Women to Watch in 2024

April 17, 2024
  • Private Banking
We highlight inspiring and groundbreaking women pushing barriers and capitalizing on new opportunities in 2024.

Since the launch of the Center for Women & Wealth in 2015, we have met and been inspired by many powerful women who are pioneers of their fields. Through their work, they are challenging the status quo, reshaping industries, and changing the way we live our lives.

Here, we showcase a group of inspiring and groundbreaking women who are pushing barriers and capitalizing on new opportunities in 2024.

Founder and President, Algorithmic Justice League

Dr. Joy is an artificial intelligence (AI) researcher, artist, advocate, and best-selling author. She founded the Algorithmic Justice League to create a world with more equitable and accountable technology. Her research has been covered in over 40 countries. As a renowned international speaker, she has championed the need for algorithmic justice at the World Economic Forum and the United Nations.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from a woman in your life?

Who you are is more important than what you do or what other people think of your choices. Are your goals and pursuits a reflection of your essence, or are they copy-pasted from social scripts for what someone like you ought to do?

As an artist and scientist, for a long time, I felt I could not let my artistic side be seen for fear of being dismissed and having my scientific research discounted – but by the time I was working on my PhD at MIT, I decided I wanted to do a poetic PhD. For me, that meant allowing my inner artist to have room to be heard.

In the end, I was able to bridge my voice as an artist and my work as a researcher. My doctoral dissertation talks about using both art and research in efforts to prevent the harmful use of AI systems. More importantly, I trusted my instincts and did not let the pressure to conform to the expectation of what a scientist should be or do keep me from becoming the Poet of Code.

What is the most energizing aspect of your work today?

I’ve been on a book tour with Unmasking AI: My Mission to Protect What is Human in a World of Machines! The best experiences for me right now are when I have the opportunity to meet people who have been encouraged to speak up about AI harms, made career changes, or persevered with pursuing ideas others didn’t quite grasp because they had found inspiration in my journey.

Executive Vice President, H.W. Kaufman Group

Jodie serves as Executive Vice President of H.W. Kaufman Group – a privately held, family-owned and operated global network of companies dedicated to shaping the future of the insurance business. Jodie holds leadership responsibility for a number of Kaufman subsidiaries, including Burns & Wilcox Canada and RB Jones, along with driving the operational and growth strategies for the company’s international expansion.

What values most impact how you spend your time, be it at home or at work?

When my late grandfather founded a wholesale insurance business in 1969, I do not think he imagined that it would grow into a global organization with more than 2,000 associates operating across the world. 55 years later, Kaufman remains one of the few insurance organizations operating free from Wall Street, private equity, or other outside ownership.

“Family” is a word used frequently in business. At Kaufman, we see our family ownership as a fundamental value that powers our competitive advantage. My brother and I proudly represent the third generation of leadership. We envision our children, and one day theirs, will sit where we are. It creates unique opportunities to invest in our associates and their professional development while building proprietary technology solutions that are far ahead of our competitors.

What is the most energizing aspect of your work today?

For more than five decades, Kaufman has grown both organically and by acquisition. We have brought new capabilities and expertise to the marketplace while strengthening our bench. The challenge becomes, how do you take myriad organizations and bring them together? How do you unite them under a singular culture and align a diverse group of professionals toward goals that benefit everyone?

That is what excites me.

Today we are creating new connection points to maximize opportunities, share best practices, and attract a highly competitive and motivated workforce that shares our commitment to excellence.

For example, we are looking at how our new office in Dubai can unlock opportunities for our U.S. and Canadian teams. At the same time, we are bringing our U.S. office leadership to London to better understand how they can partner together.

It comes down to putting the puzzle pieces together so that it benefits our associates, the collective companies, and Kaufman as a whole. That collaboration and partnership, along with the ensuing opportunities, drive me each and every day.

Board Director, Strategic Advisor, CEO

With over 20 years of experience as a strategic advisor, board director, and C-level executive, Missy helps clients and organizations solve complex challenges and accelerate innovation and growth across diverse sectors, including eCommerce, luxury, wellness, media, technology, cyber security, advertising, and marketing. 

