period of time." The markets liked that comment - see the story on yahoo.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Courtney Martin - The American Prospect - "Architecture's Diversity Problem"

Two blogs in one day! That is what a five hour plane ride will do! My brilliant writer friend Courtney Martin just sent me her latest article in the American Prospect. (click here )This is a must read! Courtney talks about some of the reasons for the lack of diversity in the field of architecture, and there are definite parallels to our findings in the financial arenas. She refers readers to this TOOLKIT for those striving for greater diversity and it is very good. (highlights below) Thanks Courtney for such a great piece.

What Can Small Firms Do? Here are some simple steps that small firms can take to become inclusive.
1. Look for a leadership champion. This should be a respected individual(s) at a senior level to champion diversity and inclusion.
2. Create a diversity statement and communicate the organizational views on diversity.
3. Communicate your diversity statement to clients
4. Provide ongoing diversity awareness training to all employees.
5. Start up a multi-cultural affinity group.
6. Implement cultural awareness days.
7. Invite individuals from local community groups to participate in lunch – n – learns to talk about their cultural traditions.
8. Recognize diverse holidays by posting diversity calendars on line or making them available to your employees.

Remember, diversity and inclusion should be treated as an ongoing process and an integral part of your business strategy. Therefore, diversity and inclusion is not a one shot deal.

More on Courtney Martin from AMAZON . She is the author of two books and countless articles.

- Click: When We Knew We Were Feminists
- Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters: How the Quest for Perfection is Harming Young Women

John Mauldin's on GREECE

John Mauldin is one of my favorite thinkers on investing. You can subscribe to his free newsletter by clicking here. A short while ago he wrote this piece on the situation is GREECE that is really insightful. ( This Time Is Different) The country's financial situation continues to grab headlines and is the reason most cited for any downward equity moves. There is not a happy ending here and John thoughtfully lays out the trade-offs. The whole piece is worth a read though the section on GREECE is about half the way down. One key take away for me was this - "Obama offering to freeze spending by 17% in US discretionary-spending programs, after he ran them up over 20% in just one year, is laughable. Greece is an object lesson for the world, as Japan soon will be. You cannot cure too much debt with more debt."
John's books are Bulls Eye Investing and Just One thing (amazon link)
He also mentions this book in this newsletter which I am most certainly going to get.
This Time is Different, by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff ( amazon link )

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger Woods - "I Am So Sorry"

This was an amazing speech. Yes he controlled the situation, but really, who cares. He said all the right things in my view. He centered his words on personal responsibility, admitting he had a problem, and talking about how he and his family were going to move forward. How powerful are the words "I am truly sorry" but as he said, behavior has to follow.
While we are still in the midst of this financial crisis, I hope CEOs and other senior leaders of institutions who have played a significant role take note. This is how you say I am sorry and plan a way forward.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

From Turbulance to Transformation - NCRW Panel Discussion March 3rd

We are at a very critical yet promising moment in history. Please join for a panel discussion with some outstanding women leaders. We will discuss what are the challenges and opportunities for advancing real and substantive social change that creates a better world for women and girls? Panelists will share their vision, strategies, and the action steps needed to promote more equitable and inclusive societies locally, nationally and globally.

Welcome - Linda Basch, President, National Council for Research on Women

Featured Speakers Include:

Melanne Verveer, U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues
Edith Cooper, Managing Director, Global Head of Human Capital Management at Goldman Sachs Letty Chiwara, Manager, UNIFEM Cross Regional Programmes (invited)
Jacki Zehner, Founding Partner, Circle Financial Group (moderator)

This program will precede the Council’s Making a Difference for Women Awards Dinner at Cipriani Wall Street on March 3, 2010. Priority seating will be given to those attending the dinner but there is no cost for this event. For more information, please contact the NCRW Benefit Office, c/o Production Collective at 914-628-0330 or .
More on the Council - click here.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

We Are More - Shayne Koyczan

Greetings from the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver! It is really quite amazing to be experiencing this event with my 9 year old daughter, Allie. Yesterday we attended the USA vs Russia womens hockey game, and although it was a blow-out, I truly felt the girl power! Thank you Title Nine! Sadly few other countries dedicate the resources to develop women's hockey and one can only hope that in future years the teams are more balanced. We also saw the men's luge event at Whistler and saw Canadian Skier Alexandre Bilodeau receive the first EVER Gold Medal on Canadian soil.

