One of my longtime friends and resident of The Colony, Katrin Dambrot Sternberg, was recently featured in Forbes Magazine, 2016 Investment Guide edition in an article titled, “In Good Company: The Future of Women in Data-Driven Leadership.” Katrin, a Colony member since 2006, discusses her role as president of the Financial Women’s Association (FWA).
The Financial Women’s Association is a pioneer in female professional advancement and serves at the intersection of corporations cultivating women executives and the female professionals seeking to lead. The organization was founded in 1956 and has established a community in which women in finance across all industries can develop relevant business skills, learn from industry trendsetters, and contribute to the next generations through student mentoring.
In February, Katrin had the opportunity to ring the NASDAQ bell in New York City to celebrate the FWA’s 60th Anniversary. Just before this, I had the chance to speak with Katrin about her experience with the FWA and in The Colony.
What led you to become a part of the FWA?
Many years ago a friend asked me to join her at a FWA Distinguished Speakers event. I found both the speaker as well as the FWA members I met to be exceptionally smart, professional and willing to share knowledge and ideas with others. As I continued to attend events, I was impressed by the deep friendships between members and the bonds that were formed.
What has your involvement with the organization consisted of? (Daily tasks, etc.?)
As President, I interface with the organization’s full-time staff including the Executive Director (currently Interim Executive Director) who oversees the day-to-day running of the organization. I also chair the Board which consists of 30 members.
The FWA sponsors 50-70 events every year which are attended by our members as well as non-members. All events are planned and executed by our members as volunteers with administrative support from our staff.
Additionally, we have a sizeable mentoring and scholarship program at the high school and college level, a financial literacy program and a Wall Street Exchange Program where we mentor interns at our Presidents’ Circle firms through a summer of developmental events designed to improve their business ‘soft skills’. Again, all mentoring is done by our member volunteers who take on multi-year challenges.
In the last year, we have piloted a Pacesetters program which provides a one-year developmental program for young, high-achievers nominated by their firms for the program. Participation is free to the nominees.
What are some major things you would like to see change/evolve in the future?
The FWA is constantly evolving. We started as a support and networking organization in 1956, and we continue to be just that for our members. But we have also evolved with our educational programs, and our events need to mirror the needs of the business world, and we recognize that girls and women have fallen behind in keeping up with the huge leaps in technology and the need to be “technology literate” in order to succeed and lead in today’s business environment. We are putting greater emphasis on supporting our educational efforts as well as our event planning to develop our constituencies to be ready for the business world of today and tomorrow.
What are your thoughts/feelings on being featured in Forbes?
It’s fun, 15 minutes of fame…what can I tell you. Everybody likes to see their name in print.
(All of her life accomplishments has ultimately led her to want a home of her own in The Colony and we wanted to know why.)
Katrin explained, “Quite by accident actually. My husband and I had spent five years looking for our ideal place to live along the east coast of Florida and had not yet found it. An ex-boss of mine who had moved to Pelican Landing invited us to dinner while we were vacationing on Marco Island. We arrived early and decided to kill time in the WCI sales office. We loved the property and entered the auction for a pre-construction spot at Navona in 2004, and were original owners by 2006.”
What is your favorite thing about The Colony?
That’s a difficult question. It’s beautiful and there’s a lot to do, but, ultimately, it boils down to the friendships and bonds built and the feeling that this is our home and where we belong.
How would you describe The Colony relative to your professional experience?
“I sit on the Board of Navona, and I think that I bring those skills honed on other Boards to Navona.”
Why did you choose Navona at The Colony?
We loved the layout of the units when we saw the design, pre-construction. And we loved the view from every room in our unit.
What is it like working with Jill Kushner?
We first met Jill when we purchased the unit as she was with WCI at the time. We formed a friendship with Jill since then and often invite her to our social functions, as
she has done with us.
How would you describe a day in The Colony?
We like to walk around The Colony, but days vary. We are not into golf or tennis, but we do take part in regular lunches at the Clubhouse and enjoy all of the scenic views throughout the different communities as we take walks in The Colony. We constantly run into our friends and neighbors, and have continued building friendships, going out, and participating in organized activities such as Navona’s pancake breakfast and Super Bowl party. It’s always great coming back to Southwest Florida from up north. It’s kind of a joke around here that when we return The Colony our friends and neighbors greet us by saying ‘welcome back to paradise,’ yet that is exactly what this location means to us.
Katrin is without a doubt a very successful woman, and an idol to many female entrepreneurs nationwide. Her life experiences and choices have influenced her success, which has ultimately led her to be able to enjoy a luxury lifestyle right here in Southwest Florida at The Colony.
If you are ready to begin living the luxury lifestyle you deserve, look no further than The Colony. Contact Colony specialist Jill Kushner for an exclusive
showing of The Colony today!