What is the most energizing aspect of your work today?

I am by nature a people person, so I love helping others solve a problem, develop a new strategy, or see opportunities that others may not recognize. I’m very fortunate to have a large network, and I get energized connecting people for mutually beneficial partnerships or relationships.

As a consultant, I thrive on the continual learning process while leveraging my experience to build and grow businesses. I was recently certified as a Qualified Tech Expert from the Digital Directors Network (DDN) Masterclass on cyber and digital board readiness.

The rapid expansion of digitization of all companies has created heightened risk and I am excited to work with clients to better understand the vulnerabilities and develop plans for protection. I’m currently advising a unique cybersecurity software company on their business development, which is fascinating.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t be so hard on yourself! My upbringing instilled a deep sense of responsibility in all aspects of my behavior; I could take this to the extreme not fully appreciating that even with hard work and resilience not everything could be fixed, and I couldn’t always live up to my own expectations.

As someone said to me, “You’re not Atlas, the weight of the world does not rest on your shoulders alone,” and perfection does not exist in people.  It has been suggested to me that my internal bar was too high!

Also, don’t be afraid to show your emotions. My older sister, my “second mother,” who was 12 years older and a pioneer for working moms, achieved great success in the financial services industry and wisely advised that emotions can be a strength rather than a weakness.

Founder and CCO, Jane Smith

Alisha is the founder and Chief Creative Officer of Jane Smith – a female-led, strategic creative agency that specializes in brand incubation, global 360° marketing strategies, content, and advertising. With over 20 years of global experience, she specializes in building and transforming brands at all stages and across categories.

What are you doing to make 2024 your year?

This year I am very focused on expanding the business, and also refining our agency offering and processes for our clients. We are generalists and have a broad service offering across creative and marketing, yet we specialize in a very powerful consumer which we have named The Discerning Female Consumer™. We conducted a deep dive into understanding who this dynamic woman is, what informs her decision-making, and where she is headed. It also helps that we are also her. I believe this sets us apart and makes our work that much more effective for the brands and clients we partner with.

What values most impact how you spend your time, be it at home or at work?

In a word, balance. I spent so much of my life hyper-productive which of course benefited my work in many ways, but once I had my son I realized I needed to recalibrate my approach to day-to-day life. While I am still highly productive – which I attribute to my love of what I do – I am a very hands-on single mom, I make sure to have consistent hobbies and interests outside of work, and I invest the rest of my energy into my family and friends.

Co-founders, Filling in the Blanks

Mothers and community activists, Shawnee Knight and Tina Kramer, created nonprofit Filling in the Blanks as a way to marry their loves of community, children, food, and charity. The organization includes more than 200 sites throughout Connecticut and New York, delivering over three million meals to children in low-income households.

What values most impact how you spend your time, be it at home or a work?

As mothers, we couldn't bear the thought of a child going to bed hungry. We want to provide children access to quality food without attaching stigma.

At Filling in the Blanks, collaboration is a driving force for success. There are several organizations in the food insecurity space in our area, and working together allows us to have a greater impact on the children and families we serve.

Our diverse team of volunteers and employees help us achieve our vision of ensuring food security for families. Embracing a variety of perspectives enables us to achieve our goals, with younger team members offering fresh insights, technological proficiency, and innovative thinking while more seasoned members contribute industry knowledge, leadership, and mentorship.

What is the most energizing aspect of your work today?

The future is really exciting at Filling in the Blanks. We recently added a Fresh Food Mobile Pantry to our programming, distributing fresh food directly to our clients’ neighborhoods. The impact is immediate, distributing not only fresh food but also collaborating with other organizations to provide a range of services, including health and wellness, early childhood education, workforce development, and literacy programs.

