WIFA, Women in Finance Association, was born less than a month ago, an entity which came to be thanks to the initiative of several well-known Miami professionals. Initially, it was Lauren Shapiro, a securities lawyer for the Miami-based company, Capital Legal Group, who founded the association, after realizing that there was no outlet or platform for female financial professionals in the area. "It‘s important for women to be given a voice, and to be able to meet in an intimate and attractive environment in which to discuss the difficulties of their successes in the industry," explains Shapiro, when asked about the reasons behind this project.
WIFA was born after an extensive analysis of women’s situation in various sectors of the male dominated financial world, explains its founder. It is an instrument for raising awareness, ensuring adequate recognition of the impact of women in the world of finance, and for providing the tools which allow them to wade through a ruthless system and advance to executive level in their professional development. "We have created a forum so that women not only share the difficulties they face when working towards success, but which also allows them to share their knowledge, perceptions, and experiences with each other," she says. "We are committed to giving every member, regardless of their level of expertise, valuable benefits to develop future executives, recognize and honor the achievement of women in the industry, and invest in the community."
Currently, Shapiro is accompanied on the Board of Directors by her co-founders Franciele Sgarioni, Senior Sales and Marketing Executive for Trident Fund Services, and Stephanie Tetreault, Senior Audit Manager at KPMG; they are committed to the objective of creating an organization which women feel is beneficial, both from a professional perspective, and for achieving personal growth.
Presently, the association, which operates in Miami and New York, and intends to reach some Latin American cities in the near future, requires its members to pay a fee, which can vary from 25 to 250 dollars, depending on their professional rank.
In return, they are part of a platform that aims to bring professional women from the financial industry together for the purpose of networking, offering training, mentoring, leadership coaching, industry awareness, and philanthropy.
"In the future, we will have various programs and activities tailored to our members’ objectives," explains Saphiro. They will focus on women and markets, and will offer programs and activities, in Miami and New York, for members at different levels. In order to do this, at the time of affiliation, each woman will be asked to select from a menu of objectives and, from there, they will receive information on the programs and activities geared to their specific objectives.
"We will make our events intimate, informal, and frequent, so that women feel comfortable and can truly be themselves," adds the founder.
Even though it’s still in its early days, the association declares itself open to collaboration with other associations and corporations, as long as they are appropriate for their members and in tune with their objectives
At last, these fierce and powerful women, as Saphiro describes women in the financial world, from Miami and New York, have already achieved their own "club."
For further information, please visit the WIFA website.