The Wedbush Organization of Women was proud to host a celebration of International Women’s Day which featured impactful speakers and networking opportunities. Throughout the event, women were encouraged to form support networks and make themselves heard in the workplace.
Kirsten Fraunces, EVP and Head of Capital Markets, kicked off the event by outlining the commitment Wedbush has made to supporting the ambitions of women colleagues.
When she originally volunteered to facilitate the Wedbush Organization of Women she thought the solution to a more inclusive and diverse workplace came from recruiting efforts. As she worked with women at the firm, she realized the key to improving equality in the workplace is creating avenues for women to succeed, feel valued, and understand the opportunities they have to advance their careers.
She left the audience with some simple statements that outline mischaracterizations of women in the workplace and how to respond.
- To the women who are aggressive: keep being assertive
- To the women who are difficult: keep telling the truth
- To the women who are too much: keep taking up space
- To the women who are awkward: keep asking hard questions
The next speaker was Petra Griffith, Managing Director for the recently created Wedbush Ventures. Griffith is responsible for building a venture fund focused on start-up businesses in her new role.
She outlined her path to a career in venture capital, and credited male mentors who supported her and provided leadership opportunities. Her first job was as a product analyst at Time Inc., and she would eventually move on to Yahoo where she rolled out a domain monetization project. She also spent time at Netflix working in new product strategy, and worked at Grandpoint Bank exploring investment opportunities for start-up companies.
Throughout her journey, she mentioned having a strong support network was crucial to her success. At times, she struggled to find the courage when reaching out to women leaders in her previous roles. Once she made connections, she found that most women were open to providing advice and career insights.
She encouraged the attendees to build and rely on strong support networks, and left the audience with two thoughts to live by: Be yourself, and don’t be afraid to speak up.
Following Griffith, EVP and Chief Information Officer, Danny Nadalalicea discussed his approach to creating an inclusive workplace and providing opportunities for women in technology.
In his division, he has created a safe space where men and women can freely share ideas. He mentioned when he posts a job listing almost 99% of the application are from men. By creating a safe space for colleagues, he hopes this will give women interested in technology the chance to have their voices heard.
The final speaker, Geoff Bland, Chief Investment Officer of Wedbush Capital, spoke from his perspective as a father. He shared a story about a conversation with his daughters over dinner on International Women’s Day. While sharing the skewed statistics about women leaders and fair pay in the workplace, he reminded his two daughters to be assertive and push the envelop on what they believe they can achieve.
He discussed how his first boss was a strong woman leader, and how the first investor who believed in a company he started was a woman. His message was that women should be proud of who they are.
Overall, the firm is dedicated to supporting women and understanding their needs. The Wedbush Organization of Women will continue to provide needed networking opportunities for colleagues.
For those women who are interested in our wide variety of career opportunities, consider making Wedbush the next step in your career. See our current openings.