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Why Conference? A letter from a past WIFS NEFL attendee

Dear WIFS NEFL Members and Friends,

For those of you who may not have received our WIFS Conference mailer yet, I wanted you to be aware that this year WIFS’ Conference will be practically in our backyard; it will be held October 22-25, 2014 at the beautiful Buena Vista Palace Hotel & Spa in Orlando — right next to downtown Disney!

This year’s theme “Imagine the Future” will include educational sessions and workshops, a night of celebration for our accomplished colleagues and the opportunity to network with the top professionals in our industry.  In terms of attendees, you’ll meet banking and insurance professionals, investment advisors, accountants, attorneys and service providers; a vibrant community of women ready and eager to talk about the challenges they’ve faced, the successes they’ve had, the resources they use, and the support they’ve found in their quest to be the best within the financial services industry.

In fact, it was my great honor to be asked to share my background in financial services and my experience at our 2013 conference during last week’s WIFS Leadership Webinar.  If you are a member of WIFS, you can listen to this recorded session on-line and hear from 7 prior conference attendees (including Tara Showalter our Chapter President who facilitated the conversation) how meaningful the conference was to each of us.  However, for those of you who are not members and thus do not have access to WIFS webinars, I thought I’d share excerpts of what I said below:

A BIT ABOUT MY BACKGROUND:

I have 30 years of experience in the financial services industry.  I have led many departments including Sales, Marketing, Client Management, Operations and Product Management and have been accountable for maximizing business, product and client P&Ls.

My focus has been Investor Services including trust, custody and asset servicing with a concentration on retirement, health and welfare plan administration outsourcing as well as ERISA compliance.  I have serviced a broad range of clients including Corporations, Public and Eleemosynary Funds, Taft Hartley Plans, Asset Managers, Banks, Insurance Companies, Registered Investment Advisers and Financial Consultants.

The companies I have worked for include: Citibank, Fidelity Investments, Deustche Bank, Victory Capital Management/KeyCorp, CitiStreet LLC/ING, and JP Morgan’s Retirement Plan Services Division.  In addition, I have held several non-profit board positions. When I lived in Ohio, these included the Northeast Ohio Chapters of Dress for Success, a non-profit assisting low-income women in job readiness and self-sustainment and Interfaith Hospitality Networks an organization that helps homeless/low-income families achieve lasting independence. Now, I am the President Elect of the Northeast FL Chapter of WIFS.  In addition, I also volunteer on the Marketing Committee of Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry, a 501c3 that helps families in the beaches communities of Jacksonville through financial hardships and helps them get to self–sufficiency.

WHY I GOT INVOLVED WITH WIFS AND WHAT HAS BEEN ITS VALUE TO ME?

I joined the Northeast FL chapter of WIFS in 2013 because I was a job seeker and, after having been away for several years, wanted to re-establish a network here.   Indeed, I have been able to grow my connections, develop several new and dear friendships and keep my skills sharp; in part because of the programs and support that is the benefits of WIFS membership.

WHY SHOULD YOU GO TO CONFERENCE?

Well, it is the same reason that women in the financial services sector should join WIFS.

  • It’s about the educational opportunities that are provided – which of course help you stay fresh and grow your knowledge base.
  • It’s the inspiration you get when talking to other women who are dealing with complex and challenging issues and sharing how they accomplish all they set out to do.
  • It’s the support and camaraderie that permeates the organization.
  • It’s the connections that are so critical to long term success.
  • It’s the brainstorming and ideation that is shared amongst the group.
  • It’s the opportunities to build and grow mentor/mentee relationships.

The Conference is also a great opportunity to connect with women from across the country and establish a robust pipeline filled with referral talent and expertise. Further, it is great venue for celebrating other women’s successes:

  • I was very proud that one of our board members was recognized at the WIFS Circle of Excellence award in 2013, and
  • our Chapter was nominated for Chapter of the Year.

In addition, the sessions were both inspirational and informative.  On a personal level, one really resonatedTitled: Unmeasured Strength: Making Every Day Count, it was a general session at which  Lauren Manning a  former executive and Managing Director at Cantor Fitzgerald, a 9/11 Survivor and the Author of the book Unmeasured Strength spoke.  It struck home in so many ways most profoundly because I am a native New Yorker and worked across the street from the Twin Towers.  Further, , had I not accepted a job at Victory Capital Mgmt. in Ohio, I would most likely not be here with you today; I would have been one of those commuters coming up the subway when Tower One was crumbling down.  Indeed, Lauren’s ability to convey her lessons in the power of hope and strength has helped me push forward even when I am at my most tired and disheartened.

I also enjoyed the session: Pull Yourself Together  by Carmen Westbrook, an Image Consultant.  It was not only fun and interactive but it also provided important “dress for success” advice. Carmen showed us how to create a pulled together look and provided useful tips on how to use what’s in your wardrobe already.  In addition, she helped us understand fit and proportion and the best way to dress for different body types.

I am a strong advocate for WIFS; through its programs including its conference, WIFS offers the support, resources, encouragement, and celebration that makes each of us better, every day.  We invite and encourage you to attend this year’s conference.  To add even a bit of “Pixie Dust” to this opportunity — after all our opening session will be facilitated by the Disney institute —  everyone who registers on or before July 15 will receive a $200 discount on attendance and $25 Disney gift card upon arrival.  Of course, should you have any additional questions regarding the conference — or WIFS in general — please don’t hesitate to contact me or any of the other WIFS of Northeast FL Board Members.

Sincerely yours,

Christina Loddo Epstein
President Elect – WIFS of NEFL
loddoepstein@gmail.com
WWW.LINKEDIN.COM/IN/CHRISTINAEPSTEIN
M: 904-635-4265

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