Women in Insurance & Financial Services (WIFS) is a one-thousand member, 76 year-old association dedicated to attracting, developing and advancing women in the industry. We had the opportunity to speak with association leadership about WIFS their purpose and plans for the future.
Why are your members drawn to you specifically?
WIFS exists purely to attract women to the career and to develop them toward success in the industry. Our members are drawn to us because of the professional development opportunities that we offer. Today, women represent only 15 percent of the industry. Our long-term vision is to close this gap.
What types of tools or services does WIFS offer to its members?
WIFS offers educational programming, leadership development and benefits to all members. Our services include: member directory for networking, monthly webinars presented live and available on-demand 24/7, mentorship program, coaching services, local chapters, bi-monthly e-newsletters, discounts and more.
The apex of our member engagement opportunities is our annual national conference. WIFS is the only conference in the industry planned for women, by women! This year, we are headed to St. Louis, Missouri, October 17th – 19th where more than 300 industry professionals will meet for 3 days of education and professional development. Programming includes: interactive workshops, expert led panel discussions, general sessions, nationally known speakers, a packed exhibit hall and a myriad of networking opportunities.
Recognizing and celebrating success is a core value. During our annual awards ceremony we will name our 2013 Woman of the Year, Member of the Year, ANGEL, Infinity and Chapter of the Year recipients. We will also recognize our Circle of Excellence. Members qualify for this prestigious distinction by submitting income documentation.
What challenges do you feel your members are facing at this time with marketing or business development – and on the flip side, what opportunities do you see for your members?
Our members face the challenge of capitalizing on their innate talents to succeed in a traditionally male-dominated industry. Men tend to be more transaction-based in their business approach, where women are more relationship-based. Although each of these approaches may yield similar results, those who recognize the differences are able to utilize each gender’s unique talents to meet the varying needs of clients.
One challenge the industry faces arises when women outlive their significant others. They often choose to terminate a longstanding relationship with a male financial advisor. Women prefer to work with women. Challenge meets opportunity when companies partner with WIFS to supplement their ability to attract, develop and advance women to service this segment.
What are your upcoming goals for WIFS?
We are highly focused on membership engagement and being the voice for women in the industry. Engagement can mean many things; capitalizing on development opportunities, expanding leadership skills, networking with fellow members, serving on the National or Chapter Board of Directors, volunteering services and more. The skills and experiences gained are a valuable asset and are transferrable.
If there is anything I overlooked that you’d like to share/one aspect of your association that people in the industry should know, what should it be?
WIFS membership is affordable. National dues are just $200 per year. Registration for our 3-day national conference is offered to members at an industry-low rate of $475.