Friday, July 24, 2009

The power of the Internet!

As of yesterday afternoon, it looks like there will be at least one women's focus group forming in Pittsburgh in the fall, in addition to the ones forming in DC. Thanks to the wide-spreading ripple effects of email forwarding among fierce advocates for women's economic justice, I have heard from a lot of people in the last 24 hours. I am going to recirculate my email and provide a link to this blog as well as invite folks to Tweet me and Friend me so that we can keep up the conversation about women and economic justice in many different media.

Thanks for jumping in and adding comments here too, Friends. Let's get a good buzz on!

Be amazed and amazing,

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How would the world be different...

...if women controlled half of the world's wealth?

Why half? Because we are half the population of the planet.

This question has been haunting me lately as I have watched and listened to world news. Everything from the wars in the Middle East, to the Supreme Court nomination hearings, to world summits on the environment, to overhauling our health care system, to state-issued IOU's, to local stories of crime, violence, homelessness, and education. Women clearly have a far more vocal and influential voice than ever before in history, yet most of the decisions that rock the world and become the "rebar" of public policy and public discourse, are still formed on the basis of what the wealthiest (i.e., most powerful) people in the society think is most important--that is, of greatest value. Since men control roughly 94% of the world's wealth, that means that our societies (world wide) continue to be largely reflective of what those stakeholders think is most important, most valuable.

Women make up about 51% of the world's population. We also make up 51% of the paid labor force (at least in the U.S.). We spend most of the money in the world, but we control only about 6% of it. Societies--even the simplest ones--are economic systems. That is, things of value to people are exchanged for other things of value--whether currency, livestock, natural resources, manufactured goods, or services. People everywhere and at every level of sophistication or simplicity rely on the economy in which they find themselves, for survival. Throughout human history (with very few exceptions), societies worldwide have privileged their male members and allowed most of whatever commodity has been most valuable, to be owned and controlled by the men.

So I find myself wondering, how would the world be different if women (51% of all people) controlled 51% of the world's wealth?

If you have some thoughts on this, please share them!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

As many of you know, I have recently jumped rails from a long and rewarding nonprofit management career to becoming an independent leader in the movement to increase women's access to wealth creation strategies and "beyond-the-basics" financial education. I wanted to share a brief update on a couple ways that I am doing this.

On the topic of women's wealth creation...

I believe this is the next frontier of women's social and economic justice. We (women and male allies) broke through many employment barriers and ceilings in the later part of the 20th century achieving roughly 51% participation in the paid labor force (and of course need to continue that work, as many women still face extreme disadvantages and obstacles in entering, re-entering, and advancing in the workplace). But we know very well that we can do more than one thing at a time (after all, didn't women invent multi-tasking?!), so I say we need to press on into this remarkably under-explored gender issue--that is, why it is that we now comprise more than half of the paid workforce, but make up only about 5% of the population that has achieved wealth independently (not as a result of inheritance or a partner's wealth--see an earlier posting below). You with me?

One of the things I am working to do this year, is start a movement of small social gatherings of women—first in DC and then around the country—for the purpose of talking and listening to each other about our “money stories.” That is, how do we feel about money in our lives, what have we been taught to believe, what have been our experiences, achievements, frustrations, etc? If you remember the T-groups of the ‘70’s, we might think of these as the “M” (money) groups of the new millennium.

Let me know if you would be interested in participating in or even hosting such a group in your home. I already have a growing list of women here in the DC area that are eager to get together!

And there is another way in which I have also branched out in my life...

Scroll down and see my May 31 posting on going from Cowgirl Wannabe to Entrepreneur!

Until next time,

Be Amazing and Amazed,


Saturday, June 6, 2009

 A 2007 study done by  Asset Management Advisors found that most women with net worths of $1 million or more, inherited their wealth rather than building it themselves. Hmmm. I guess I am not surprised, but it is still a wake-up call to see it in print.

The study went on to report that in addition to those who inherited their wealth (36%), another 29% gained their wealth as a result of their husband's employment. Hmmm again.

C'mon, Women! We need to get up to speed here. It remains as true as it has been for hundreds of years, that women SPEND most of the money in our society. Apparently only about 18% of us consider ourselves "savers" too. Oh dear. We have really let something settle in here that is limiting our full potentiality. We are still entirely too dependent on Others for our economic health and well being. That puts us about one residual income check away from the slippery slope, if those relationships change. Not a good way to secure our financial futures. And not a good message for our daughters...or sons for that matter.

