Tag Archives: investing

Women and Money, Gender Lens Investing IV

This is the fourth Women and Money post in a series about gender lens investing.

The first post introduced the concept of investing through a screening process, referred to as a lens. The second gives an overview of socially responsible investing as an established type of lens investing. The third answers the question “Why gender lens investing?” and promises to look at the role of board of directors (also referred to as the board) and high level business executives in publicly traded companies. This, the fourth post, gives a brief overview of each of these two leadership groups. Understanding why they are important to the company is critical to understanding how gender lens investing works.

Business executives and boards of directors can be found in both privately and publicly held companies. For gender lens investing, I am referring to publicly traded companies. These companies offer securities such as stocks and bonds to the general public through an exchange. One of the most well-known U.S. exchanges is the New York Stock Exchange, but there are many more. This is a simplified definition and to learn more, just perform a quick search on the Internet for more information about publicly traded companies.

With gender lens investing, the gender of the members of board and the company’s business executives is looked at through the lens. It is a pretty simple process; just compare the number of women to the number of men serving in these top level leadership and management positions.


So you may be wondering why a blog about women and money has a graphic titled Board of Directors with all male figures. The reason is simple. Men currently hold the majority of the board positions of publicly traded companies

Board members and business executives are tasked with working together to reach common goals for the company. However, their roles for achieving this are different.

Board members in publicly traded companies are elected by shareholders. Shareholders have ownership in the business. Perhaps you have owned stock or mutual funds and received forms to vote concerning selecting a board member. Maybe you have been asked to complete a proxy so someone is authorized to vote on a proposal on your behalf. This shows how shareholders are given the opportunity to influence the board and its decisions. Board members not only oversee the management of the company, but they also serve as a connector between the company (including what is referred to below as C-level executives) and the shareholders. Board members have considerable influence over the organization. They also have significant responsibility to the shareholders.

Gender lens investing evaluates the overall relationship between the number of women and men who are members of the company’s board of directors.

C- level Executiveslensfunny


Unlike members of the board, business executives are employees of the business. The graphic above cleverly showing “C- level” and an executive meeting room may not mean much to you. However, C-level refers to the most senior and influential positions in a company. You have heard of them, CEO (Chief Executive Officer, CFO (Chief Financial Officer), CIO (Chief Information Officer), COO (Chief Operating Officer) and others. The term C-level executives is also commonly used for these important positions. C-level executives hold the highest levels of leadership and decision making authority in the company. Correspondingly, these executives are usually the most highly compensated of all the employees. Compensation may consist of not only salaries, but bonuses, stock options, etc.

As with members of boards of publicly traded companies, C-level executive positions currently are predominately held by men.

Gender lens investing also evaluates the overall relationship between the numbers of women and men who are C-level executives.

To summarize, a publicly traded company is one which offers shares of ownership to the public through an exchange. A publicly traded company has both a board of directors and business executives. Gender lens investing looks at the number of women and men holding these key positions as part of the filtering process, seeking those who meet the criteria established by the investment company, or even by an individual investor.

Coming in the next Money and Women, Gender Lens Investing post: Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Index Fund as an example of gender lens investing.

You may also read this information on scribd.com by clicking here.

(This information is designed to educate you about basic financial management concepts. Questions relevant to personal finances specific to the individual should be address to an appropriate professional to ensure that the situation has been evaluated carefully and appropriately. The Authors and Publisher specifically disclaim any liability loss, or risk which is incurred as a consequence directly or indirectly from the use and application of any contents of this work.)






Copyright2014©by Debra Hadsall

Even TV Characters Value Financial Management


The TV show is Nashville. The character is  the young, ambitious, super competitive and talented country music star Juliette Barnes.  Juliette is scrambling to figure out how to come up with  big bucks to pay a cheating, lying, and thieving former manager/boyfriend who is going to splash a sex tape of them all over the internet if she doesn’t pay up.  First he wanted only $2 million which she must have had in her emergency fund and that wasn’t a big problem.  Then he wanted an additional $8 million, bringing the price for keeping that tape private to $10 million.  I told you he was a lying and thieving kind of guy.    On top of that, voting for Country Music Awards is underway and for the first time Juliette has been nominated.  So, she does what everyone else does when looking for ways to pay.  She asks for advice.