Though we did not attend the opening ceremonies ( I heard the least expensive ticket was $500!!!) it was spectacular on TV and I had two favorite moments. The first was the poem "We Are More" by Penticton poet Shayne Koyczan. Click here to watch the video. The second was the song Hallelujah by Katie Lang which sadly is not yet available but it took my breath away!
Lots to write about the markets but watching the Olympics on TV with my daughter is a must... Go North America!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Olympics 2010!

I am off to Vancouver in just a few hours to take my daughter Allie to the Olympics! I was born and raised in British Columbia and attended school in Vancouver. Very exciting to have the games in my home province. Go Canada!
Have a great week.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Silicon Valley - You Have a Gender Problem"

Please check out this great article by Vivek Wadhwa ( an entrepreneur turned academic) pointing to the challenges women face raising venture money. It is a very thoughtfully written piece and highlights many of the issues we did in our "Women in Fund Management" paper. "Sharon Vosmek, CEO of venture accelerator ASTIA doesn’t think that VCs have an overt bias against women. Instead, it’s the way the venture-capital industry operates." She goes on to give us a list of exclusionary practises which again, we have found to be very true. His conclusion is this, "it is clear we have a problem here: we’re holding back the most productive half of our population." I could not agree more and his follow-up piece will seek to address some solutions. For now check out some of the 192 comments for ideas.

If we want to grow jobs in this country we to not only increase the amount of money that funds entrepreneurs, but also ensure that the playing field is level as it relates to access to capital, and it clearly is not. I have suggested before that the government should seriously consider a VC fund as part of it's job creation program, but so far NADA. It could easily co-invest with existing managers, like Golden Seeds and others, and it is beyond my understanding what this idea has not been acted upon. This investment would have the double impact of creating jobs, and creating a positive return for taxpayers. If the money is going to be spend anyways, this makes a lot more sense.

ASTIA is a great resource for entreprenuers. Check it out.
As is GOLDENSEEDS - where I am a proud member. (pictured is Stephanie Hanbury Brown, the founder)

Friday, February 5, 2010

Leaving Las Vegas!

Las Vegas is a very interesting city to say the least. I came here for a couple of days to meet my mother and attend a home show. The last time I was here was some 20 or so years ago, and it is truly a sight to behold. The size of the hotels, the number of slot machines, the amount of retail... is beyond understanding. I lost my token $20 bucks which I felt was the least I could do given my hotel room at The Bellagio was only $69 per night. I kept asking the taxi drivers, the servers, how the economy is here and the answer is perhaps obvious.... just not good. There said there was a time when you could not find a hotel room or a place at the craps table, but no more. Even tonight on our way back in at 11am over half the tables were empty. We did see two amazing shows, Jersey Boys and Ka, a Cirque du Soleil production. Both were incredible.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Shriver Report - "A Woman's Nation Changes Everything" PLUS "Shells"

I mentioned this report a while back but I finally received my hard copy and I cannot put it down! It is THE RESEARCH I have been waiting for. The report is filled with facts, stats and great quotes, but it is also a collection of incredible well-written essays by well known writers on some of the most important issues that frame gender equality. The one I read yesterday is called "Has a Man's World Become a Woman's Nation?" by Michael Kimmel and 'it surveys the varied responses that men have had to women's entry into the workforce and to losing the title of sole breadwinner.' Greater gender equality can and should be a win/win proposition. Michael sites some great evidence that it is. You can access it on-line but it is well worth ordering a copy! link here.

A reader of my blog has asked me many time "how do I want to be remembered?" This is how. I want to be remembered, of course, for being a good mother, a good wife, a good friend, a good daughter..... but as it relates to the IT, to the what my life is about, about my purpose, it is to help advance gender equality in our world. Why? Because I truly believe that with greater gender equality comes economic growth, more healthy families, more healthy communities and more peaceful societies. God has put this passion in to my heart. He just has. My work is becoming more and more focused on this, which means I have to say no to a lot of things. BUT. BUT. It is because I said YES to this one thing ( and a very big thing with lots of dimensions), that it allows me to say no to a lot of other things. Ultimately there is only one judge as to whether we do 'enough' with of our lives. Whether we give enough of our time, talent and resources. Please can we stop judging eachother and help one another find our ITS, so that we can know, truly know, that our life has meaning and purpose. ( I want to thank Rob Bell and his Video Teaching SHELLS, for helping me know what I should hold on to, and what i need to let go of)