History

Our story begins with a closed door, and a group of financial women pioneers who created and opened their own doors, for themselves and those who would follow.In 1956, when a group of eight Wall Street women were denied membership in a professional association, they blazed their own path, founding the Financial Women’s Association as a forum to share their experiences and further their knowledge.

That same groundbreaking spirit has driven the FWA over the course of decades to create opportunities for members to build their careers, meet industry leaders, gain the support of powerful women and companies, and contribute their time and energy to the development of the next generation of young professionals.

The FWA story continues today, stronger than ever. Each mentoring relationship, every meeting with a world leader, each scholarship award and development program – every FWA initiative renews the organization’s commitment to advancing the success and leadership of women in finance across all industries.

  • 1956

    Eight women on Wall Street apply to join the Young Men’s investment Association.  Denied admission, they form their own Young Women’s Investment Association.  The eight women include Elizabeth Heaton (Mohr), Audrey Hochberg, Nancy McNamara (Bentley), Susan Rappaport (Knafel), Jane Sheppard, Gloria Swope (Marron), Joan Williams (Farr) and Nancy Zuger, First President and Founder. The founding members are mostly security analysts, the first profession open to woman on Wall Street. Soon it grows to include bankers, brokers, traders, management consultants, financial analysts, portfolio managers, economists, lawyers and more.

  • 1965

    The name is changed to the Young Women’s Financial Association.

  • 1971

    The Financial Women’s Association of New York takes its present name when the upper age limit, originally 35 and then 41, is eliminated as Members begin moving into the highest-ranking senior positions typically achieved after 40.

  • 1975

    The College Connection Program launches. Since that time, the Wall Street Exchange program has supported over 1,000 interns and young professionals.

  • 1976

    The FWA creates its Educational Fund.

  • 1977

    The FWA is one of the first U.S. groups to visit China. The delegation of 25 leads the way for an international conference program that continues to this day.

  • 1977

    Membership grows to 250. Citibank, CBS, Revlon and Harvard become FWA supporters.

  • 1978

    The Working Mothers Committee is established and is soon featured in Working Mother Magazine.

  • 1981

    First annual “Washington Briefing” in our capital takes place. The group meets with prominent leaders in each branch of government.

  • 1983

    FWA awards its first scholarships to women enrolled in graduate MBA programs.  Since that time, over 150 scholarships have been awarded.

  • 1984

    The first Woman of the Year Awards Dinner is held, honoring Dr. Marian Whitman, vice president & economist, General Motors Corporation.

  • 1985

    The continued globalization of finance inspires the FWA to create a delegation that travels to London and Paris.

  • 1986

    FWA delegation travels back to Asia to visit with government leaders of Tokyo, China and Hong Kong. They meet with Toyoo Goyhten of Japan’s Ministry of Finance and Sir David Akers-Jones, chief secretary, chief executive and head administrator of the Hong Kong Government.

  • 1987

    The scholarship program expands to include high school graduates who enroll in four year colleges following participation in the mentoring program at Murry Bergtraum High School.  Since that time, over 175 students have received over $600,000 in scholarships.

  • 1987

    FWA Delegation travels to London the year of the crash on Wall Street and meets with Sir Kenneth Berrill, chairman of securities and the investment board and others.

  • 1988

    FWA Delegation travels to Madrid and have a private meeting with King Juan Carlos.

  • 1988

    The Entrepreneurs Committee is begun by four members who were considering starting their own firms.

  • 1989

    FWA Delegation travels to Toronto and meets with Barbara McDougal, minister of Employment and Status of Women.

  • 1990

    A Delegation from the FWA heads to INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France for an executive education seminar on the challenges of a newly strengthened European community. M. Jean-Paul Cluzel of France’s Ministry of Finance is a featured speaker.

  • 1991

    Eastern Europe opens up and the FWA travels to Budapest and meets with the American Ambassador and Mihály Kupa, minister of Finance.

  • 1992

    The FWA delegation is in Mexico City and meets with President Silanas deGortari to hear about his views on the pending North America Free Trade Agreement.

  • 1992

    Hillary Clinton, soon to be first lady of the U.S. and later Secretary of State, addresses the FWA community.

  • 1993

    The FWA travels to Buenos Aires and meets with Dr. Carlos Eduado Sanchez, economic vice minister; and Domingo Jorge Messuti, president of Banco de Inversion y Comercio Exterior (BICE).

