Member Spotlight

WHF is pleased to announce a new monthly feature, the WHF Member Spotlight. Each month we will feature a new WHF member.

  Name: Joanna Girardin Shapiro

  Current role in WHF: President, WHF

  Employer: Managing Director, Global Client Management, Bank of New York Mellon; Adjunct        Professor, Real Estate Capital Markets, Georgetown University
  Hometown: Mission Viejo, California (I’m from the OC even though we never use that term)

  Fun Fact : I am a huge sports fan, particularly college football (Go Blue!). I also am a recovering fantasy  football addict (after being commissioner of 3 leagues, enough was enough!). I also enjoy traveling, my Aussie Shepherds and trivia.

1) How long have you been a member of WHF and what have you gained from being a member?

I joined WHF in 2010. I was working as a COO for an Asset Management firm based in NY that was looking to expand into the DC area. I found our group almost by chance and am so glad I did. I haven’t looked back. In fact, I found my current position at BNY Mellon through WHF. My manager, Lee Stephens, is a member of WHF and actively supports the organization.
I started with WHF by attending a couple of events. I found our events to be informative and well done. I joined the Program Committee and then moved to the Symposium Committee. My activity and leadership on those committees led for me to be asked to run for the Board. I subsequently became the Board Secretary and then Vice President and eventually this year, President.
Throughout my WHF journey, I have gained friendships and expanded my professional network. Our Brown Bag and Public Policy events also provided me insights and access I might not have received had I not been a member of WHF.

2) You mentioned networking, and along with mentorship, were brought up by you at the Annual Meeting as priorities for your presidency. How do you plan to build upon those goals?
First of all, any goal I have is a goal shared by our board. We have a fantastic and dedicated group on the Board this year. As I mentioned in my remarks at the Annual Meeting, I firmly believe that we in WHF are our own best network. We really need to make a point of getting to know each other personally and professionally. We can’t always do that when rushing to a lunchtime event. I want to have formal and informal events devoted to networking. I want to invite like-minded organizations to attend these events as a means of growing our footprint and networking ability.
I also want our members to become more involved with mentorship. We are off to a great start with this committee and I look forward to watching it develop over the coming months. We have a group of women and men with a wide variety of skills and experience. We need to leverage those abilities to the benefit of our members. I want to make the career path of our members just starting out a little easier and I could certainly use some tutoring on the benefits of social media!

3) You mentioned growing WHF’s footprint and expanding our reach. How do you plan to accomplish this?
As a board, we are committed to engaging with a wide variety of groups inside and outside of DC. We would like to expand our partnerships to include corporate and government employee resource groups, trade associations and local universities. We have had wonderful events with groups such as the Managed Funds Association, MIT, the DC Bar and 100 Women in Finance. I’m excited about the mentorship event Dionne Joemah and Courtney Vaughan have organized with Howard University on October 5th. I hope this event will serve as a model for future events with local universities. We have actively engaged other groups that can broaden our footprint and can give us the opportunity to share our programming across the country. Our goal is to think unconventionally about how we partner and engage those who can help us expand and grow in an ever changing environment.

4) What do you love most about what you do?
I like solving problems and helping people and clients find a successful resolution. I also like interacting with people and learning a bit about who they are and what motivates them. With my background in business development, I also like to use those skills to promote causes for which I feel passionate, whether WHF, BNY Mellon or working with students at Georgetown.

5) What is the best advice you ever received?
Don’t overthink things and definitely do not over plan. Some of the best things in my life, both personally and professionally, have come when least expected. My advice is to be flexible and enjoy the ride. I also firmly believe that only you can be responsible for your own happiness.