Juliette’s personal assistant to Juliette. “ Your accountant said to come up with the $10 million in cash you would have to liquidate some of your securities;  several  stocks, bonds, and mutual funds.”

I just get excited with TV shows  which bring up anything which remotely encourages viewers to learn and understand financial management.  I am especially pleased at the mention of those words “securities, stocks, bonds, mutual funds”.  I have visions of thousands of young viewers googling these words to learn what Juliette has that they need to learn about and “buy”.  Awesome.

I am assuming that the accountant in this situation first talked to Juliette’s financial advisor(s) and collaborated with them on how to best offer Juliette a solution to her $8 million problem.  Accountants understand where the money came from, how to keep track of it, and all the tax implications.   They understand cash flow and lots of other important accounting things. Financial folks understand how to help clients create that pot of money, like the one Juliette is contemplating spending.

In the end Juliette became more attached to her integrity and her money than she was to her image.  The money story ends there, but it is a TV show and the issue of the blackmail gets resolved in a high drama way.

Until next time. 

Debra Hadsall


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Frittata and Finances for Women?

wall street

I remember sitting in the teeny kitchen that belonged to one of my friends who lives in Colorado.  Cooking is one of her passions.  She is also an experienced investor, learning early when she received a few shares of stock as a child.  I admire how she was investing before mutual funds gained popularity and made investing more common.  Her investment experiences over the years gave her confidence in her ability to invest and handle finances.  Still, she was struggling to see how to transfer that expertise and solicit investment clients.  We were both in the financial services industry.


As I sat in her kitchen, she decided at the last-minute to make a frittata for breakfast.  She is one-with-the- world when she cooks.  It is just easy for her. We talked while she pulled the ingredients out of the fridge and casually walked outside to her small patio garden to cut some fresh herbs while not missing a word of our conversation.  The result was a really delicious frittata.  It was like a  Food  Network moment. She was calm, confident, creative, efficient, and making the frittata was something she just enjoyed!

I mentioned to her that I admired how she pulled all those ingredients together and it appeared so effortless.  She looked at me and explained that she wanted to have that same feeling and experience when working with her clients.  I could envision her calmly, confidently, skillfully, and joyfully interacting with her clients just as she had done when making that frittata.

I like that visualization.  Is there something you do especially well?  Maybe it is cooking, perhaps it is organizing an event, or something more technical like showing folks how to use a smart phone or tablet.  Now compare how comfortable you feel about doing that one special thing compared to how you feel about navigating your financial life, especially investing. If the feeling about finances doesn’t match those for your special talent, you can change that!

My friend became a good cook and comfortable with making frittatas through preparation, passion, and practice.  You can do the same with your understanding of finances and management of your financial life.  Money is not all about numbers, it also about  practice, experience, commitment (passion) and feelings.

Until next time.

Debra J. Hadsall

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Saving and Investing, Part II


This is my $167 beer mug. I didn’t pay that amount to purchase it, but this is all remains from an investment two of my friends and I made during the mid-1990s. So, I think of it as an expensive piece of glassware. It also was part of a great learning experience and fun time we all had together.

Previously I wrote about how two of my women friends and I saved money each payday so we could take a trip or do something fun together, like going to a luxury spa. This was clearly saving, putting money in the credit union in a savings account. The money was not growing much, it was just accumulating. It wasn’t at risk of shrinking either. Plain old savings and it worked for us. Over time we spent most of it, but one time we had an extra $500 in the account and no plans for it. This time we were looking for something different to experience together and we opened our minds to a new opportunity.

Our adventure started with an ad in the Denver newspaper. A new brewing company was starting up and they were looking for investors from the general public. We read the information and became interested! Small brewers and brew pubs were becoming popular (and profitable) in several parts of the country, including Denver. The one we were familiar with was Wynkoop Brewing Company Brew Pub which is still operating today. It was created by some entrepreneurial folks who had the vision to see downtown Denver as it could be, a thriving social center. One of them was John Hiickenlooper who went on to be the mayor of Denver and is now the Governor of Colorado.

