“Women’s Work”: What it Looks Like in 2016
In the mid-1900’s, the work of many American women began in the house. They were expected to perform household tasks such as sewing, cooking, cleaning and child-rearing – all while maintaining a certain appearance and manner. This kind of work was exclusively deemed as “women’s work”.
As part of City Financial Corporation’s Inclusion & Diversity Committee and Women’s History Month, we wanted to take a look at what women’s work looks like today and within our subsidiaries. So, we asked leaders and emerging leaders in the company and serving communities to answer some general questions surrounding the work that they do and how they came to be the professionals they are. Below are three perspective profiles from responding contributors.
City Securities Corporation: EVP, Fixed Income Capital Markets
SIFMA Municipal Executive Committee: Vice Chair
Bond Dealers of America (BDA): Board of Directors
National Pass the Torch For Women Foundation: Chair
Indiana Public School Superintendents Association: Executive Committee Member
Central Indiana Women’s Fund: Member
Alpha Xi Delta: Indianapolis and Chicago Northwest Alumnae
Linda Matkowski has been in the financial services industry for 30 years. While she wanted to be a teacher growing up, Linda’s professional path took her in different direction. Today, Linda leads City Securities Corporation’s Fixed Income Capital Markets and Public Finance groups.
“I enjoy knowing that the time I spend doing my job well means that someone has the ability to build a new building or balance their budget – that I have the ability to help someone make their dreams and goals come true,” said Linda. She added, “[I find fulfillment in my job] knowing that we can make a difference in how people view those of us in the financial services industry. We can create and deliver a culture of trust and integrity. It takes a lot of work but it’s worth it. When we have clients who want to do business with us because they like ‘how we operate,’ it’s a reflection on all the right things we do.”
However, these professional rewards do come at a cost. Linda’s work does not stop after the hours of 8 to 5; she is also the mother of three daughters. In trying to “differentiate from male peers” while being “able to raise children and have a successful career,” Linda has had to persevere past those obstacles.
“Not quitting when things got tough. Being able to network and find individuals who could provide me with advice or help. Understanding that there are only 24 hours in a day and I need to really manage my time and priorities.”
Linda has been able to pull some advice and foresight from her own mother, who taught her that she “can survive anything that is thrown at me.” Additionally, Linda relies on the advice of other professional women such as Pat Roe, Senior Program Director at USA Funds.
“Pat is an incredibly warm and caring person. She works hard to deliver grant and funding opportunities to educational organizations that serve young adults in low income/high mobility situations. She is always positive, despite having lost her husband to cancer and having to re-orient her career when her former employer went out of business. She is gracious enough to make me feel welcome and comfortable in several of the minority communities in Indianapolis.”
While Linda continues to fight common obstacles that professional mothers face, she also works to shine a light on the “differences in income between men and women who are doing the same job or have the same position.”
“I have worked with fabulous women who just need to be given a platform for their voice. I am proud that City Securities has allowed me the opportunity to support these women. Indianapolis has such a dynamic group of women leaders and it’s been a privilege getting to know them. I look forward to continuing the dialogue on how we can do a better job of supporting all our co-workers as they develop their careers.”
City Securities Corporation: Financial Advisor
Valparaiso Lions Club: President
Finance Committee: Chair
Valparaiso First United Methodist Church: Member
Elisha Porterfield has been in the industry for 13 years, having started her work at Scottrade on the day the United States invaded Baghdad back in 2003. Elisha describes her first day as, “one of those days that’s hard to forget. I remember watching the invasion on CNBC while stuffing envelopes.”
As a young adult, Elisha knew she wanted to be in business. Before entering college, Elisha was job shadowing and interning to get a better feel for what area in business she wanted to pursue.
“One [of my] internships was with Randy Minas and Shawn Sabau while they were still at Merrill Lynch. One day, Randy taught me about the Bid/Ask Size; I caught the bug and haven’t looked back since.” Today, Elisha works with Randy Minas and Shawn Sabau as part of the Minas Sabau Porterfield Group.
Following her internship with Randy and Shawn, Elisha was convinced of a future in financial services. “As much as I’d like to say that I decided on this profession, I feel like this profession kind of decided on me. At first, I felt like it ‘clicked’ with me – the fundamentals were so interesting.”
After interning in the industry while earning her undergraduate degree from Butler University, getting licensed and starting her career at Scottrade headquarters in St. Louis, she started to quickly move along in her profession.
“It seems like one day I was being interviewed by Rodger Riney (Founder of Scottrade), and the next I was having coffee with Randy and Shawn. This is such a challenging profession and I feel like you can set out to be in this profession but if you’re not the right fit, it will spit you out in a heartbeat.”