  • 1994

    Back to Europe, the FWA delegates visit Brussels and Amsterdam to review the development in the European Union with the head of Generale Bank.  They also meet with the highest ranking woman at the time in the EU governing body, Commissioner Mme. Christiane Scrivener.

  • 1995

    The FWA travels to India and meets with Finance Secretary Montek Ahluwalia, among other leaders.

  • 1996

    The FWA celebrates its 40th Anniversary.  24% of its members are chairmen, CEO’s, presidents, owners or partners; 29% are VP’s or general managers; 18% are EVP’s, SVP’s or managing directors; 45% serve on corporate or non-profit boards; and 61% do volunteer work (other than with the FWA).

  • 1996

    Hon. Madeleine Albright, then U.S. representative at the United Nations and later the first woman Secretary of State, is honored as Woman of the Year at the Annual Dinner.

  • 1996

    At the 1996 Washington Briefing, the delegation meets with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
    The International Delegation also goes to South Africa, where they meet Roy C. Andersen, executive president of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

  • 1997

    FWA Delegation vistis Australia where they meet with Minister of Finance John Fahey.

  • 1998

    The First Woman President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, meets the FWA Delegation.

  • 1998

    The President’s Circle is formed to support and cultivate all of the FWA Fortune 500 partners.

  • 1999

    The third FWA delegation goes to China.  They meet with Wu Yi, state counselor of the People’s Republic.

  • 2000

    The first FWA delegation is sent to the Middle East and meets with the Director General of Public Finance, Turkish Treasury Department Hakan Özyildiz.

  • 2001

    It’s the end of “The Tech Bubble” and the FWA travels to the Silicon Valley and meets with Carol Bartz, CEO of Autodesk to discuss the changing landscape and the role of women.

  • 2001

    The FWA–Baruch College Mentoring Program is created.  Each year, the FWA mentors 30 undergraduate business students focusing on career and personal development.

  • 2002

    It had been over 10 years since its first journey to Eastern Europe and the FWA goes to Poland to see the changing climate. They meet with President Aleksander Kwaśniewski.

  • 2003

    In the shared spirit of women helping women and through the hard work of the late FWA President Lenore C. Albom (1998-99), the FWA becomes involved in microfinance.  Since that time, it has raised close to $100,000 to support these programs.

  • 2003

    Vito Tanzi, undersecretary ministry of Economy and Finance in Italy, meets with the FWA’s first delegation there.

  • 2003

    FWA institutes an Adult Financial Literacy program at University Settlement in lower Manhattan.  Since that time, over 230 people have been reached by the program.

  • 2004

    The FWA again travels to Japan and meets with Toshitsugu Shimizu, executive officer of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

  • 2004

    Jim Copeland, CEO of Deloitte & Touche, Tomatsu; Mario Draghi, vice chairman and managing director at Goldman Sachs International; and Carter McClelland, chairman of Banc of America Securities are added to the FWA’s impressive speaker roster.

  • 2005

    In the Dominican Republic, the FWA meets with Bernardo Vega, president of Fundación Cultural Dominicana, ex-Dominican ambassador to the United States and spend time with the Women’s World Bank affiliate, ADOPEM.

  • 2005

    The FWA holds a conference at the UN in the Year of Microfinance.  World Bank President and future FWA Woman of the Year Nancy Barry participates along with notable international women like Judith Babemuka, the Kenyan Ambassador.

  • 2005

    Thanks to the significant support from BMO Capital Markets and their Equity through Education Program, the FWA endowed full scholarships for mentees in Baruch College and Murry Bergtraum High School. To date, the FWA Educational Fund has been awarded over $1.6 million.

  • 2006

    Elisabeth Tarras-Wahlberg, marshal of the court, The Royal Court of Sweden meets with the FWA on its first trip there.

  • 2006

    The FWA turns 50. Distinguished Honoree, second President, Charter Member and one of the Founding Eight Joan Williams Farr addresses the Annual Dinner.

  • 2007

    John Thain, chairman of NYSE, speaks at the FWA.  Other speakers were Kathleen Ann Corbet, president of Standard & Poor’s; Anne M. Mulcahy, chairman and CEO of Xerox; and Anne Sutherland Fuchs, chair of the New York City Commission on Women’s Issues.

