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Financial Finesse Series Launches as Part of Women's Leadership Forum

December 23, 2010

This past year, Godfrey & Kahn helped launch a new luncheon series for women professionals about money and the economy. Along with Godfrey & Kahn, the Financial Finesse luncheon series was presented in partnership with Heartland Advisors, Inc. and Park Bank. This collaboration came together as a result of discussions between Ellen Drought, a shareholder on Godfrey & Kahn's Securities Practice Group, Vinita Paul, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer of Heartland Advisors, and Beth Borst, Vice President at Park Bank. The discussions focused on how to offer financial education and networking opportunities to professional women in the community, a need all three recognized. They quickly realized that by pulling together their areas of expertise and tapping into each firm's respective client base, they could offer a diverse educational experience and reach women professionals in many areas of business. "We all recognized that women professionals in our community are a great resource that we need to support. We felt like this would be a great opportunity to provide that support by joining together to offer diverse, timely topics of interest, presented by experts in our respective firms," said Drought.

It seemed like the perfect project for the Godfrey & Kahn's Women's Leadership Forum (WLF) to consider sponsoring. After discussions with Christine Liu McLaughlin, a shareholder on the Labor and Employment Practice Group and the Chair of the WLF Steering Committee, and Drought, Financial Finesse was successfully launched as part of WLF. Financial Finesse fits in well with WLF's goals, such as creating an educational series to assist with leadership development. "Godfrey & Kahn is committed to providing leadership opportunities to its female lawyers, within the firm and within the communities our lawyers serve," said McLaughlin. "Financial Finesse furthers that commitment in a real way by providing educational opportunities planned by, attended by, and supported by women professionals who are untapped resources for this community's future," continued McLaughlin. "I hope this is just the beginning."

Financial Finesse offered three luncheon seminars in 2010 to over 150 attendees at the Intercontinental Hotel. Heartland Advisors kicked off the series with a presentation about savvy investing through financial reports. Kate Jaworski and Will Nasgovitz of Heartland Advisors discussed how assessing a company's financial statements helps in the investment process, both for professional and personal investing. The next presentation, by David Werner and Kim Schaffer of Park Bank, was entitled "Banking, Bernanke and the Bottom Line." Werner and Schaffer reviewed the credit crisis and the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation and explained how the banking system is interconnected with the economy. The final program was presented by Tom Shorter, a shareholder in Godfrey & Kahn's Labor and Employment and Health Care Practice Groups. Shorter presented an overview of the U.S. health care system, including how health care costs are borne by various players in the economy, historical milestones such as Medicare and Medicaid, and thoughts about the future of health care under the recent reform legislation.

"On one hand, Financial Finesse provided terrific learning opportunities on major issues. But as a junior female associate, the more important value that the program offered me is the opportunity to start to understand the business landscape in the area, the women involved in these businesses and to interact and learn from women professionals at all different levels of experience," said Michele Racadio, associate at Godfrey & Kahn. "I think events like these and the pro-active steps taken by Godfrey & Kahn and the other businesses create a comfortable community for women professionals to network with and mentor each other and open the door for women at all levels to begin to develop their own, or build up their existing, business networks."

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