We also liked adult beverages. I was really the only beer drinker in our small group, but the others could definitely see how a specialty beer was a potentially profitable product. Most importantly, the initial investment was very small. We read all the paperwork, signed on the dotted line, submitted our $500 check and we were in. Yes, there may have been a little interest, and maybe even grumbling from our spouses, but it wasn’t money we needed for necessities or retirement. Our loss potential was only $500 and our lives would go on as before if we lost it all, so we weren’t worried. We were, however, optimistic that we would make a little money.

So we had done our due diligence. The company seemed legitimate and over time we could see it was a real business. The product was marketable, the business model had been tried, downtown Denver was growing rapidly, we could see other companies who had been successful with similar products, and the timing seemed good. We also were very clear about our goals for this investment. We accepted that it was a very risky investment. We agreed to accept the reality that we could lose the entire amount. There would be no blaming or “what ifs”. If we made money, fine. If not, we at least tried.

Things were pretty exciting. As the beer mug says, we were founders. We received updates on the progress of the business. We were invited to downtown Denver to the building where the business was located. We had lots of free and delicious food. Most importantly, we were provided lots of free beer to sample. This was better than going to a restaurant or a bar and we were treated like very important people. That $500 was beginning to look like a good deal. There was such fun, energy, and excitement all around us. There was another event which must have been the ribbon cutting. The press was there, founders were there, and the governor dropped by for the festivities. Things were looking good.

Then…silence. We didn’t hear much, but we didn’t worry. We were busy with our lives. We knew that businesses take time to grow and evolve. We figured it was normal to have a period of silence. In retrospect, it was not so normal for a growing business, normal for one which was struggling.

I don’t recall the details, but there were media reports that weren’t so great, and then probably some communication from the company where we learned the business was in trouble. Then the dreaded letter came which told investors (founders) that the company had folded. As I remember, it was about timing and market saturation. Seemed like a case of too many brewers all at once trying to do the same thing, and not enough customers to support them. Whatever the cause, our money was gone and so was the warm fuzzy feeling we had experienced. One of the spouses asked optimistically, “well, can you write it off on your taxes”?

We had our own view of the situation. Those folks who started the business and worked so hard had our sympathy. We were out $500, but they had lost much more.

Our Mile High Brewing Company experiences enriched our friendship, helped us to meet new people, taught us more about business and investing, brought us in touch with the re-development of downtown Denver, and gave us the chance to be called “Founder”. The best part of the whole process was that we had so much fun together. Each of us always felt that the money we spent gave us a huge return on investment, just not in the way we expected it. We were clear about our goals and accepted the risk so we had no bad feelings. We were fond of saying that we had gotten our money’s worth in food, beer, adventure, and new experiences. Mile High Brewing was a subject of many subsequent happy hour conversations.

Later on, when we accumulated a little money, we made another investment. This time it was in a large publicly traded company. The brokerage paperwork was incredible for a small investment by three individuals. We persisted. This time each of us held equal shares of the company in our individual names. This investment made money since the company had split shares and had performed well. We felt redeemed! I remember being grateful for those stock certificates because I sold the stock to pay some licensing fees for my business.

When Lee, Lea, and I started our savings program and ventured into investing (outside of retirement investing which we already had in place), we could never have truly envisioned the good times we would experience, or the closeness of our friendship. Sometimes “girls just want to have fun” and we did. It just took a little goal settling, planning, persistence, and a sense of adventure.


Saving, Investing, and Women Friends

This posting is too long and too much fun to shrink up to fit this page.  So please take the time and click here to learn more.  It is about saving, investing, girls night out, travel, friendships, persistence, and so much fun.  Enjoy!


What is Middle Class income/lifestyle these days?

I have been inspired by a sign in the wine section of the local HEB (a grocery store) and a beer mug from a brew pub two of my wonderful female friends and I invested in during the 1990s.  So I will be posting soon about saving, investing, and “girls nights out”.  Yes, they all tie together.

Until then, I wanted to share the link to an interesting article about the lifestyles of some folks who consider themselves middle class.  Do you see your story in this article?  Just click here.