When the Women of Burgundy initiative was launched in the spring of 2014, our mission was clear: to inspire women to make investing a priority. We theorized that by hosting a series of events – keynote speaker events, book club sessions and educational seminars – we would engage the women in our community around matters of investing. We also believed the impact would extend beyond our women clients to their partners, children, family and friends.
A year and a half later, we are at a point where we are able to share some metrics that show we are making an impact – a real difference in the lives of the women in our community.
There are approximately 500 members across Canada in our Women of Burgundy community. Since our launch, we welcomed a total of 221 different women and men to our events. Almost 60%, or 132 members, attended their first event in 2014, while an additional 89 members attended their first event in 2015. On a year-over-year basis, interest in our work is growing.
More importantly, a closer look at the numbers reveals that, of the 221 members who attended an event in the last year and a half, approximately 33%, or 74 members, attended at least two or more events. Even in our infancy, we have built a strong and stable group of engaged members who are finding value in our initiative.
Of course, any assessment of impact must also consider qualitative aspects. We are engaging the women in our community, but what kinds of conversations are we curating? Most recently, we held an intimate one-on-one conversation with our CEO Ken Jesudian on the critical topic of assessing an investment manager. Here you will see an excerpt of the discussion on investment philosophy:
We are fortunate to have had the opportunity to feature successful women in the business and investment community. Our conversations with Anne-Mette de Place Filippini, Senior Vice President and Portfolio Manager of Burgundy’s Emerging Markets equities, and Annette Verschuren, Chair and CEO of NRStor Inc., provided powerful inspiration for what it means to be a woman engaged in business and investing at the highest level.
Our educational lunch roundtables provide a forum for women to learn more about the practical aspects of investing, such as how to research a company as a potential investment opportunity, and how to prepare for an investment review.
Powerfully, our women clients tell us that, because of these events, they are becoming more engaged with their investments and are learning to ask good questions of their investment manager. They are learning from us and from their peers in the community, other women who by their example and their stories are showing them another way to be.
We couldn’t be more proud of the women in our community who are taking the initiative to invest in their own personal growth around matters of investing. By leading their own personal change, these women are transforming themselves, us and the world around them. Now that’s what we call impact.