Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fannie and Freddie - the story continues

I am sure at least a few of my regular readers might be wondering WHY I have not yet done a posting about the report just out on the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. ( and the mortgage market ) The reason is that I knew my dear friend Bethany McClean, author of THE BOOK on the subject called "All the Devils are Here " would most certainly be called upon for comment. She was, and her brilliant response appears on SLATE .com ( click here) A number of options were presented and none of them are too practical. The combined entities who dominate the multi-trillion dollar market have so far cost the taxpayers $130 billion dollars. Two monsters were created and we will continue to leave with their remains for some time.

I have done numerous posts on these two entities and if you would like to read any of them please go to my web-site and search Fannie.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death & Technology

I recently watched Tiffany Shlain's documentary Connected: An Autoblogography about Love, Death, & Technology. It was one of the documentaries in the Sundance Film Festival and won a Women in Film Award. I had the pleasure of meeting Tiffany and she is one passionate and interesting woman.

"Connected explores the visible and invisible connections linking major issues of our time-the environment, consumption, population growth, technology, human rights, the global economy-while searching for her place in the world during a transformative time in her life. Employing a splendidly imaginative combination of animation and archival footage, plus several surprises, Tiffany Shlain constructs a chronological tour of Western modernization through the work of her late father, Leonard Shlain, a brain surgeon and best-selling author of Art and Physics and The Alphabet Versus the Goddess. "

Take a look at the trailer below and watch for the film to be released.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Women's Funding Network Conference 2011 - Investing with a Gender Lens

I serve as the Vice-Chair of The Women's Funding Network a network of over 160 women's organizations around the world. They are hosting their annual conference this year April 7-9, 2011 in Brooklyn, New York. This global conference is called The Power of Global Networks and its purpose is to bring together women's fund leaders, donors, experts and activists from around the world. The conference will focus on how women's funds turn the conventional model of philanthropy upside down, radically changing the way individuals, corporations, foundations and government invest in women and girls. It will also focus on how women's funds, and the network at large, is an effective vehicle, for shared leadership and collective action, allowing us to authentically and effectively extend our reach, increase our impact and build a movement for social change. Please join us! The conference is open to everyone.

We have a fantastic line-up of panelist and speakers including Ms. Michelle Bachelet. She is the first Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women which was established on July 2, 2010 but the United Nations General Assembly. Under Ms. Bachelet's leadership, UN Women will lead, support and coordinate the work on gender equality and the empowerment of women at global, regional and country level.

I will be moderating a panel on Friday, April 8. We are asking the question - How do we use our investment dollars to drive the economic and social empowerment of women and girls? This session will explore how investors, individual and institutional, can invest for profit with the same set of values they apply to their philanthropy and grant making. We ask if viable financial products exist that incorporate a gender lens? What are the current barriers and opportunities? How can the movement to invest in the potential of women and girls make all levels of money matter to make a big impact?
Again. Join us.
Also note that I have added an 'upcoming events' tab above which lists many upcoming gatherings in the women's space. Hope it is helpful.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"Women at the Top" more on the DB comment...

I have to say I love it when I write a blog entry on something (yesterday) and the next day it appears in one of my favorite papers as an OPED. Love it. Today in the Financial Times the editors wrote a piece called "Women at the Top: Make Boards More Diverve and Stop the Patronizing." The article makes the same basic points I did taking to task Josef Ackerman, chief Executive of Deutsche Bank. I love this quote...
"Diversity is not a feminist issue.....Failing to recruit from the widest possible talent pool is bad for a company, it's investors and society at large." I love how it ends as well saying that perhaps DB should think about replacing him when his term is up.GO FT!!!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Women on Boards - The Dumb Comments Continue

The issue of women on boards continues to make headlines. Many countries are wrestling with the idea of quotas and others have already implemented it. Josef Ackermann, chief executive of Deutsche Bank Germany, recently made a remark about this issue which got him in a lot of hot water. Responding to a question at last weeks annual results conference he stated "I hope it will be prettier and more colorful one day". Mr. Ackermann's comments were attacked by many prominent women in German business, including Ilse Aigner, minister for consumer affairs, saying: "Whoever wants things more colorful and beautiful should go to a flower meadow or museum".

Mr. Ackerman here are a few words of wisdom for what to say next time. "We are well versed in the incredible amount of evidence that greater board diversity leads to better decision making and are trying to get over this white male bias that clearly is reflected in our current lack of diversity. We say we cannot find talented women to fill these board seats but really, we are not trying very hard and this will change. We recognize that women are half the population, are clearly as smart and capable as men, and although there are fewer women with CEO experience that is often a prerequisite for board placement, we will find the talent BECAUSE we know that greater board diversity will lead to better outcomes. We did not do well in the financial crisis as you know, and our hope is that a more robust board going forward will help us weather the next storm more soundly."

Some facts

"Deutsche Bank has no female executive board members and last year only 2.2% of executive board members at the 30 companies in Germany's blue-chip DAX index were women. Germany also came last in ranking if women's representation on executive boards."

- 14.8% of Fortune 500 board seats were filled by women (2009)

-15.4% of Fortune 500 corporative officers were women (2009)

-During the four-year span of their study, Fortune 500 companies with the highest percentage of women on their boards, and greater numbers of women in the clout titles, saw 53% higher returns on equity than those companies with the fewest number of women on their boards.

-Return equity for companies with at least three women on their boards was 16.7%, compared with 11.5% for the average company.

To read more about the article visit Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, or The Telegraph.

Our foundation has created a "Why Diversity on Corporate Boards Matters" Brief - if you would like it please email me at .

Friday, February 4, 2011

Women Moving Millions and Women's Media Center

I am attending a three day training for WMM donors in NYC in partnership with the Women's Media Center. So far so awesome! They just showed this video about why getting our voices out there is so important. Check out this video on YOUTUBE. ( click here )

Also consider supporting this important organization. ( click here )

Pictured right are Elizabeth Sackler, Founder of the Sackler Center for Feminist Art, Jodie Evans of Code Pink who is the host of this gathering, and Jane Fonda who is a huge supporter and Board Member of WMC.