Our goal is to ultimately not be needed, and by providing these services in a concentrated space, we are taking a significant step toward achieving that objective.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don't be scared to challenge yourself, and it's okay to ask for help and surround yourself with people who can guide you to your goals. We didn't know how to run a non-profit, and we were extremely nervous about the outcome, but we took that first step with mentors on various levels to help guide us, and here we are 11 years later, branching out to over 200 sites feeding 7,500 plus students a week.

Founder and CEO, The Chick Mission

Amanda is the Founder and CEO of The Chick Mission, a non-profit dedicated to providing women battling cancer with access to fertility preservation ahead of life-saving treatment. The idea for The Chick Mission “hatched” when Amanda’s own fertility preservation coverage was denied by her insurance company.

What values impact how you spend your time, be it at home or at work?

Empathy and gratitude guide my daily life, along with curiosity and a drive to make an impact. These values became even clearer after my cancer diagnosis (and in 2023, I officially entered remission!).

In my financial career, I am driven to catapult smart, driven, and compassionate human beings and investment management firms to achieve their goals of growth and excellence.

When wearing my CEO hat for The Chick Mission – the nonprofit organization I founded in 2018 that helps newly diagnosed cancer patients preserve their fertility – I value bold, creative approaches to our programs. This spans across our community-building and fundraising efforts.

 In fact, our end goal is to put ourselves out of business, once all women battling cancer have access to fertility preservation ahead of life-saving treatment. So, I am always curious to find new ways to increase our impact on the cancer care and women’s healthcare landscape while creating empowering, uplifting connections amongst our growing “flock.”

What is the most energizing aspect of your work today?

There is nothing more energizing to me than collaborating with smart, forward-thinking women (and men) day in and day out. Coming together to tackle a challenge and seeing the success come to fruition is an unparalleled joy. From a client reaching a fundraising milestone to state legislation changing to mandate insurance coverage for cancer patients’ fertility treatment, experiencing such a positive impact only fuels more collective change and collaboration!

There is nothing more energizing to me than collaborating with smart, forward-thinking women day in and day out.

CEO, Electro Soft, Inc.

Karla has run her own business with a global and celebrity clientele, reported segments on the news, consulted for businesses, and ultimately left corporate America to run her family's company as CEO of Electro Soft, Inc. Electro Soft is a premier electronics contract manufacturing firm.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned from a woman in your life?

I met Phyllis Newhouse a few years ago. She told me I needed an advisory board to help me get my business to the next level and gave me 90 days to create one. Since then, that board has been instrumental in the growth and development of Electro Soft. They have sharpened my learning curve, helped me make difficult decisions, and have been invaluable in helping me turn the page from my father's era to my own.

What advice would you give your younger self?

You will have jobs that you will not love. Simply learn everything that you possibly can from those jobs, bloom where you are planted, and keep a positive outlook. One day, everything you've ever learned will all come together beautifully as it was intended.

You will have jobs that you will not love. Simply learn everything that you possibly can from those jobs, bloom where you are planted, and keep a positive outlook.

Chief Investment Officer, Drexel University

With over 30 years of investment experience, Catherine Ulozas is a senior executive who has managed pools of capital for endowments, insurance companies, and a state pension fund. Catherine is now the Chief Investment Officer of Drexel University, sits on several boards, and works with multiple non-profit organizations.

What is the biggest challenge facing your industry right now?

From the higher education side of my job, universities and colleges can’t rely on what has been the structures of the past to be successful in the future. Higher ed needs to not only think about what is currently needed, but also about what higher ed can be. I believe Drexel, with its long history of providing experiential learning, is in a unique position to be a leader in higher education as to how we educate the next generation of workers and contributors to our society that will lead to individual and collective success.

From the investment side, it’s more like the wild west than orderly financial markets. The economic conditions of high inflation, an inverted bond yield curve coupled with increasing levels of unsustainable debt, and yet, a rising stock market, create uncertainties that contribute to much volatility. It makes long-term investment decisions difficult. 

What advice would you give your younger self?

First, try not to worry about things that you can’t change. Worry is an unproductive use of time. Changing your mindset from what negative events or outcomes could happen to what “can I make of this situation” is liberating and allows for positive thought.

