On September 18, PWR gathered eight women who are shaping the future in their own communities to share their stories. They reflected on the most pressing issues affecting women in politics today and how they have personally overcome obstacles along their path to political involvement.
Attendees left more informed, inspired and encouraged by the progress women have made in the push toward gender parity in our political system. Panelists shared several pieces of advice for becoming and staying engaged. Here are four key takeaways:
1. Stay informed about key issues and candidates.
There are many places to find bipartisan education. With so many sources of potentially skewed information – on social media, TV commercials and even biased news sources – it’s more important than ever to fact check and truly understand the scope of pressing issues in your community.
Panelists suggested consulting the following websites for credible, nonpartisan information:
Staying attuned to your community’s issues outside of the election cycle is also critical. “The idea that politicians only engage constituents during elections is mind-boggling,” said Barbara Kigozi, Committee Person for Ward 59, Division 19.
As a voter, follow local news and look for opportunities to engage your local politicians in conversations throughout the year, without the pressure of an upcoming election.
2. Establish your personal criteria for candidates.
The first step in selecting a candidate that represents your interests is identifying what matters to you. “Develop a checklist for yourself, find people who resonate with that, and then do a deep dive into those people,” said Nina Ahmad, Ph.D., Former Candidate for Lieutenant Governor. “Match your issues and values with their issues and values and see objectively who gets the most checkmarks.”
“When selecting a candidate, you don’t have to look into a mirror,” said Nina. “But you do need to identify someone who can improve your community.”
Eryn Santamoor, Democratic Candidate for Philadelphia City Council At-Large, encouraged attendees to meet their candidates in person. “Social media is a good way to find people who share your issue focus, but make sure you are talking to those people in real life,” she said.
Panelists weighed in on the most important characteristics to identify in candidates. Eryn urged attendees to truly understand the job and whether candidates meet the expectations of someone holding that position.
Tam Williams, Founder & President of She’s It LLC, encouraged attendees to examine a candidate’s values – not only what they are saying in public but also their opinions behind closed doors. Look for distortions to understand if they are truly aligned with your personal values.
Gina Barr, Director of Women and Urban Engagement at the Republican National Committee, noted that following the money behind a campaign is also critical, especially in small towns where funders may try to keep candidates who represent their interests in office. “If you voted for a new candidate in your town, but aren’t seeing any changes once they’re in office, funding might be why.” This is all public information available from the Federal Election Commission.
Once you identify your candidate, vote for them. “In our country, only 60 percent of eligible voters actually vote in presidential elections, and even less in primaries,” said moderator Elizabeth Roggio, Corporate and Political Associate at Kleinbard LLC.
“When it comes time to go to the polls and vote, there should never be an excuse,” said Tam. “That goes for yourself, but also for others. We have a responsibility to mobilize our communities around elections.”
3. Look past public perception when evaluating candidates.
Women face specific challenges when it comes to building a public image. Panelists discussed why in most campaigns, women dress up and men dress down. Oftentimes, women are instructed to dress conservatively to “respect the office” while it is assumed that men can handle the job.
Beyond appearance, messaging is an important part of telling a candidate’s story. “People have 45 seconds to form an opinion about you,” said Eryn. “But we are more complicated than what you get to see when we run for office.”
Today, voters consume information about candidates in small pieces – a TV commercial, a postcard mailer or a social media post – so candidates can only make a portion of their pitch. “Try to see more than what you get in a mailer,” said Eryn.
4. Support candidates and issues vocally – and financially.
You don’t have to run for office to make a lasting impact in your community. Supporting the candidates and issues that mean the most to you is incredibly important.
“Being political in place is about using the position where you are to have difficult, critical conversations,” said Amber Hikes, Executive Director of the Office of LGBT Affairs for the City of Philadelphia. She urged attendees to signal boost others who share like-minded ideas and opinions, especially in large forums. “Be courageous and intentional in those conversations because it will change the course of discourse in this city and this country.”
Panelists also emphasized the importance of funding in political campaigns.
“Men are fundraising better than us,” said Julia Fahl, candidate for Mayor in Lambertville, NJ. She emphasized that being political also means spending money politically. “Work your political budget into your regular budget,” she advises.
“And when you give money, always have an ask,” added Nina. She encouraged attendees to select an issue they care about, find a candidate or organization that supports it and make a specific ask with a donation to their cause.
“If you don’t have a organization that represents your goals, start it,” said Elizabeth. She explained that anyone can launch their own PAC and fund raise directly into it.
