The national network of female professionals and service providers, The W Source, is making its first foray into Texas with a new chapter based in Collin County. It’s the first of seven groups expected to open up throughout the state during 2018.
Founded in 2017 by Hannah Buschbom, a certified financial planner and divorce financial analyst in Santa Barbara, California, the network aims to connect executive and senior female professionals from diverse business backgrounds and grow their referral networks.
Collin County chapter founder Michelle Brennan Hall is the CEO, president, and founder of Brennan Wealth Advisors, an independent financial advisory firm in Addison that specializes in wealth and retirement strategies for executives, business owners, and high-net worth individuals.
Brennan Hall heard about The W Source during Buschbom’s presentation at FSC Securities’ annual conference for women affiliated with its broker-dealer network in February. With 27 years of experience as a financial advisor, the concept stuck with her after seeing few women in business meetings and conducting her own research on women in finance.
“When I go to meetings in my industry, there aren’t usually other women in the meeting,” Brennan Hall said. “I’m seeing more and more females attend, but we’re still in the minority in business meetings even though we’re in the majority in population.”
Upon returning from the conference, Brennan Hall began launching the Collin County chapter, which had its first meeting in May. The chapter, which will have about 25 members, is one of its kind in Collin County.
“There are a lot of female-specific organizations, but mostly they are for nonprofit collaboration, not so much a business collaboration, and for me, that was important,” Brennan Hall said.
CHANGING PERCEPTIONS OF WOMEN IN BUSINESS
She saw the need for a female-only business network that fosters collaboration and changes the message about women in business.
“I think there is a lot of messaging, unfortunately, in the world today that says women just can’t get it right in business. [Such as ] women have a real tough time with balancing work and life and play and peace. Women can’t step up in the world. Women have to act like a man in order to succeed. None of these things are true,” Brennan Hall said.
The W Source turns the coin on that message, she said.
In 2016, Brennan Hall authored a report titled “Women and Money” based on her firm’s national survey of the modern female’s experience with finances. The report highlighted a need to encourage female participation in long-term financial planning.
“I think there is a lot of messaging, unfortunately, in the world today that says women just can’t get it right in business.”
Michelle Brennan Hall
“It’s statistically proven out in longevity tables that we live longer, yet more women are less prepared, not just to deal with that stage in life, but also to deal with it financially because they’ve given that power to the men in their lives,” Brennan Hall said. “They’ve also wanted to believe that they’re not good at math and managing money. They don’t have to be good at math, they just have to have a desire to step into that role.”
Based on these findings, Brennan Hall is helping launch “The Door to Prosperity,” an educational initiative for women working for corporations.
“Our contention is that women will be much more confident, more promotable, more able and willing to take positions of promotion and to step into the boardroom when they have financial confidence,” Brennan Hall said.
A GROWING COMMUNITY
With Collin County’s exponential growth, Brennan Hall said that the need for a female network, and especially a member directory, is apparent.
Since 2000, the population of Collin County has grown by 97 percent, totaling 969,603 people in 2017, according to data from the county.
“As consumers are moving in, they’re looking for professionals, so this national directory is going to be a really great consumer benefit, as well as it will be for members,” Brennan Hall said.
“Those industries that we’re looking to gain membership in are typically those who are going to serve the clients that we have, so when I think about my clients, they are female executives, male executives, business owners, and those individuals need services and professionals that they can trust, so it’s really one of the great reasons why we’re putting all of this together.”
THE W SOURCE IN TEXAS
Female professionals can become members of their local W Source chapter upon submission and approval of their application. Members submit payment for a year-long membership and attend chapter meetings and one-on-one meetings with other members once a month. During meetings, members share best practices and their experiences in business, and transact referrals among the group.
The W Source also will open a Park Cities Dallas chapter this year.
The W Source also will open a Park Cities Dallas chapter this year, along with groups in central, northwest, and southeast Houston, San Antonio, and Waco.
The Park Cities Dallas chapter will be headed by Barbara Sullins, co-founder and senior partner at financial services firm ConfidentVision.
Chapters of The W Source can also be found in Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Oregon.
Get on the list.
Dallas Innovates, every day.
Sign up to keep your eye on what’s new and next in Dallas-Fort Worth, every day.