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First annual ‘Women’s Investing Summit’ promotes diversity

| Friday, March 22, 2019

Notre Dame will host its first ever Women’s Investing Summit (WIS) all day Friday. The event will feature a wide variety of female keynote speakers and panels.

Erin Bellissimo, managing director of the Notre Dame Institute for Global Investing (NDIGI), said the summit aims to highlight the diversity that exists in the business industry, and to show students — both women and men — that they too can work in the industry.

“The goal of WIS is to bring together a forum of leading investors who happen to be women for two purposes,” Bellissimo said. “One is for our female students to see role models that work in business. …The second is for any male students who attend to learn and to see as well that they can work for these people and … alongside them. They can see that the industry isn’t just one face. We are really trying to encourage diversity broadly in the finance industry, and so this summit is one initiative towards pushing forward the idea that differences in people and ideas create better outcomes.”

WIS begins at 8 a.m. with breakfast in Dahnke Ballroom in the Duncan Student Center, and goes until 4 p.m., with lunch provided. Current students, faculty and staff can attend the events for free.

Three keynote speakers are on the agenda — Katie Koch, who works for Goldman Sachs; Kate Sullivan, an Emmy Award-winning journalist who interviews top business leaders; and Cathy Saunders, with Putnam Investments.

The summit is a joint effort between NDIGI, the Investment Management club, the Wall Street club and Smart Woman Securities, Bellissimo said.

Bellissimo said it will be a day where everyone can learn something new about money and investing, which she said impacts everyone’s lives.

“I think this is a day that students from all across the Notre Dame campus can learn and take something useful out of it because money will impact everyone’s lives,” Bellissimo said. “So really the themes are investment leadership, financial literacy-oriented, much less around specific women’s issues. So the attendees can be men or women. It’s not going to be a day talking about work-life balance, it’s going to be about great investment ideas.”

WIS is welcoming to both genders, but Bellissimo said there is still a need for women to be more involved in the business industry, and there is a need for diversity as a whole in the industry.

In 2017 five percent of CEOs in Fortune 500 companies were women and 20 percent of women were Fortune 500 board members.

“Less than 10 percent of assets globally are managed by women. That’s a startling number,” Bellissimo said. “I think there’s a need for all types of diversity, not just gender, socioeconomic and race, but just where people have come from, and their schools of thought and majors. And so it’s not just finance majors that go into financial services.”

Although this is WIS’ inaugural event, Bellissimo hopes to see it grow and become an annual summit.

“We would love for it to gain traction and be an annual event and really grow,” Bellissimo said.  “We’d want it to eventually have a huge audience of students and alumni and be an opportunity for students — not only to learn, but to network with alumni.”

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About Mariah Rush

Mariah is a senior majoring in American Studies and minoring in Journalism, Ethics and Democracy. She is from the great city of South Bend, and serves as Managing Editor of The Observer. You can find her always on Twitter at @mariahfrush.

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