We can all play a role in local and national politics – large or small. Understanding the various ways to get involved and reach our political potential is the first step. This fall, PWR encourages members to take the next step and support the candidates and causes that matter to your community.
Learn more about our Political Me panelists here.
Professional Women’s Roundtable is seeking a Social Media Chair to join our dynamic Board of Directors!
To apply, please submit your completed application to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Social Media Chair must be a PWR member and commit to a two-year board term.
PWR Board of Directors Application.doc
Professional Women’s Roundtable is seeking an Officer-At-Large to sit on the Board of Directors and support its various committees with initiatives that reinforce the mission of the organization.
To apply, please download and review the position description and the Board of Directors application below. Submit your completed application to email@example.com.
PWR Announces 15th Annual Anniversary Event
PHILADELPHIA – October 1, 2017 – Professional Women’s Roundtable announced today it will present the PoWeR Award to Patrice Banks at its 15th Annual Anniversary Event on November 2, 2017. The event will take place at the offices of Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP at 123 South Broad Street, 28th floor, from 5:30 - 8:00pm.
Every year, the PoWeR award is presented to a trailblazing woman, or group of women, in the Philadelphia community who has made significant contributions to the community by serving as a role model for emerging female business leaders. Recent honorees include Nellie Fitzpatrick, City Director of LGBT Affairs, and antipoverty advocate Nikki Johnson-Huston, Esq.
Banks is an entrepreneur and owner of Girls Auto Clinic, a female empowerment company that caters to women by offering automotive buying and repair services based on trust, education and inclusion. Once a self-proclaimed “auto air-head,” Banks took her engineering degree, became a certified automotive technician and created a community of sheCANics. In addition to her award-winning shop and monthly workshops, Banks has released a book entitled “The Glove Box Guide” which encourages women to take control of the wheel so they never feel mistreated, misunderstood, or taken advantage of again. It provides readers with answers to all their common car questions through DIY instructions, tips, and illustrations.
“The Glove Box Guide” will be available to purchase and Banks will sign copies at the event. Learn more and register on PWR’s website.
PWR’s anniversary event is sponsored by Comcast; Montgomery McCracken Walker & Rhoads LLP; Reilly, Janiczek, McDevitt, Henrich & Cholden P.C.; Little Black Dress Wines and Essential Properties.
Beth Lawrence, President
Beth is Northeast Marking Manager for Snap Kitchen, where she facilitates all regional marketing, partnerships, and catering and is helping to launch the brand's stores in the Philadelphia region. A founding member of Party Partners of Philadelphia, Beth's background is in catering, marketing and social media for restaurants and venues including Dave & Buster's, Brulee Catering and The Palm. Beth has also served as Silent Auction Co-Chair for the 2014 and 2015 Human Rights Campaign Galas, as well as 2015 and 2016 Campaign Manager and 2017 Candidate for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Woman of the Year. Beth graduated from Arcadia University with an individualized concentration B.A. in Event Planning.
Leslie Cano, Vice President
Leslie is a Senior Business Analyst in the area of Corporate Analytics at Freedom Mortgage Corporation, a privately held full-service lender. In this role she is responsible for implementing a risk-based continuous internal audit plan based on best practices in Enterprise Risk Management, and she provides consulting services to the organization's management and staff. She has over 10 years of experience in finance and ERM, including global and national arenas in energy, legal services, banking, education, and tourism/hospitality industries. Leslie earned her B.S. in Finance from the University of Akron and her MBA from Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business.
Christine Topping, Treasurer
Christine is an advisor with MassMutual, where she delivers products and strategies designed to meet clients' current and future needs. She prides herself on getting to know each client so that she can understand their individual financial priorities. She is passionate about supporting organizations that empower women and is a member of the Young Friends of the PA Ballet. Christine graduated from Stockton University with a B.S in Finance and a minor in Economics.
Kelly Collins, Secretary, Organizational Continuity Chair
Kelly is a marketing and event planning professional with Muhlenhaupt and Company, where she serves as Digital Content Manager. Kelly's career has taken her to many corners of the City of Brotherly Love in industries including healthcare, technology and hospitality. She enjoys staying active in the community and has volunteered on event production teams including The World Meeting of Families, Alex's Lemonade Stand and The Pennsylvania Women's Conference. Kelly received a B.A. in Communications from York College of Pennsylvania.
