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President's Message - August 18, 2020

Tuesday, August 18, 2020   (0 Comments)
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Celebrating (an imperfect) 100 years

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any state on account of race, color or previous condition of servitude. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” - The 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution as ratified on February 3, 1870.

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.” -
The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution as ratified on August 18, 1920.

Dear FWA Members, Sponsors and Friends,

Simone VinocourSimone Vinocour
FWA President 2019-2021

Today, America - especially American women, celebrate a century of suffrage. These women:

Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, Lucy Stone, Carrie Chapman Catt, Ida B. Wells....

and so many others, sacrificed their time, treasure, reputations and even safety to ensure that our government and society was truly democratic. The push for universal suffrage was not a new idea born out of the Seneca Falls Convention in the prior century - strong women like Abigail Adams and others argued for the equal inclusion of women from the founding of our country.

The Suffragettes and their movement were closely linked to the abolitionist movement. The argument for universal suffrage was logically derived on the 14th Amendment (granting citizenship to all those born in the US), and the 15th (granting universal suffrage to all men, regardless of race). The women were inspiring in their work and success, but little could they have imagined that their goal would not be fully realized for women of color until the passage of the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965. That’s nearly 100 years of inability to access a right that was already granted. So, today we celebrate the passage of the 19th Amendment, but we should not forget the 45 additional years it took for all women and men in this country to realize their right to vote.

Celebrate this day by taking time to learn the history of the suffrage movement in the US and, of course, VOTE as a way to honor the legacy of the Suffragettes.

1) The World

I have to confess that after 5 months of working from home and tentative travel only within New York to see family, it is a little difficult to have a “world view”. It’s hard to believe that only six months ago, the FWA delegation was in Israel seeing cutting edge technological developments which can have a profound effect on our lives.

August, and especially these last few weeks, tend to be quieter in the markets just before the back-to-school rush begins. Going into the Fall, the US election and economic effects of the extended COVID-19 lock-down are expected to result in continued volatility in the markets. Firms and companies which paused restructuring and downsizing plans are likely to resume them in the coming months, increasing unemployment numbers. Still, the Treasury and Fed are committed to keeping the US economy stable and we are seeing structural change in our industry as firms consider working from home less of a short-term situation, but a likely permanent condition - at least in some form.

2) The FWA

Last month, I encouraged you to “take a break”, step away from your computers, (put on some shoes) and safely enjoy the outdoors. With all of our great programming, the FWA really did not pause in July. I was thrilled to welcome the new class of Pacesetters and participate in the “graduation ceremony” for our Wall Street Exchange students - with over 100, it was the largest class ever! Thank you to our Presidents Circle firms, committee leaders and volunteers who make these programs so impactful.

The FWA will be taking our own break over the next couple of weeks, but not before we have one more terrific event:

  • Tonight, recruiting firm, Selby Jennings, will be featuring the second part of their “Helping Solve the Number One Challenge - Talent”. Last week, their leaders gave a great overview of the state of the industry and where opportunities may be found. Tonight, participants will move to breakout rooms to have smaller discussions with Selby recruiters.

This is the first direct partnership the FWA has had with a recruiting firm and one we look to develop further in the coming months. We also know supporting women in furthering their career is another great way to mark this 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

Flexing their creativity, the FWA of New Jersey committee has an innovative approach to their traditional summer dinner: two dates at multiple locations to not only support social distancing but also local restaurants, in an al fresco dining format in September. Speical thanks to this committee for their creative approach.

The FWA's programming will ramp up in the Fall. We have some incredible content in the works, including energy markets expert and Pulitzer Prize winning author, Dan Yergin. Be sure to check the FWA website for more terrific events in the coming weeks. To date, we have made all of our programming free for members and at a nominal cost to non-members to support our industry in this volatile time. However, as we continue to operate virtually in the months ahead, some of our programming will incur a nominal pass-through cost such as not to further impact our revenue generation.

3) YOU!

I have a 3-part prescription for these final weeks of summer:

Renew (your FWA Membership)
Re-engage (with a committee!)

Take some time to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. There are some great hikes and bike paths to explore in this region without every leaving your home state. I will let you know next month if efforts to convince me to do overnight camping were successful - it’s 50/50 given my abject fear of spiders!

Use this time to renew your energy - and your FWA membership.

Set a plan to re-engage with your FWA friends and committees after Labor Day - it will help you to re-engage with the industry.

Enjoy the rest of your summer - “see” you in September!! 

Simone Vinocour
FWA President 2019-2021

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