To our Women in Investing Community and Supporters,

When we initially outlined our commitments for 2019-2020 as Women in Investing (WII) Co-Presidents, we centered the upcoming year around three key ideas: growing the club’s presence on campus, increasing sponsor engagement, and promoting equity in diversity. This year, we worked tirelessly alongside our Board to focus on these pillars and are excited to share the progress we made and offer a few thoughts on the path forward.

1. Presence on Campus

It was our first year as a club independent from the Women’s Students Association (WSA), and we were committed to increasing the visibility and accessibility of Women in Investing on campus. We partnered with other groups such as the VCPE Club, the HBS Investment Club, the Health Care Club, and numerous others to collaborate on networking events and panels featuring diverse guests. To support our broader mandate and increase campus involvement, we focused on growing our WII Board to over 35 women, who devoted themselves to developing and executing robust programming throughout the year. We also introduced new Board initiatives to further education and career development, supporting women who did not have backgrounds in investing to effectively make a career switch.

Looking back on the year, the strength of our community was consistently cited as a differentiator for our group. Over the course of the two semesters (including virtually!), we hosted happy hours, dinners, and exercise outings to help facilitate the development of deeper relationships between our members. Off campus, we sought to keep continuity in this community, hosting events in Boston and New York City for alumnae. It is our hope that the club continues to deepen the ties between HBS women of today and prior.

2. Sponsorship

This was by far our best year for sponsorship, as we raised nearly double the funds of prior years in order to support our expanding endeavors. This year, over 35 firms partnered with the club, many of which were new sponsors. We were so excited to work alongside these firms over the school year, as they shared in our mission and saw the value of the club beyond the campus of HBS.

One of the key tenets of the club is to offer membership at no cost, removing any financial barriers for women to learn about careers in investing. This has allowed us to have over 500 members in our organization and be consistently ranked as one of the clubs people value the most at HBS. With our generous sponsors, we were able to host over 700 registrants for our annual Summit in Klarman Hall, featuring fantastic keynote speeches and panels moderated by prominent faculty members. In addition, we hosted a career trek to New York City, with a dual-track program visiting private equity firms and hedge funds.

3. Equity in Diversity

As the first club to focus on investing with the lens of diversity, we recognize its importance in successful organizations. That said, there are many types of diversity, which are not all viewed equally. This year, we wanted to ensure underrepresented minorities and the LGBTQ+ community interested in investing also shared in some of the opportunities provided by the club. Initiatives included forming broader diverse resume books for our sponsors. We also hosted a chat on gender and intersectional diversity from academic and professional perspectives. The chat featured Professors Kristin Mugford and Robin Ely, both of whom received teaching awards this year. Even virtually, engagement was high with over 300 attendees that included both current students and alumni. Finally, we created the WIIMen, a group of men with investing backgrounds, who spent time engaging on the topic of diversity to equip themselves with perspective and information so they could return to their companies and speak up.

Since we have graduated and will go out into the world and make a difference, we felt compelled to directly comment on what is happening in the world today.

We completed our studies this past May via Zoom, and while we weren't able to commence in a traditional way, we are thankful that technology continues to keep us connected. Through the community that has been fostered in this group, the bonds made are able to transcend physical proximity.

While racism is nothing new in this country, much less the world of investing, as women of color, we recognize the importance of using our platform as club leaders to discuss the topic publicly and head-on. We had a number of challenging conversations addressing how this affects us both in our own experiences and within the system more broadly. Given our positions in an industry that deploys billions of dollars to businesses each year, it is imperative not only to notice issues that Black people face but to also play an active role in addressing them. We are calling on our sponsors and other buy-side firms to evaluate their hiring and retention practices for the investing team, to be thoughtful as they bring on board members and senior management team members at portfolio companies, and to find materials to educate themselves on implicit biases. Racial injustice is systemic: investors must learn about the realities that exist, look introspectively and critically at themselves and their firms, and take steps to fix problems. It is not enough to donate - now is the time to act.

Thank you to our sponsors, the larger WII Board, our advisor Professor Kristin Mugford, and the broader HBS community for making this club’s success possible.

With deepest gratitude for our greatest year yet and excitement for a fantastic year to come,

Chelsea Celistan, Arting Chang, and Neha Mathur | WII Co-Presidents (2019-2020)