Project '36 Logo 

Project ’36 was created in 2021 as the WIFS Presidents’ Council to leverage the experience and knowledge of WIFS past presidents and other interested members in recruiting the next generation of female insurance and financial services professionals.

In short, its focus is the attraction part of WIFS’ mission to attract, develop and advance women in the industry. The name Project ’36 refers to 2036, the year WIFS will celebrate its centennial.

The Council held two in-person working sessions in 2021, one in Phoenix, Arizona in June, and the second at WIFS’ National Conference in Indianapolis, Indiana in October. Both were facilitated by then-President Carrie Sayre and Past President Michelle Harm.

Project ’36 now operates under the umbrella of WIFS’ national Membership Committee. Its current work encompasses two pillars.

Pillar 1 focuses on young women – high school and college students and recent graduates – who are still deciding on a career path. This pillar works with Project Inspire, a curriculum created by Alanah Phillips, president of WIFS’ Northern California Chapter, to educate young people about the insurance/financial services industry as a career and teach basic financial literacy and job search skills. The Pillar Champions heading up this effort are Alanah, Carrie and Alexandra (Allie) Stea.

Project Inspire comprises four modules: financial foundations (saving, budgeting, credit, investing, etc.), how to get hired (resumes, dress, interviewing), intentional goal-setting, and careers in financial services.

Members of the Pillar 1 Work Group as of July 2022 are Christy Aleckson, Karry Ballinger, Lisa Boyer, Avigail Curry, Lori Dugger, Morgan Fimpel, Diane Finnestead, Lana Mangold, JoAnna Pallardy, Amy Schaub and Pam Scheppele.

Pillar 2 focuses on career changers – stay-at-home moms returning to the workforce, and women who are currently employed but looking to enter a new field. The latter group in particular is exploding since COVID-19 has led to massive burnout among teachers and those working in health care. The Pillar Champions for this are Toni Sova-Corfee and Jennifer Warfield.

Pillar 2 has created a survey that asks career changers why they transitioned, why they chose the financial field, what they think about it now that they’re in it, and what surprised them about it.

The objectives of this intelligence-gathering effort are twofold, Toni says. One is to learn what women who have transitioned into the profession have in common with one another.

The other objective is to use the information to align Project '36 with centers of influence and other organizations that have a relationship with this population.

These include employment agencies, where women considering a new career may start their journey, and organizations where mothers volunteer, such as PTAs, Scouts and youth sports leagues.

Members of the Pillar 2 Work Group as of July 2022 are Jennifer Bacarella, Carolyn Choh, Kelly Decker, Cindy Duick, Darlene Hanes, Richelle Hopkins, Lisa Jones, Marc Kiner, Ann Koplin, Sue Kuraja, Mary McDirmid, Melina Morrison, Brittany Russo, Pamela Sams and Dawn Wolfgram.

Are you interested in becoming involved in this great work? Fill out this short form to let us know.

A call for new Project ’36 volunteers will go out in advance of the National Conference in September, with clearly defined goals and expectations for active service. Orientation and project pairing will take place at Conference. Members will be asked to serve for three years.