Women share wealth of knowledge at Financial Well-being Conference

There were some harsh truths, comforting words and an abundance of motivation at Saturday’s FirstCitizens Financial Well-being Conference 2012, for women, by women. The Bay Gardens conference room was packed with women who came to share their experiences with each other and listen to the life stories of a cadre of strong, powerful women and one man!
Adrian Augier, the first speaker of day didn’t seem intimidated by all the estrogen in the room. In fact, he admitted he has been accused of being a feminist. His essential message to the near 100 women was about “unleashing the creative you.”
“In my own experience as a writer, one of the first exercises when one is learning to write is to write the ‘Who Am I?’ poem. Unless we start to ask and answer that question I think your creative self stays suppressed . . . The creative self is very often the secret self. Unfortunately we live in a society where creativity and thinking outside the box is not always welcome or valued but there is a creative self in most of us.”
Augier urged women to throw caution to the wind and forget what society expects and instead focus on figuring themselves out.
For her part Sharon Christopher, First Citizens deputy chief executive officer, spoke about parenting and leadership. Christopher, a single mother, shared some very personal stories that resonated with many of the parents in the room.                 Balancing financial matters came to the fore when Carole Eleuthere Jn Marie took control of the microphone. Jn Marie was forthright in her presentation of a financial fitness program for women. She provided some hard facts about what constitutes financial stability and encouraged women to manage their debt and to never give up on finding financial freedom. She provided women with a strategy for measuring their financial status and ways to manage their finances effectively.
The conference which featured an audience of women from diverse backgrounds also included interactive sessions and an exciting Zumba stretch segment after lunch. Ladies kicked off their heels and got down with super agile Louisa ‘Lulu’ Paul.
Following Lulu, was guest speaker Mae Wayne, who knew more than her fair share about fitness, having been a former champion bodybuilder. The managing director the STAR Publishing Company, who also produced the award-winning SHE Caribbean magazine, spoke to the group about Living your dream—through good and bad times. Wayne separated the two and offered the audience advice for a lifetime.
“In really bad times you have to be careful about almost everything you might normally take for granted,” she noted. “News of more unemployed people becoming more and more desperate does nothing to cheer you up. News of folks losing their homes, more businesses folding up, especially businesses owned by close friends or relatives, VAT, only remind you of your own fragile situation . . . Especially in bad times, you have to be ready to do as you did when you were a kid and fell down the stairs. Kids are so darn good at dusting themselves up and moving on, regardless. We can learn a lot from watching them.”
Wayne noted that dreams should not be abandoned in hard times but one may have to adjust, to postpone some things or to move forward more quickly.
The audience was very interested in Wayne’s resolutions which included: “Don’t let your work life or business run you. You run them; Become more efficient. Work with a to-do list. Stick to it; Don’t take unimportant calls. Answer via e-mail whenever possible; Eliminate clutter from your life. Clutter includes gossip, depressing people, people who know only how to put you down, not lift you up; Delegate. Ask your kids, husbands to help out. At work attend to the matters that need your special attention. Designate the rest; Prioritize: if it’s not important, don’t take it on. Don’t volunteer to bake a cake for your girlfriend’s party if you don’t have the time. Learn to say No.”
The animated Rose Aubertin then delivered a presentation on living a healthy lifestyle. The super confident retired nurse opined on the importance of a healthy lifestyle to success financially. Using her own life experiences that included failures and successes Aubertin spoke about what made her the woman she was today.
“How much do we love ourselves? No matter what you see in the mirror you have to love it!” she said. “If you don’t love it try to do something about it. We all have our gifts and if we have to make a change we change for the better. A lot of us have no confidence. Yes, I can do that! Let us not give up and think positive.”
Aubertin spoke about the benefits of exercise and a great diet. She also offered some secrets for increasing libido but that little secret will stay with the women who attended!
The event came to a close with a very frank question and answer segment between the panel and the audience, prizes and presentation of certificates of participation. In the end it was clear that when women get together they can have a great time, making new friends and sharing unique experiences. Hopefully the conference will get some who attended on their way to being financially independent!

The head table at the Financial Well-being conference—a cadre of inspiring women with powerful life stories.

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