Category Archives for Elevate Her SWFL

3 Reasons Why Helping Others Can Help Your Career

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Words of wisdom from our Board Chair, Nancy Merolla

There is no doubt that volunteering is good for the spirit. However, it can also be good for your career. We talked to our Board Chair, Nancy Merolla to see how getting involved in your community can positively impact your professional life. Check out our top 3 ways in which helping others can help you!

1.Grow Your Network

“Being on the Board has given me a chance to get to know many passionate and committed women who are truly a force of influence and a powerful energy moving together to address the issues of women and girls in SWFL.” – Nancy Merolla, Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida Board Chair

Participating on a non-profit board is an excellent opportunity to expand your network. It enables you to gain unique access to business leaders in your area and allows you to demonstrate professional value through your participation and interactions in board meetings. This may result in new business leads or networking opportunities that could help advance your current career.
By engaging and joining forces with others in the community, Nancy now has a group of women she calls fellow members, colleagues, and more importantly friends. Such connections are priceless

2.Develop Leadership Skills

Having a title does not naturally make you a leader. Good leaders learn from others and share their wisdom to help peers advance their skills. Whatever your career, you likely have valuable knowledge that you could pass onto others to make an impact in their lives. As you share knowledge, you become aware of the challenges facing your community and can use your voice, experience, and skill-set to lead and advocate for change.

3. Increase Your Business Knowledge

Board service can provide you with invaluable opportunities for professional development and experiences you might not have at your current job. As a board member, you could be asked to speak for the organization you represent in events, as well as in the media. These opportunities enable you to build your confidence with public speaking and with making public appearances. Most boards are interdisciplinary, which creates an opportunity for you to learn from fellow board members who are often experts in fields that may differ from your own. A few of the expertise commonly found in non-profit boards include accounting, strategic planning, communications, marketing and business law.

Just Remember….

If you are looking to join a board or get involved in a philanthropic process, Nancy’s advice is to join for the mission. Find an organization to serve that you are genuinely passionate about.
Joining a Board should not always be a business-driven decision, but should be a decision that you can personally and professionally make the commitment through time and effort.
It is not always about personal giving if you are not financially able – but also about the connection and doors you can open.

Nancy says that being a board member is much more than just an opportunity to socialize for an hour or two per month. She recommends that you share your expertise and lead by example and learn as much as possible about the agency to help attain its mission.

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Nancy Merolla has been serving her community for nearly 30 years. She is a founding board member of the Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida and the current Board Chair. You can learn more about Nancy HERE

nancy-merolla

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#WhatIReallyReallyWant

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Yo, I’ll tell you what I want, what I really, really want
So tell me what you want, what you really, really want  ♫

The internet is going crazy with this video created by the Global Goals for Sustainable Development designed to push for change towards the most common inequalities encountered by women and girls. We’re channeling our inner 90’s teen and dancing to our favorite Spice Girls songs to join the cause. We share the same goals of creating:

  • Quality Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Industry Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Reduced Inequalities

    Watch the video & see why you should be joining the #WhatIReallyWant movement too! 

What do you want for SWFL girls and women? Share your photo with a sign or tell us on social media using the hashtags #WhatIreallyWant #FundWomenFL

Need some inspiration? Visit the http://www.globalgoals.org/ to see how others are advocating for change!

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Most Memorable Moments and Quotes From the United States of Women Summit

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2016 United States of Women Summit RecapIf you’re following us on social media, you probably heard us talk about the United States of Women, a summit held on June 15th, and convened by the White to address key gender equality issues. The event was both a celebration, as well as a real reminder that there is still a lot of work left to ensure gender parity for women. Six pillars or topics were addressed during the summit. These were:

  1. Economic empowerment
  2. Health and wellness
  3. Educational opportunity
  4. Violence against women
  5. Entrepreneurship and innovation
  6. Leadership and civic engagement

We watched the summit live to bring you some of the most memorable moments and quotes below

We absolutely loved seeing Mikaila Ulmer, Founder and CEO of Me & the Bees Lemonade introducing president Obama. She remained completely calm while addressing the crowd, saying that introducing the president in front of an audience of 5,000 attendees was “no big deal” since she had addressed a crowd of over 11,000 the week before. Did we mention Mikaila is only eleven? Her confidence and poise is something most adults wish they could have! Mikaila gave some advice for hopeful entrepreneurs and her message was loud and clear. See what she had to say below

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“We can’t just pass laws, we must change our culture”

This was the key takeaway from Vice President’s Joe Biden’s speech. He spoke with passion about his decades of commitment to the Violence Against Women Act, about rape culture, sexual assault in American institutions, and the need to fight against the norms that turn a blind eye to the abuse, and degradation of women.

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The conversation between Oprah Winfrey and First Lady Michelle Obama as definitely a crowd favorite.
They talked about the importance of knowing yourself, having self-worth, and understanding your value.