And even if our relationships are in great shape (and I really do wish that for all), isn't it about time to start changing the demographics again, to show that women are every bit as capable and well-positioned to build wealth on their own, as the men are?

I'd say so. What do you say?

Sunday, May 31, 2009

From cowgirl wannabe to entrepreneur...

Actually, it's not been a very big step at all. At least not in spirit. Oh sure, plenty of years of more traditional employment pursuits in between, but y'know...I've really always had that Cowgirl Thing lurking right under the surface. Those who know me best, get it.

I love the freedom of movement that comes with being a serious entrepreneur; the necessity of taking chances, the variety and adventure that are part of making things happen. "If it is to be, it is up to me."--who said that? (if you know, remind me and I'll properly credit it.) I like the sentiment and what it suggests about the power of taking charge and creating the change I envision in the world. Entrepreneurial Leap? I have ventured into the realm of Internet Marketing/Consultation. Surprised? So was I, but it all makes so much sense now that I can hardly contain myself. A whole array of things that matter most to me have come together in a really neat way.

In the course of doing other research on women and wealth--and searching for an excellent financial education program from which women could greatly benefit--something unexpected came into focus for me. I discovered that when I apply my leadership, mentoring, communications skills, strategic thinking, nonprofit fundraising and development expertise , and lots of sales and marketing savvy acquired in my early (pre-Internet) career days, within the vast realm of the Internet, there is a ton of untapped opportunity. Ee-Ha!! (Cowgirl exuberance).

Internet Marketing is allowing me to 1) learn an entirely new career with all its sophisticated skills, terminologies, and conceptual frameworks (I love this stuff!); 2)replace (and actually improve on) the income from the nonprofit management career from which I recently "retired"; 3) develop replicable methods and strategies for use, not just by individual entrepreneurs, but by nonprofits, and consultants working with nonprofits, to improve upon and optimize traditional approaches to fundraising and communications; and 4) provide me with all the freedom and independence this Cowgirl needs to design and live my next life chapter in a really meaningful way.

Once I have achieved my own income goals and my income-producing system is working on its own with minimal effort on my part (late in 2009), I will be able to put as much time as I choose into doing my lifework of supporting social and economic justice efforts through volunteerism, modest-fee contract work, and personal philanthropy, because I will no longer be dependent on making my living within one single organization within the nonprofit sector. It's a perfect fit for this new chapter in my life. And I SOOO love working from home (patio, cafe', etc.)

If you, like I, have been considering a change--a Cowgirl size change!--or are searching for a solution to help you over the hump of these challenging economic times, let's talk more. I might be able to help.

Thia (Cowgirl Grown Up)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Play it safe or expand?

Conventional wisdom suggests that in tough economic times one should exercise restraint in nearly all aspects of life; that is, play it safe. Entrepreneurs live life differently, however, and see adversity as opportunity to expand in new directions. So…play it safe or expand?

I’d like to propose that the “safer” path, when life feels uncertain, is the one that leads to a place of expanded vision, expanded ideas, expanded opportunity. Without an enlarged sense of what is possible and attainable we burrow further into the limited and diminishing realities of what already is; what is no longer working. How could that be good?? Simply put, it is not good.

The “play it safe” option is motivated by fear: fear of “what could happen.” Hmmm. Playing it safe most generally assures that nothing will happen.

Does this mean that we should throw all caution to the wind and make reckless, uninformed choices? Absolutely not. That too could be disastrous.

What it means is that it’s time to get to a place where the view is different; let’s call it higher ground. Think about it: “What I focus on is what I see.” We will always and ever see only that on which we focus. If we see nothing new, gain no new perspective, see nothing other than what causes us to be afraid in the first place, and nothing other than that which is slipping away, we can’t possibly hope to expand our vision to include new possibilities and new futures.

So when life feels like it is closing in and the future is uncertain, head for higher ground. Change your view, look at the world differently, focus and reflect on the things that are all around you but may not previously have caught your attention. Change your mindset and you will change your life.


How do you mix it up and break out of the playing-it-safe mindset? How do you change your view when the old one is no longer working?