Have you ever wondered what happens when a company begins to invest its resources in the women in its community? Well, exactly one year ago, Burgundy did just that. We decided that we were going to invest our time, energy, money and talent in women – and with a year under our belt, let me share some observations.
To start, it becomes quite natural for our women clients and the women professionals at Burgundy to meet regularly for lunch sessions in our boardroom.
Together we read books by some of the greatest minds in the field of investing, books like the Essays of Warren Buffett and John Kenneth Galbraith’s The History of Financial Euphoria. We learn about the Dutch Tulipomania bubble – that time in the early 1600s when the price of a tulip bulb soared to levels as high as 10 times the annual wage of a craftsman, and then abruptly crashed – and we remember that even today we must guard against our basic human tendencies to speculate.
We think about equities and bonds as tools to help us reach our financial goals, and we deconstruct our investment portfolios to understand exactly how our mix of equities and bonds will help us achieve those goals.
We attend investment review meetings with our partners and we ask questions – really good questions! It is important to us that we self-sustain should we ever find ourselves alone.
And just last week we emailed each other about the federal budget decision to raise the TFSA contribution limit to $10,000. We know that a few extra dollars sheltered from taxes will likely have a meaningful impact on our long-term investment returns!
Here is what also happens:
Husbands encourage their spouses to get involved in Women of Burgundy. Fathers can’t wait for their daughters to join. Mothers bring their daughters; daughters bring their mothers. Friends are invited to join for lunch, and they stay for the conversation.
Our Burgundy colleagues drop by to ask what we are doing – the men pass along the latest research on women and financial literacy, the women stop me in the halls and ask, “how can we help?”
Community organizations like Girls E-Mentorship invite us to teach 30 young at-risk girls the basics of finance and investing. And Women of Influence magazine publishes an article about us.
If you ask me today what happens when a company invests its resources in the women in its community, I say with absolute conviction and from my experience that the lives of our women clients and their families are changed for the better, and I know that this change will transcend generations.
And I also say that businesses are transformed for the better, because although we have made tremendous progress over the past year, our work is just beginning and there is so much more we can do as a business to have a greater impact.
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