Amazing Financial Woman of the Year Event

By Jessica Ross

On October 6, 2017, Melissa Radic and I had the fine honor of co-chairing the 2017 Financial Women of San Francisco (“FWSF”), Financial Woman of the Year luncheon, where we celebrated Robin Washington, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Gilead Sciences.


Paige Venable, Melissa Radic, Robin Washington, Jessica Ross

My history with FWSF is both broad and deep, having been introduced to the organization as a sophomore student at U.C. Berkeley when I received an FWSF scholarship, and growing my relationship with the organization for more than 20 years as an undergraduate student, a graduate scholarship recipient, a professional, and now as board member. Having been to many Financial Woman of the Year luncheons over the past two decades, I could not have been more proud of this year’s marquee event.

FWSF Board

FWSF Board Celebrating

Breaking down the numbers this was, simply put, a record-breaking year by all measures. Here are just a few of the metrics:

  • 2017 scholarship dollars raised: More than $500,000
  • Visionary sponsors: 6 (Charles Schwab, KPMG, Gilead, Honeywell, Oracle, Salesforce)
  • Platinum sponsors: 32
  • Table sponsors: 20
  • Attendees: 770+

But beyond the metrics, the inspiration that filled the grand ballroom at the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero was second to none. In line with tradition, one of my favorite moments of the luncheon was the opportunity to introduce the 2017 scholarship recipients. This year, we awarded $90,000 in scholarships to 11 amazing women. You can hear their stories here.

As the event continued, all eyes shifted to Robin Washington, our 2017 Financial Woman of the Year. Robin’s moment began with a tear-jerking and intimate introduction by her husband and daughter, Carl and Kendyl Washington. Through their eyes, we learned about the amazing woman Robin is beyond her corporate self. She’s a passionate mother, wife and friend, and a genuine role model and advocate for women pursuing leadership roles in finance. She’s a quiet, yet meaningful philanthropist. She’s a dynamic leader, in every sense of the word.

Finally, Robin took the stage. As she empowered us with the "top ten lessons she would share with her 20, 30 and, hell, 40-something-year-old self,” David Letterman style, we learned, grew and were inspired. Robin, thank you for being a truly authentic leader and role model for women (and men) pursuing careers in Finance everywhere. You are a true ambassador of the Financial Women of San Francisco theme - Lead. Mentor. Inspire.

Pat Hudson took some notes on Robin's talk. She shared them for all to be inspired


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