Lobbying Washington surfaces at S.USA’s Chicago Women’s Financial Roundtable as leading women discussed business, finances, and how to educate and empower women in the midst of challenging times.
Chicago, IL (
“The information and messages were informative, powerful, and clear - you can take control of your financial life, build for your future, and realize your power. And, you must start today,” said S.USA President and CEO
Lindsay Tilchen Johnson, Vice President, Tilchen Corporation, stressed the importance of having a financial plan. “Feel empowered to take control of your finances and your career,” said Tilchen Johnson. “And, remember, you don’t have to be a millionaire to become a multi-millionaire.” Attorney Deane Brown, partner with Beermann Swerdlove, LLP, reinforced Tilchen Johnson’s point on the importance of having a financial plan. She touched on the sensitive topic of women distributing their wealth and possessions after death and urged every woman present to have a will drawn up immediately.
An Executive Vice President with Harris Bank, Emilia DiMenco spoke on the topic of money and banking. “The greatest issue of concern in our society today is financial education,” said DiMenco. “You must seek the channels, the experts, and the information to educate yourself because education brings empowerment.” She told the audience that they must develop a relationship with a banker, be informed, plan, and pursue promotions and services. She assured participants that in doing so they would learn to control their finances so that their finances don’t control them.
With respect to the job market, Marian Carrington, Principal at executive search firm Carrington & Carrington, Ltd. encouraged audience participants to be proactive. “Contact potential employers, explore the market, and be prepared,” said Carrington. “Be ready should you get the tap; have a plan, and consult an expert.” Cristina Benitez, president of Lazos Latinos and author, Latinization…How Latino Culture is Transforming the U.S., talked of the challenges of starting a woman-owned business. Benitez spoke of the need to believe; in oneself and one’s passion, and called for each woman participating to be authentic. Said Benitez, “You must use your top three resources if you are to succeed in starting your business. Every woman, because she is innate in having the distinction of being a woman, is her own top resource.” She went on to say that it is imperative that women should find and affiliate themselves with a reputable network of executive women and take advantage of a women’s development center.
Anne Ladky, executive director of Women Employed, challenged the audience to get involved in their communities and local and national governments. “We have solved issues that weren’t even named 35 years ago; women are a force like never before, and we must make certain we are heard,” said Ladky. “When asked for her final word Ladky said, “Do something; anything! Talk to people, vote and get your friends to vote.”
The Roundtable committed to reconvene May 19, 2009 and is considering assembling a group of women leaders to lobby Washington on behalf of women regarding financial empowerment. In closing the panel made two conclusions. The financial advancement of women is a compelling topic which must be addressed, and women in the Chicago community can have an impact on and be the voice for women across the country.
About SBLI USA/S.USA
S.USA Life Insurance Company, Inc. is a subsidiary of SBLI USA Mutual Life Insurance Company, Inc. SBLI USA and its subsidiaries are licensed in 49 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. With more than $15.9 billion of insurance in force, $1.5 billion in assets, $129 million in surplus capital, 200 associates and over 300,000 policyholders, the company is committed to offering affordable, flexible and easy-to-access products through a variety of integrated channels, including direct mail, telemarketing, a bilingual Web site, licensed agents, and walk-in Customer Centers.
SBLI USA prides itself in its diverse workforce, which extends from the mailroom to the boardroom. The Company is comprised of 58% women with 48% in management roles and 37% in officer roles. Further, 45% of its Board of Directors is women.
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For the first time since June 2007, ChangeWave surveys are picking up some signs of a bottom among consumers. Although spending remains weak, the 90-day outlook is better than it was in April. Counterbalancing these positives, however, is a continued deterioration in the economic health of lower-income consumers and a huge spike in inflation worries among virtually all consumers.
Rockville, MD (
The May 6-14 survey of 4,403 consumers, which focuses on spending patterns for the next 90 days, shows
This was the third consecutive ChangeWave survey since February that has uncovered strength for Costco and Wal-Mart, highlighting a continued large-scale movement towards discount retailers that's being driven by high inflation and -- until recently -- a slower spending environment.
