Saturday, May 15, 2010

Washington Visit


This was one of the coolest weeks ever with respect to the intersection of so many of the things I am passionate about! Women, money, influence, finance, social change, philanthropy, networking, human capital management and more. The only thing missing was the faith component but that is coming June 3rd. A quick plug. Auburn Theological Seminary is having their annual Women’s Lives of Commitment Breakfast at 7:30 am at the Plaza Hotel, NYC. I am humbled to be an honoree this year, with other amazing women leaders who are motivated to do what they do in the world because of their faith. Following the breakfast there will be a conversation, “Women, God and Money” so please consider joining! I will do a whole entry on Auburn soon! On to this week...

I made a trip to Washington on Wednesday to meet with the White House, Presidential Personnel Office to discuss how they can access various networks to attract the best people possible to senior roles in the administration. It was fascinating to learn about the process by which they recruit thousands of people in to various roles and I was deeply impressed with the staff people we met with. We had many senior people in the administration come to speak to us to talk about their careers and I learned so much. Personally I have never thought about a role in government so it was really eye opening. The good news is the government is hiring, the bad news, there is not much hiring going on in the private sector.

Next I had a meeting with some very senior folks at Treasury to discuss the Women in Fund Management Report, which looks at the barriers and solutions to attracting, retaining and promoting more talented women in to financial services roles. The Treasury Department is perhaps the largest financial institution we have in this country. I had never really thought about that! ( If you are a person with a financial background and are looking for work, or know of others who are, the treasury is hiring! (check out the link here) ) We discussed a variety of issues and opportunities and I looking forward to staying connected with the people I met there and assist them in any way possible! A few weeks back I had the opportunity to meet the most senior woman in Treasury, the Treasurer of the United States, Rosie Rios. I am going to do a separate entry on Ms. Rios as she is truly spectacular and I women we all need to know about. Talking about powerful women in Washington Finance, there was a great article about many of them last week on Yahoo so in case you missed it, here it is. ( "Female Sheriffs of Wall Street - click here)

So what did I learn from all of this? What were my take-aways? First, our country is being largely shaped by government, so to have the opportunity to walk the streets of Washington, and have access to the buildings and the people were decisions were being made me feel like I could be part of it all. That I could have a voice. That we all could have a voice. I shared some of the concerns I had as a resident of this country, and I was listened to. That was very cool. Second, I was deeply impressed with the people I met and their commitment to the work they do. If there are ways I can assist them in doing the best they can do for all of us, I am going to do that. Third I realize the need to see government as a partner to business. I see the need for creative solutions to some very big problems and I am left imagining how to do that. Stephanie Hanbury Brown was there from Golden Seeds, and we had a great conversation with a senior person from the Commerce department on how to breakdown the barriers to accessing capital faced by women entrepreneurs. Unleashing private capital to fund new businesses has to be an urgent priority so how do we partner in doing that? How do we leverage the power of government in partnership with the private sector to improve our economy? So far I have not seen a lot of great examples of that but I left Washington believing that good things could and will happen. So..... I left inspired. I left hopeful. I left feeling like I can, we all can, make a difference.

I have so much more to blog about but this is already a very long entry.... blessings.

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