What a year for women's empowerment!
Over the last nine months, obstacles that women face personally and professionally have been making front-page headlines and sparking powerful movements such as #Metoo and Time's Up. These efforts are bringing much-needed attention to these critical issues.
Sadly, these are not new issues, and they are not limited to Hollywood and celebrities. These issues have been prevalent in the financial services industry, as well. But the positive news out of it all is that more firms are understanding certain behaviors and policies cannot and will not be tolerated. And change is on the horizon.
By bringing attention to important issues and topics, we all have the ability to change the way women are treated and valued now and in the future. So how does InvestmentNews' Women to Watch initiative fit into all this?
InvestmentNews is proud to have launched our Women to Watch initiative in 2015 with the mission of highlighting and celebrating the accomplishments and good works of women in the financial advice industry. Since that time, our editorial coverage, our research supporting women in the industry and the Women to Watch awards program itself helped influence the way our industry values and appreciates its female leaders. But we need your continued help and support as we push our coverage to new levels in our fourth annual Women to Watch this year.
One easy step is to nominate a woman you know who exemplifies the qualities this award stands for and celebrates. Sometimes there are obvious choices for the award, such as women who have the most public and senior roles in the industry. But there are also those women we will never know about unless they are brought to our attention. This award recognizes much more than a high-profile role and career; it's about celebrating the many different strengths women bring to the table and how they are helping others along the way.
So how does participating in our Women to Watch awards program play into the bigger picture of advancing our industry?
The phrase "You can't be what you can't see" has been quoted by many in our industry when describing the importance of women's initiatives in the financial advice business – and it was the catalyst behind the launch of our annual Women to Watch awards four years ago. We feel that a visual representation of successful women and a record of their stories will inspire and encourage other women to think big and set their sights high.
And we have seen positive changes since we launched these awards. Although women in leadership roles still represent a small percentage of all women in the advice business, there's been a definite shift in mindset and in the number of programs, initiatives and discussions that are supporting this much-needed change. We hope, in our small way, that InvestmentNews has contributed to this by creating this program.
Each year, the buzz around our Women to Watch awards and issue continues to grow, and we expect to again receive hundreds of nominations. We look forward to reviewing each of them and highlighting the accomplishments and promise of yet another group of amazing women.
In 2017, we took it a step further. We leveraged the significant talent and knowledge of our Women to Watch honorees and hosted them at our first think tank, which addressed important topics facing women in the industry. Based on the discussions from those women, this past March we released Advancing an Industry: Action steps to accelerate the advancement of women in the financial advice industry. It's an executive brief that spells out nine simple ways that individuals and firms can support the advancement of women in leadership roles.
It has been very well received in the industry. In fact, many colleges are asking if they can reference it when discussing career options for their female students. Also, stay tuned for our upcoming research brief launching in the fall. Powered by our 2018 Women to Watch think tank, it will focus on improving financial literacy and what our industry can do to lead the charge.
Also, as we do each year, we will dedicate our entire Nov. 19 issue and web site to feature our 2018 Women to Watch honorees, our Alexandra Armstrong Lifetime Achievement Award, our Rising Star Award honorees and other pieces focused on women in advice.
As we open nominations, I'm confident that our 2018 class of Women to Watch will be another extraordinary group. We encourage you to nominate a woman you feel exemplifies the traits we look for before the Aug. 6 deadline. We plan to continue the tradition of highlighting these women and their accomplishments with an eye on motivating future generations of women.
Help us continue the momentum that this past year has brought to women's movements like #Metoo and Time's Up. Nominate a deserving woman you know for this award. Small changes can make a big impact when embraced by many. As always: "You can't be what you can't see."