“Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you; spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.” — Amy Poehler

As we concluded our 2022 “Rise Up! Be the Change” Conference in Phoenix I could not think of a more appropriate sentiment than the above words from Amy Poehler to describe how I feel about this amazing group of people who make up the Women in Insurance & Financial Services community. Our three days together were packed full of powerful, impactful takeaways from our inspiring and engaging speakers and panels, as well as opportunities to network, celebrate and recharge.

I’d also like to point out the quote in its bigger context with two sentences that lead into it: “As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own.”

The collaboration and sharing of ideas during those three days were game-changing. As we entered the final morning, I overheard one of our very accomplished longtime members say one of the most powerful takeaways from these gatherings is when you realize that if you listen and engage, “the answer is always in the room.”

As a community of #womenwholead and # menwhochampionwomen in our profession, we are poised to make meaningful change and intentional impact in our mission to attract, develop, and advance women in insurance and financial services.

I encourage each of you to think how you personally can continue to make an impact via collaboration.

Our local Chapters provide opportunities to connect and collaborate all year round. As we emerge from the pandemic, Chapters are offering more in-person programming, both educational and social. If you are fortunate enough to have a Chapter in your area, I encourage you to get involved and invite the financial services professionals in your community to experience all WIFS has to offer. If you do not have a local Chapter, why not create one? Reach out to the National staff for help.

Our Project ’36 initiative is another collaborative opportunity. Its mission is reaching out to students, recent graduates, stay-at-home moms and women seeking to change careers, and encouraging them to pursue a career in insurance and financial services. Please visit our Project ’36 page to learn more and consider becoming part of this important effort. You will change lives!

Finally, I cannot say enough good things about WIFS’ Mentorship Program, where seasoned professionals partner with those new to the industry to share their knowledge and experience. No matter which category you fall into, I encourage you to take advantage of this valuable member benefit.

It’s my honor to serve the Women in Insurance & Financial Services community and to collaborate with my colleagues on the National Board to grow this great association and further its mission to attract, develop and advance women in our industry. Thank you for the opportunity, and please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at any time.

Very truly yours,
Toni Gonzales
WIFS 2023 National President