“Our first job in life as women is to get to know ourselves,”. “It takes taking the time to know who you are to be able to deal with the onslaught of negative messages you’re bound to get.”

Said the First Lady, who followed with advice on how to get what your worth at work by never settling, and stating your needs and expectations clearly. She also had some words for the audience about selecting friends and company wisely:

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Interested in learning more about the summit? See a full recap of the event HERE and join the #stateofwomen and be a part of the movement. Use the pledge generator HERE to declare how you’ll help change tomorrow, today.

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Research Reveals Women Could Loose Best Career Opportunities in the Near Future

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job loses
A report by the World Economic Forum on “The Industry Gender Gap: Women & Work in the Fourth Industrial Revolution” suggests that industry changes in the next four years are likely to amplify current gender gaps. The disruptive findings show that as new labor trends materialize, and more jobs become automated, women are more likely to be displaced out of their current positions and could be left out of some of the best career opportunities in the future.

The World Economic Forum estimates a loss of 7.1 million jobs, with two thirds of those jobs concentrated on routine office functions like office and administrative roles. However, it is not all bad news, 2 million jobs are expected to be created in STEM related fields during that same time period.

What Does this Mean for Men and Women?

Men will face nearly 4 million job losses and 1.4 million gains, with one new job created for every three jobs lost, whereas women will face 3 million job losses and only 0.55 million gains.That equals to more than five jobs lost for every job gained.

So What Can We Do to Help?

First, we must continue to foster education, and workforce integration initiatives for women in the STEM field. At the Women’s Foundation of SWFL we are aiming to bridge the gap by fostering and enabling continued education for Southwest Florida women through programs like Save for College and Elevate her. It is clear that change is needed…

“If existing industry gender gap trends continue, and employment market transformation towards new and emerging roles in computer, technology and engineering-related fields continues to outpace the rate at which women are currently entering those types of jobs, women are at risk of losing out on tomorrow’s best job opportunities” – World Economic Forum

What do you think about these findings? Should we be doing more as a community to encourage women to join careers in these fields?
Let us know what you think below…

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Building Movements

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building movements (2)

 Southwest Florida community members and leaders are on a mission to empower local women and girls by supporting human trafficking prevention, fostering female entrepreneurship and working towards gender parity.  We’ve dedicated our work to building movements and taking action. Here’s how we’re working towards our objectives:

  1. Human Trafficking Awareness and Prevention – American Clothing Brand, EILEEN FISHER awarded the Women’s Foundation a $2,000 grant to build a website to serve the Southwest Florida Human Trafficking Task Force headed by U.S. Attorney and State Attorney for 20th Circuit. This site will provide resources to law enforcement, case managers, and victims of human trafficking in our area, along with keeping the public informed. In addition, the Women’s Giving Circle of Southwest Florida, a find of Collier County Community Foundation has awarded a $5,000 grant to support this initiative.
  1. Entrepreneurship – The fastest way to change society is to mobilize and empower individuals to take ownership of their finances. Helping women create, and grow their business is a way to do just that. The logo-beta-27dc7e5530ca2e00c5e9c43e040bc2b3Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida Kiva Zip program provides female entrepreneurs with interest-free loans to advance and develop their business. Comerica Bank believes in the importance of this cause and has supported it by providing $5,000 to match Kiva Zip Micro Loans. Bank United has also contributed $2,000 towards the program, with Florida Community Bank providing $10,000 in matching loan funds.
  • Gender Parity and Empowerment – In January, community leaders, entrepreneurs, and organizations united to host the launch of Elevate Her SWFL (Formerly known as Spark SWFL). An initiative aimed at offering professionals a platform to research, identify, and select grantee partners and to develop philanthropic leadership skills. Over one hundred business leaders and community influencers joined the initiative as founders and committed their funds and time to advocate and drive change in critical issues and areas impacting local women and girls. Girl_Scouts_02Southwest Florida nonprofits and businesses also backed the inauguration by providing grants to kick-start the initiative and to support two initial non-profit honorees (The Pace Center for Girls and Girl Scouts of Gulf Coast Florida) who received grants during the inauguration.United Way of Collier County awarded $10,000 to support the initiative; proving that non-profit organizations can work together to achieve common goals. Comerica Bank and Naples United Church of Christ contributed with over $5,000. Florida Community Bank, and Hodges University also sponsored the initiative with $2,500 in contributions each, and the Naples United Church of Christ Women’s Fellowship recently adding $1,000 towards Elevate Her SWFL, along with a recent Dillard’s store event grant from EILEEN FISHER, Inc. In the amount of $2,134
You can also be a part of this movement! Are you interested in starting a business or supporting SWFL women entrepreneurs? Click HERE . Want to learn more about Elevate Her and become a community influencer? Click HERE. Have questions? You can always reach us  HERE
Did you know women are still underrepresented in STEM Fields? Learn more about the history of women and computers HERE 
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