While Randy and Shawn continue to influence Elisha’s career, she also admires Linda Duessel, an analyst at Federated who has earned her Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA), Certified Public Accountant (CPA) and Certified Financial Planner® (CFP).
“She writes a weekly update on the market which I always enjoy reading. She’s really intelligent and has made quite a name for herself within our industry. She’s also a really talented public speaker.”
Shortly after joining Randy and Shawn at City Securities, Elisha was determined to obtain the CFP® herself. She considers earning the CFP® designation as the most influential milestone for her, particularly given the constant changes that the financial industry is going through.
“The CFP® designation is truly something I can rely on to set myself apart. I can actually protect my clients instead of just being their investment advisor. There is so much competition if you are an investment advisor – and anyone who has traded on their own over the last six years feels as though they can manage things on their own. The CFP® really helps to set you apart – and it is a very humbling process because the material shows you how much you do not know about what you thought you knew. It seems like investment advising is only about 30% of what our team does, since Randy & Shawn are also CFP®s…and the value that we can add because of that is priceless.”
The CFP® designation has brought new confidence to Elisha and to the services she can provide to clients – and having that kind of confidence can sometimes be hard to come by. Starting out as a Registered Financial Associate, Elisha faced some challenges in taking her career to the next step.
“Obstacles [I faced] were gaining confidence in myself that I would be a good Financial Advisor and then having enough guts to take the leap to be one – I am over the moon grateful to City and my team for both letting and helping me to take that leap.”
As a female set out for business from the beginning and who was quickly hooked on financial services, Elisha continues to gather new ground in her professional journey.
“So far, it [this profession] seems to want to keep me and I don’t ever take that for granted. I feel really lucky to have found this profession and truly think that this is what I was put on this earth to do. I absolutely love it – my team and my clients and the whole City family – and I look forward to coming to the office every day. You have to have a lot of grit and endurance and a very positive mindset – and you have to have a team around you that will get you back on track if you lose your way. I feel as though I work with the best team in the world.”
City Securities Corporation: Associate Financial Advisor
Young Professionals for the Cure (Susan G. Komen Indianapolis): Executive Committee Member
Sarah Kloppenburg started at City Securities in 2014 as a Registered Financial Associate after having worked for a large brokerage firm where she specialized in equity trading and client service.
“My dad has been a financial advisor for 15+ years. So, when I needed to find a job in Indianapolis and a national brokerage firm was hiring entry level employees, I felt comfortable with the industry.”
While her father’s experience in the industry brought familiarity to the financial services, her step-mother played an impactful role in influencing her outlook of women in the workplace who also juggle priorities at home.
“My stepmom is incredibly inspiring. She raised me and my siblings from a young age, worked as a major executive at a publicly traded company and never once made us feel like we were missing out on having a full-time mom. Looking back now, I’m not sure that there are many women who could have done that as strongly and gracefully as she did.”
Joining City Securities as part of Strouse Keller Income Advisors, Sarah fell under the guidance of another mother and professional – Financial Advisor, Paula Strouse. Paula was a 20+ year veteran in the industry and quickly took Sarah under her wing.
In mid-2015, Paula received the news that she had a brain tumor and Strouse Keller Income Advisors joined the efforts of Tanner Wealth Management in her absence. After a four month battle, she passed on December 5th.
“I miss Paula Strouse every day,” said Sarah. “She was an amazing friend and mentor. She never missed an opportunity to make someone feel better about themselves and so many people relied on her as a sounding board. She was humble and kind and the type of person that made life more fun.”
Mourning the loss of a mentor and friend, Sarah was also transitioning into her new team and new role as Associate Financial Advisor. But, as a young woman in a male-dominated industry, she was used to the obstacles that were already placed in front of her.
“Women can be smart and confident without being intimidating,” said Sarah who recognizes the common stigma associated with female professionals. “I think this is a major issue for women in the financial services industry, especially. For some reason, it is easier for people to label a powerful woman as ‘pushy’ or ‘rude’ than do the same to a man in a similar situation.”
Identifying this issue, Sarah wishes that she could shine a light on and disassociate strong, female professionals as being aggressive or impolite when they are operating equal to their male peers.
“I wish I had thicker skin to not let things bother me, but I am human,” said Sarah. “Hopefully, with time, we will learn to treat each other with understanding, recognizing our similarities instead of pointing out our differences.”
These three women are just a few samples of how women have come a long way in redefining the work that they are capable of performing. Today, “women’s work” goes far beyond the home. It’s in our local businesses. It’s in our corporate offices – and even corner offices. It’s answering phones, and picking up the phone to reach out to a client. It’s serving others, beyond their families. It’s ironing out problems and cooking up strategies. It’s women with diverse educational backgrounds who work in a variety of industries, at different professional levels, while balancing their lives at home and in the community.