Dawn Bundick, Events Chair
Dawn Bundick serves as Senior Sales & Marketing Manager and Regional Support for the Hard Rock Cafe’s North America East Cafes. She handles events ranging from 50 to 700 people, creating authentic experiences for conventioneers, visitors and locals. Dawn has over 25 years of Customer Service and Hospitality experience and is a founding member of Party Partners of Philadelphia. She began her career in 1988 at Strawbridge & Clothier and transitioned to hospitality in 2000.
Cherise Wynne, Diversity & Inclusion Chair
Cherise is a former chemist-now-realtor with Coldwell Banker Preferred, and is known in the real estate industry as "Agent Lady." Cherise provides home buying and selling services all across Philadelphia. Her focus is working with first-time home buyers in Center City and surrounding areas. Cherise's passion for real estate goes far beyond just closing deals, and is shown by becoming a personal resource to all her clients. Cherise received a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry at West Chester University and became a licensed realtor after attending Temple Real Estate School.
Nicole Morgenstern, Social Media Chair
Nicole Morgenstern is Director of Sales for SPiN Philadelphia, Center City’s first ping pong social club. She has more than 14 years of diverse experience in sales, marketing and event planning, including serving as a buyer at Destination Maternity, a personal stylist & Marketing Manager at Saks Fifth Avenue and Sales & Marketing Manager of Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse. She is a founding member of Party Partners of Philadelphia and has created and launched her own boutique photo experience company, CliqueCam, in the Philadelphia region. Nicole holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fashion Merchandising from Philadelphia University.
Jamie Kloss, PR & Communications Chair
Jamie is a content marketing specialist with Braithwaite Communications, an independent marketing, branding and public relations firm in Center City. In her current role, Jamie develops internal and external communications strategies for clients in the pharmaceutical, financial services and nonprofit sectors. Jamie began her career at a New York-based PR firm, where she managed public relations activities and strategy for clients in the commercial banking, financial technology, and insurance industries. She graduated from Quinnipiac University with a B.A. in Public Relations.
Mara Smith, Sponsorship Chair
Mara is a 2017 graduate from the Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University, where she completed a Health Law concentration. In September 2017, Mara will join the law firm Montgomery, McCracken, Walker and Rhoads, LLP. During law school, Mara worked for Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals where she specialized in HIPAA-related compliance work. She is a writer for Philly.com's Health Cents blog and is active in the Philadelphia Jesuit Community and with her alma mater, The University of Scranton, where she majored in International Business and completed minors in Spanish and Philosophy.
Kiran Beg, Members-Only Events Chair
Kiran is an experienced financial advisor at McAdam Financial with deep roots in the Philadelphia community. In her practice, Kiran’s core areas of focus are strategies for high net worth individuals involving advanced tax reduction, retirement investment planning, and multi-generational wealth transfer. Kiran is an Accredited Asset Management Specialist™ and continually works as a fiduciary for her clients. Kiran graduated from The University of Pennsylvania, majoring in political science with a concentration in international relations.
Founded in 2002, Professional Women’s Roundtable provides a forum for female business professionals to hone professional development skills, strengthen networks, and cultivate new business opportunities. For more information on PWR, visit pwroundtable.com.
Six of Philadelphia’s most dynamic leaders gathered at the Pennovation Center to share powerful stories during PWR’s Overcoming Obstacles event on Tuesday, May 9.
Moderator Kristen Bakalar, who specializes in inclusive leadership training at athenahealth, asked each of the speakers to discuss one word they associate with “obstacle."
Mary Dougherty owns and operates both Nicole Miller Philadelphia boutiques in addition to a fashion consulting firm, and has been named one of Philadelphia’s "Top 50 Women to Watch" by Business Philadelphia Magazine. Mary discussed the challenge of overcoming adversity in a male-dominated industry and the importance of communicating with authenticity while tailoring your message to your audience.
Tiffany Tavarez administers corporate contributions and corporate citizenship programs for PECO. Among the numerous leadership awards she’s received, she was named one of the 30 Over 30 of Philadelphia’s Most Inspiring Women by online magazine Femme & Fortune. Tiffany shared her experience with realizing the benefits of having the audacity to speak up for herself and not allowing others stifle her creativity.
Nora Cothren is an educator and ice hockey coach dedicated to creating safe sporting environments. She is an Academic Coordinator with the Ed Snider Youth Hockey Foundation, a non-profit committed to teaching children important life lessons through an emphasis on life skills and character development. Nora spoke of perseverance and the mantra she borrows from Dory of Finding Nemo for times when life gets really tough: “Just Keep Swimming.”
