March 7, 2018 Lindsay Smith

Women’s Interactive Network at Schwab (WINS) is Where I Find My Umbrella of Strength

Story provided by Christine Costello, Portfolio Consultant for Schwab Private Client Investment Advisory

As I sit here watching “The Mortified Guide” on Netflix I can’t help but reflect back on what my younger self might have written had I the patience for a diary. This morphs into what kind of diary entries I would like for my future daughter. Will she know she is loved every day? Will she stand up for herself and others? Will she appreciate the 529 plan I am about to open before she even exists? She better!

I am afraid for her journey. How do I raise an empowered girl? While the answer is not black and white I do know where I get clarity. I am humbled and grateful to experience the people (mostly women) that makeup WINS – Women’s Interactive Network at Schwab. It is here I find an umbrella of strength.

From book club discussion on redefining success to hearing Suzanne Peters talking about leadership, WINS has been a great resource for navigating life’s choices. I wish I could tell you my own life story is one of triumph and overcoming, however this is a work in progress. The struggle is real.

I say this because it is with WINS that I gain insight into who I am and what my wants and wishes are. Here that I find out how to make myself a better person, however I define what better means. I discovered my personality traits and how these change in stressful situations. What perceptions my coworkers have in relation to these traits. The things I discovered explained a lot of experiences I have had. I even now know some of my unconscious biases. This rough-edged rock is getting some polish! All thanks to WINS.

WINS is the network that supports me for me. No one criticizes each other. They listen to understand. It is a place where I can sit back, be quiet and soak in a speaker’s conversation. Or speak up about my thoughts from a panel event. I like to ask questions of those who have navigated this whole work-life balance thing a lot longer than I have. I find others who have experienced raw life, the loss and heartache, laughter and joy. I find woman in the workplace trailblazing it to the top and others with goals outside of their careers also trailblazing to the top.

It is my hope for my future daughter to have a network like this. A place she can talk about her family, her job, her life experiences and gather insight. There are plenty of paths and life experiences that come together in WINS. Not just within Schwab, but the community. Empowerment is a process. With WINS I get a handbook on the process. You can go at it the hard way and stubbornly learn or you can take the notes of the ones that have gone before. Practice smarter and harder not just often.

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