  • 2007

    In Vietnam, the FWA meets with H.E. Mr. Nguyen Sinh Hung, first deputy prime minister.

  • 2008

    The FWA-BMO Endowed Scholarship Fund at Baruch is created.

  • 2008

    FWA delegates visit Russia and meet Tatyana Nesterenko, its deputy finance minister.

  • 2008

    A diversified group of speakers from the arts, government, public policy, communications and finance industries were welcomed by the FWA including Harold (Terry) McGraw III, executive chairman, president and CEO of The McGraw-Hill Companies; Anna Escobedo Cabral, U.S. treasurer; Olena Paslawsky. senior vice president, CFO and treasurer of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman; Kavita Ramdas, president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women; Dr. Reynold Levy, president of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts; and Deborah C. Wright, chairman and CEO of Carver Bancorp, Inc.

  • 2008

    The FWA Financial Backpack Program teaches high school students practical financial skills to help them manage their financial affairs.  A  grant from HSBC in the Community (USA) allows for the expansion of the program.  To date, over 2,000 students have been reached.

  • 2009

    FWA speakers include Dr. David A. Nadler, vice chairman of Marsh & McLennan Companies, Michael I. Roth, chairman and CEO of Interpublic Group, and Duncan L. Niederauer, CEO of NYSE Euronext.

  • 2010

    Power Women in the Financial Sector took center stage for the FWA Community with speakers like Christine M. Cumming, first vice president and COO of Federal Reserve of New York; Sallie L. Krawcheck, president of Global Wealth and Investment Bank of America; Karen B. Peetz, CEO of Financial Markets and Treasury Services at BNY Mellon; Mary L. Schapiro, chairman of the Security and Exchange Commission; and Muriel Siebert, president and CEO of Muriel Siebert & Co.

  • 2011

    In Brazil, the FWA Delegation meets with Luciana Dias, commissioner, Brazilian Securities & Exchange Commission, Rio de Janeiro professor, Securities Regulation & Banking Law, Law School of Fundação Getúlio Vargas, Rio de Janeiro.

  • 2011

    Distinguished Speakers include Sharon Allen, chairman of Deloitte; Maria Bartiromo, anchor at CNBC; Robert Greifeld, CEO of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.; John R. Srangefeld, chairman and CEO of Prudential Securities; and Morgan Stanley’s Carla Harris, one of Fortune’s 50 most Powerful Black Executives.

  • 2012

    Dr. Nasser H. Saidi, chief economist of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Authority is visited by the FWA Delegation.

  • 2012

    Richard G. Ketchum, chairman and CEO of FINRA, addresses the FWA community.

  • 2012

    The FWA awards Baruch a $312,000 grant for continued scholarship support of FWA Baruch mentees and expands the program to include a study-abroad program.

  • 2013

    An FWA Delegation goes to Washington DC where they meet with Alan B. Krueger, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

  • 2013

    Distinguished Speakers include U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney; Irene Dorner, global managing director and president of HSBC; and Jeff C. Sprecher, founder, CEO & chairman of Intercontinental Exchange.

  • 2013

    The FWA Board of Directors and membership vote and overwhelming approve a plan to form “One FWA,” dissolve its 501(c)(6) status and operate solely as a 501C3. The restructuring work commences thereafter.

  • 2013

    The FWA expands its new professional development programs with Members-only education programs such as How to Become a Board Secretary; Commodities 101 – The Fundamentals; and Capital Markets Overview.

  • 2013

    FWA hosts Jamie Dimon and Marianne Lake at JP Morgan Chase & Co. for a Fireside Chat on Leadership. A few weeks later, a special event for FWA Leadership Council and Board was hosted at MetLife with Chairman, President and CEO, Steven A. Kandarian and Marlene Debel, MetLife Treasurer.

  • 2013

    The FWA Scholars Community is launched on LinkedIn.

  • 2013

    The FWA’s Women Veteran’s Initiative is launched: Serving Women Who Served.

  • 2014

    The FWA International Conference bring delegates to Berlin. Germany marks our 25th country visited during the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Delegates met with key leaders including: John Emerson, U.S. Ambassador to The Federal Republic of Germany; Dr. Elke Koening, President of German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority; Elizabeth Corley, CEO of Allianz Global Investors; and Simon Schaefer, Founder and CEO of The Factory.



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