Secondly, don’t assume malice when ignorance suffices. It sounds harsh, but often we assume that a rebuttal to our idea means there is some negative bias against us. Instead, assume they don’t quite understand your position. You may need adapt your messaging to help get your point across but always stay focused, calm, and friendly. Assuming someone has malintent towards you or your ideas means you are giving them the upper hand and that won’t help you to win your case.

Psychiatrist, Entrepreneur, and Digital Health Advisor

Dr. Vo is the founder of Vo Consulting, a digital health and consulting firm that works with health tech companies at different stages of development providing services such as clinical strategy consulting, user experience design, and expertise in telehealth. As the Medical Director of Quality Management at a medical insurance non-profit, Dr. Vo conducts performance evaluations of medical providers, clinics, and hospital systems, and implements educational and clinical interventions.

What values most impact how you spend your time, be it at home or at work?

My curiosity, determination, and compassion dictate my daily life. I am not content to accept the status quo as the best means of engaging the patients and the greater psychiatric community. Even in quiet moments, I reflect on new ways to connect with patients and promote quality mental health.

With these goals in mind, I spend much of my time consulting with health tech companies and in private practice to meet the diverse needs of companies and individuals. This is not simply a matter of business; expanding digital health and telemedicine extends services to those who otherwise may not have affordable access to mental health services.

My days are guided by my desire to incorporate innovative digital health and collaborative care to improve clinical service delivery for those most in need while maintaining profitability for healthcare companies.

What are you doing to make 2024 your year?

In the upcoming year, I will be expanding my online presence by helping people grow in their professional and personal habits via a new online habits course and corresponding e-book. Many successful individuals still do not feel personally or professionally fulfilled and are missing a sense of work-life balance, and many people have a vision of how they would like to live their lives but are unsure of how to achieve this.

The course teaches participants how to match small behaviors with core values while avoiding feeling defeated or overwhelmed. Helping people grow and refine the skills they need to modify their daily habits brings them closer to achieving their goals. My goals for 2024 are to expand my impact in psychiatry via my online presence and innovating outreach while continuing to lead the industry in telehealth and digital health consultancy services.

Co-Founder and CEO, Parentaly

Allison is a Wharton MBA who nearly quit a sales leadership role she loved – all because of the disruption her three-month parental leave caused. Realizing there is a large gap in how companies support employees through parental leave transitions, Allison co-founded Parentaly. Through coaching, content, and templates, Parentaly ensures business continuity and career growth for employees taking parental leave.

What is the biggest challenge facing your industry right now? 

So many companies have rolled out longer paid parental leave policies — which is great! The big challenge, however, is that research is increasingly showing that these policies can backfire. Women who take longer parental leaves have lower lifetime earnings, the introduction of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) slowed our progress to close the gender wage gap, and longer coverage gaps increase business disruption and lead to team burnout. 

I believe the biggest challenge we face when it comes to parental leave success is ensuring that companies implement programs to counteract these issues. I refuse to believe that longer paid parental leaves have to result in negative outcomes for earnings, career progression, and business continuity – but policies alone will not solve these problems. 

I built Parentaly because not many companies have the resources to focus on the career and business disruption associated with parental leave. We get the honor and privilege of supporting new parents through what is usually one of the most challenging and transformative periods of their careers.

This is a moment where most employees feel vulnerable and unsure about what they should do – and it’s a moment that usually involves a lot of business disruption and attrition of talent. We hear time and time again that Parentaly’s work is game-changing in so many ways. We’re setting expecting employees and their employers up for lasting success.

What are you doing to make 2024 your year?

We spent the past few years educating folks on why it’s so important to provide parental leave programming - not just policy - to support employees. It’s clear that the best employers fully understand this based on the number of companies interested in career coaching and manager training to support their teams through this transition. We are very excited for 2024 to be the year that we launch more clients than ever before.

Interested in learning more? Reach out to our Center for Women & Wealth.

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