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  • Impact Austin

Recap: Investing Through a Gender Lens

As part of our commitment to philanthropy education, Impact Austin presented “Investing Through a Gender Lens” on October 16, 2020. The webinar was shared free on Facebook Live and can be re-watched on our Facebook page.

Our presenters, also sponsors of the event, shared a wealth of content on investing and gifting. Only a few highlights will be shared in this blog, but the entirety of both presentations is available in PowerPoint and linked below. Thank you to Impact Austin member Rise’ Lara Candelaria, who moderated the webinar, and to these expert financial advisors:

Mary Jovanovich, Senior Relationship Manager, joined Schwab Charitable in 2015 and has ten years’ experience with Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. Mary serves financial advisors, family offices and donor communities. She is committed to helping financial consultants and advisors build successful practices and deepen relationships with their clients by incorporating charitable planning into their wealth management strategies. Mary is involved as a current board member for Dress for Success Indianapolis, and also serves on both the Integrating Woman Leadership Foundation Board and Indiana Wesleyan’s Alumni Board. In addition, Mary volunteers at Coburn Place and the Him by Her Foundation. Read more.

Suzanne Wheeler, is a Certified Financial Planner and Managing Director with Mariner Wealth Advisors. For more than two decades, Suzanne has served as a trusted partner to clients as they navigate divorce, death, retirement, inheritance, legacy planning and the day-to-day challenges life can bring. Her passion lies in being an advocate for clients as they develop goals, and she creates plans that use a range of strategies to help clients meet those goals. She works with causes close to her heart – organ donation, women's health and children - as a member of the Board of Directors for Life Share of Oklahoma, Project Woman and Opportunity School in Amarillo, TX. Learn more.


Both Suzanne and Mary shared stories of their own philanthropic journeys and the ways that women can make an impact through investment and various types of giving. Both also shared data about wealth transferring to women ($22 trillion controlled by women as of 2020). They observed that women on average live 6-7 years beyond men’s average expectancy, yet we fall behind when it comes to financial and retirement planning. Women’s many roles with child care and family in general often impede our own contributions to retirement deposits. Thus, women face an “investment gap.” Fortunately, women do tend to be comfortable seeking financial guidance. Suzanne noted that, at some point women have to manage their own finances, so start now.

YOU ARE YOUR MOST VALUABLE ASSET; KNOW YOUR VALUE – Understand your earning capacity and your benefits. When it comes time to negotiate your package, use resources to guide you: Womenforhire, Glassdoor, PayScale, SalaryExpert, Bureau of Labor Statistics. If you can, make the maximum contribution each year to your retirement plan. At the very least, give enough to receive the employer contribution offered.



Savings that are to be invested can be multi-purpose, but each of us should have a “six-month rain-day fund.” How other savings are to be invested might vary according to the goals: college for children/college savings plan; vacation fund; second home; mortgage payoff; or long-term portfolio for growth. Investment sectors and vehicles vary in their return and risk, but asset allocation can be responsible for more than 90% of variation in portfolio performance. All of us should review our portfolios regularly, at least yearly, to decide if investment choices are appropriate or should change.


Mary’s presentation kicked off with a specific aspect of investing: “impact investing.” She shared how impact investing can complement one’s charitable giving. Compared with men:

  • Women are more deliberate with their charitable giving strategy. 78% of women create an annual giving plan and/or budget, compared to 72% of men

  • Women enjoy collective giving

  • Women are more likely to use impact investing to complement their charitable giving

Mary told a story from her own life that led her to support women’s causes and nonprofits serving women. Mary then used the example of how to benefit women to demonstrate how one might align philanthropy and investments in companies that create opportunities for women to thrive. She urged that we go beyond a narrow lens of “women” and “men” to a broader lens of both gender and inclusion.

Donations (personal grants) that a woman might make to benefit other women:

Impact Austin combines annual donations from members and gives multiple grants to local, worthy causes selected by their members.

Mother’s Milk Bank Austin is a community-based organization that saves the lives of very fragile babies through human milk.

The Refuge for DMST offers, a long-term, residential, therapeutic community for 48 girls, minors through age 19, who have been rescued out of sex trafficking.

LifeWorks supports youth and families seeking their path to self-sufficiency.

Investments the same woman could make to benefit herself and women in general:

Mariner Wealth Advisors provides 360-degree advice designed to last by creating a financial strategy designed to change with you.

IMPACT shares like WOMN tracks the Morningstar Women’s Empowerment Index, which is designed to provide exposure to companies worldwide with strong policies and practices in support of women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Pax Sustainable Allocation Fund (PAXWX) follows a multi-asset environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy.

When it comes to making donations, Mary urged that women consider when to give cash and when to give other assets, like shares of appreciated stock or gifts from a donor advised fund. Some assets may deliver more value to the nonprofit than cash. Tax benefits may vary also.


Both Suzanne and Mary stressed the importance of finding professional advisors you trust, who understand your values, who take you seriously. Often, women investors may find themselves better matched with female advisors. Some sources of information that may help:

General information and women focused


Government-sponsored information sites

• Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:

Basic consumer finances, banking, budgeting, credit card, etc.

Personal Financial Management


Thank you to Mary, Suzanne, and Rise' for sharing the detailed content on Facebook Live and in the PowerPoint presentations that are shared with members below.


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