Yasmine Mustafa is a tech entrepreneur and CEO of ROAR for Good, a self-defense wearable technology company aimed at diminishing attacks against women. She and her family were living in Kuwait when it was invaded during the Persian Gulf War. Her story of fleeing the country, settling in Philadelphia, and the grueling path to U.S. citizenship and entrepreneurship exemplifies the concept of turning obstacle into opportunity.
Dixieanne James is VP of Strategic Planning and Business Development with Einstein HealthCare Network with 15 years of experience in the healthcare industry. She advocates positive self-talk and finding an effective sponsor to support career and personal growth.
PWR is now taking applications for a number of positions on our Board of Directors. This is an excellent way to contribute to the advancement of your profession, to share best practices and to build and expand upon a great network of leaders from a variety of industries.
We welcome your application for a 2017 Board Position.
The following positions are up for election:
• Vice President
• Diversity and Inclusion Chair
• Members-Only Events Chair
Please complete the application linked below and return with a copy of your most recent resume to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, April 3rd. We will then follow up with you by late April about next steps. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to reach out.
Download the application here: PWR - 2017 Board Application.doc
This spring, several events in Philadelphia offer networking and education opportunities to emerging female business and community leaders. PWR members can take advantage of discounted pricing or learn more about the following events:
Independence Business Alliance’s 2017 Women in Business Panel
Tuesday, March 28th, 2017
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
National Liberty Museum
321 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Join us as the IBA celebrates Women’s History Month with a dynamic panel discussion on mentorship. We will explore the best practices for fostering productive mentor/mentee relationships, learn how to leverage mentorship to advance our goals at every stage of our career, and examine ways to shift work dynamics to prioritize collaboration over competition amongst professional women.
$30 for IBA members
$50 for non-members
*PWR members can use the discount code: WIBFRIEND
Networking to follow. Appetizers and beverages will be provided.
Male-identified attendees are welcome and encouraged to attend and support this event!
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11th Annual Women's Resource Center Leadership Luncheon
Friday, April 21, 2017
Crystal Tea Room
100 E Penn Square # 9B, Philadelphia, PA 19107
Join more than 500 women leaders from throughout the Delaware Valley for an inspirational luncheon to benefit Women's Resource Center.
Plus there will be a silent auction, raffle baskets and more!
Proceeds benefit the mission and work of the Women's Resource Center, helping women and girls to successfully navigate life's transitions.
On August 24, Board Members Doreen Mosher and Beth Lawrence spoke to an audience of 80+ women about the power of intentional networking to further their careers. These women ranged from second-year students at Bryn Mawr to seasoned professionals.
Professional Women’s Roundtable to Honor Local Diversity & Inclusion Leader at Anniversary Event
Nonprofit Celebrates 14 Years of Empowering Women in Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA (August XX, 2016) – Professional Women’s Roundtable today announced it will present its PoWeR Award to Nellie Fitzpatrick, Director of Philadelphia’s Office of LGBT Affairs, at its 14th Annual Anniversary Event. The event will take place on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016 at 5:30 p.m. at the Hard Rock Café.
Each year, the PoWeR Award honors a trailblazing woman who has made outstanding contributions to the local community by serving as a role model for emerging women business leaders. Past honorees include tax attorney and philanthropist Nikki Johnson-Huston, Esq. and Director of the Center for Corporate Governance at Drexel’s LeBow College of Business, Patricia Connolly.
Fitzpatrick was appointed as the Director of LGBT Affairs last year and now serves as an advisor, educator and advocate for diversity and inclusion in the Philadelphia community. Fitzpatrick previously was the LGBT liaison in the District Attorney's Office, where she served as an assistant district attorney and prosecutor in the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Unit. She has been dedicated to empowering the LGBT community and furthering efforts to bring about the systemic change needed to end discrimination.
Admission to the event is $55 for non-members, $45 for CCPA members and PWR standard members, and $35 for PWR premium members. Drinks and light fare will be served. Registration details are available at: http://pwroundtable.com/event-2253571
About the Professional Women’s Roundtable
The Professional Women’s Roundtable (PWR) is a non-profit organization providing networking, educational and personal growth opportunities to a diverse group of women business professionals in the Greater Philadelphia region. Through the power of PWR connections, members build relationships, pool resources, hone leadership skills and cultivate new business opportunities.
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