To mark International Women’s Day 2018, OPEN Finance is excited to announce the formation of its newest committee, OPEN Finance Women+.
OPEN Finance Women+ will lead initiatives focused on driving increased representation of lesbian, bi, and trans* women across the finance industry.
The new initiative will be led by co-chairs Carolina Silva and Jordan Silverman (pictured below). Read our interview below to learn more about OPEN Finance Women+, and how you can get involved and support the team.
Tell us some more about OPEN Finance Women+ and its purpose.
Carolina: OPEN Finance has had a nascent focus on women-focused events for the past few years. What we’re seeking to do with OPEN Finance Women+ is to formalize that effort to create a strong community of women-identified individuals in finance, drive engagement across the broader OPEN Finance organization, and increase representation of diverse people in all aspects of finance and LGBT+ spaces.
Jordan: Carolina and I have laid out a plan for the year ahead with goals focused on three pillars. The first is community: we will be hosting events targeted towards women and other individuals (with a focus on those who are not cisgendered men!) in order to create a community and foster a sense of inclusion. Second, engagement. We will be working with a team of lesbian, bi and trans* women who have already volunteered to help drive the participation of diverse individuals in existing OPEN Finance events and initiatives. Our third pillar is representation, because we want to ensure that diverse voices are present in everything that OPEN Finance does; by doing that we hope that we’ll foster an inclusive space for the full spectrum of LGBT+ individuals.
What are the ultimate goals of OPEN Finance Women+? What does success look like for you?
Carolina: Our goals align with the three pillars. By creating a community for LBT+ women in finance, we want more women to know about OPEN Finance. That’s why we will be hosting intimate events where everyone can meet one another and create valuable connections. We also will be driving more engagement of women at OPEN Finance events, from monthly networking to volunteering in the community. This means encouraging more women to join us, but also promoting an environment where there’s more networking across the full spectrum of LGBT+ individuals. Finally, we’ll be looking for more lesbian, bi and trans* women to volunteer for OPEN Finance by joining the leadership team, the planning committees and becoming member firm reps. We know that will have a direct positive impact.
Jordan: For our first year, success for me is having everyone involved in OPEN Finance know that OPEN Finance Women+ is here, ready to contribute meaningfully to the organization’s goals, and ready to grow. We want the percentage of women in the room – no matter the event – to double.
What is your background/work experience and why did you step up to lead OPEN Finance Women+?
Jordan: I currently work at RBC Capital Markets and have been working in finance for several years. I have always been very involved with LGBT+ initiatives on a firm level. However, the lack of representation of other women elsewhere in the industry kept me from becoming more active in bigger organizations. I’m excited to help spearhead OPEN Finance Women+ to ensure that there are diverse voices at the table of such an important organization.
Carolina: I am a financial advisor for Merrill Lynch where I help my individual clients manage their personal wealth and investments. Not only is financial services a male-dominated industry, but there are even fewer Latinos, let alone members of the LGBT+ community. This reality has inspired me to become a leader in my community – I currently serve on my alma mater’s alumni board where I launched a women’s professional network; I am on the alliances committee of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)’s NYC chapter, helping the organization establish partnerships with organizations like the NGLCC; and I use my current role as a financial advisor to empower my community financially. Similar to my other experiences, I decided to get involved with OPEN Finance Women+ to help strengthen our community.
Why is it important for women to be involved in LGBT+ initiatives?
Carolina: For the same reason anyone should be involved in LGBT+ initiatives – to give a voice to our community. There is strength in numbers. The more women that become involved, the more power and influence we have to make the changes we would like to see within our firms and across the industry.
What’s next? What do you have planned for 2018?
Jordan: In 2018, we’re looking to host at least one successful women-target event each quarter. We’re also going to make sure that there are more women feeling comfortable and excited to attend OPEN Finance events, and there is diverse representation on each planning committee.
How can people get involved?
Carolina: If you’re interested in finding out more about the women-focused events, make sure you’re subscribed to the OPEN Finance Women+ mailing list. You can also look for Jordan and me at the upcoming OPEN Finance events — we’re generally somewhere near the entrance. And, if you’re interested in making contact direct with us, simply contact us here!