"The retail shopping transformation we're seeing does not appear to be a short-term phenomenon," said Tobin Smith, founder of ChangeWave and editor of ChangeWave Investing. "Rather, it has the all trappings of a consumer revolution -- and it's continuing to pick up steam."
In other positive news for the two retail giants, when consumers were asked where they expect to spend their economic stimulus tax rebate checks, Wal-Mart (12%) and Costco (12%) were the two biggest winners among the major retail outlets.
(Detailed charts on consumer spending trends, along with additional ChangeWave findings can be downloaded at
A Spending Uptick
For the first time in nearly a year, a consumer spending uptick has been picked up in a ChangeWave survey. It's only a slight one, and overall spending still looks decidedly gloomy, but the 90-day outlook is not quite as bleak as it was in ChangeWave's previous consumer spending survey in April 2008.
While two-in-five U.S. respondents (40%) still say they'll spend less over the next 90 days than they did a year ago -- that is 2-pts better than in April. Another 28% say they'll spend more -- a full 3-pts better than previously.
The survey also queried consumers on their impressions of current economic conditions, and once again while things still look bad, they don't appear quite as awful as they did in April:
--17% of respondents think the economy will improve in the next 90 days, 3-pts better than was seen in April. Even more striking, just 39% think the economy will worsen -- a big 11-pt improvement from a month ago.
--29% say the current state of the economy is better than they thought it would be 90 days ago, while 21% say it is worse than they thought it would be.
Where is spending improving? For the first time this year there is a slight uptick in consumer electronics sales, although spending in the sector is still very sluggish. There is also a 1-pt uptick in spending on consumer durable goods.
Notably, the survey found that the overall uptick in consumer spending is being driven by an improved outlook among households earning more than $100,000 per year.
The Biggest Consumer Threat -- Inflation
Although the survey found a slight uptick in consumer spending going forward, there are still powerful undercurrents that seriously threaten a U.S. recovery -- and first among them is spiraling consumer fears of inflation.
Among those who say they'll be spending less over the next 90 days, more than half (52%) cite Inflation as a reason -- a big 6-pt leap since April. Another 49% of consumers point to Higher Energy Costs -- also up 6-pts.
Other consumer concerns have increasingly taken a back seat to inflation. Perhaps most ominously, two-thirds of consumers report that due to increased energy costs their discretionary spending will be lower for the next 90 days.
Another major threat to recovery: the spending outlook for households earning Less than $50,000 per year remains extraordinarily depressed, with 61% saying they'll spend less over the next 90 days than they did a year ago -- 6-pts worse than in April.
To sign-up for real-time email alerts from ChangeWave on consumer spending trends and winning and losing retailers, visit
ChangeWave runs a proprietary network of more than 15,000 highly qualified business, technology, and medical professionals in leading companies of select industries -- credentialed experts who spend their everyday lives working on the frontline of technological change. ChangeWave surveys its members on a range of business and investment research topics, collects feedback from them electronically, and converts the information into quantitative and qualitative reports. For more information, visit
College matching service, myUsearch.com, will award a $1000 scholarship to the student with the best ideas to improve college admissions.
Boulder, CO (
Last year's college admissions were reported to be more competitive than ever. The
"The college admissions process has this smoke and mirrors aspect to it", says Derek Kraus, founder of myUsearch. "Students have to jump through hoops and they are often left with no idea why they did or did not get in to the college of their choice. By offering this scholarship, we will give students a forum to voice their frustrations with the application process, and hopefully this will start the dialogue needed to convince schools to make the appropriate changes."
This 1000 dollar college scholarship will be open to students starting college in 2008. The scholarship is financial need based, requiring a household income of less than 100,000 dollars. To apply for this and any other open scholarships, students must complete the
About myUsearch, LLC:
myUsearch, LLC is an unbiased online resource dedicated to objectively matching students to schools and providing fair and accurate college enrollment information. The myUsearch Smart Questionnaire determines the needs of students in order to accurately match them with any of the 3,400+ colleges in the company database. The myUsearch blog offers an honest view of colleges and the college enrollment process. myUsearch offers students a completely honest and objective match by providing the names of matching colleges regardless of their willingness to pay for a listing, and allowing only the schools that match the students' criteria to contact them. For further information, please visit