tv Beyond the Headlines ABC April 15, 2018 4:30pm-5:00pm PDT
>> now, from abc7, "beyond the headlines with cheryl jennings." >> today's show focuses on a longstanding organization called the professional businesswomen of california, or pbwc. abc7 is a proud sponsor of pbwc and its annual premier conference for women in business. 6,000 people attend, and it always sells out. i had a chance to sit down with the founder of pbwc, congresswoman jackie speier, to talk about pbwc and her important work in the house of representatives. thank you again for being with us to talk about this important conference. it's been going on since 1989, the professional businesswomen of california conference. you founded this. >> it's almost 30 years old. >> it's unbelievable. >> and it's so wonderful to see how it's grown into this institution for the bay area, that women, really, of all ages find is a shot in the arm.
it helps them with their personal development, professional development, and networking opportunities that turn into new jobs for many of these women. >> i remember reading something on your website saying that this actually evolved out of something that happened that you did in 1988 that was a small group for women in san matteo. >> it was called women's day, and it was for women back then who were re-emerging into the workforce after having left and had their children, and it kind of developed from there, and then i thought, "well, there's a need for women in the professions to have an opportunity like this," and that's how it happened. it didn't happen from a garage, but it happened around a coffee table in a friend's home. it is so much more than a conference now. it is an organization, and what makes it so terrific is these women who are members of the board, they do it out of wanting to pay it forward to women, and
that's what it's really all about. it's all a volunteer with the exception of two staff. >> and for people who say, if this is a woman's thing, it really is not because any time you can lift a woman and a family, you affect the entire family. >> that's right. and there's a fair amount of men that come. >> a lot. >> we get speakers that are men, and yeah. no, it's -- but it is about lifting women up. >> and that's the theme this year is stand up, lift up. >> that's right. >> one of the big things that we keep hearing about and i certainly experienced this and you experienced this in our youth was sexual harassment. that has just exploded into the mainstream media. >> and what is so exciting about it is that we are truly changing the culture at work for all time so that our daughters and granddaughters are never, ever gonna have to deal with, frankly, what we had to deal with. and it's not just something that's happened in the past. it's been going on.
it's going on right now. and we need to have the tools in place to protect the victims and identify the harassers and have them pay the penalty for engaging in a disrespectful relationship with someone that they have power over. >> in congress, you started something called the me too congress campaign following the metoo campaign. and for people who don't know what that is, can you explain that? >> so, the metoo campaign started years ago but was picked up by celebrities in hollywood, and they were talking about the sexual violence that they were enduring. in this case, it was sexual harassment and sexual assault, and it took off, and it became a movement that, last year, became the person of the year, the silence breakers. >> but the me too congress... >> so, the me too congress was my effort to try and address sexual harassment in congress, which i have been trying to do
for years. back in 2014, i tried to get mandatory sexual harassment prevention training for all members and staff, and i couldn't get it even considered in the rules committee, let alone a floor vote. and last year, after this kind of swept the country, we passed it on a voice vote in congress, and now mandatory sexual harassment prevention training for everyone. >> and i know that there have been payouts, right? so how does that work? who pays? >> so, historically, it's been paid for by the taxpayers, and the harassers were not being identified. but with the new law that we're putting in place, the harasser will be identified, and the harasser will have to repay the u.s. treasury. >> wow. in terms of women gaining more power politically, you're seeing some changes. >> there really are some significant changes. women still represent only 20% of the congress. in many of our state legislatures, we've actually
seen the numbers of women serving decline. but there is a shift taking place. there are more than 360 women running for congress this year. that's the highest number ever by quite a few. i mean, hundreds, actually. and we are also seeing many more women donating to candidates, four times as many women donating for candidates in this cycle as in the last election cycle. >> what do you think has caused that? >> i think it's a lot of things. i think the "access hollywood" tape was very disturbing to women. i think the woman's march empowered women, and then the metoo campaign that took off, and the fact that we saw so much willingness to address this issue in the private sector, in the public sector, and even in congress. >> before we run out of time, i want to talk about another issue
that's really important to you, is transgender concerns in the military, our lgbt friends. >> you know, we have had transgender soldiers serving for years. and, really, it's very highly technical areas and very important areas, and to have this issue foment about whether they're going to be allowed to stay, whether they're going to be allowed to enlist has been very troubling, and it's the -- the argument that somehow it costs a lot of money is really a bogus argument. it costs between $3 million and $5 million a year if you are going to have the transition surgery. most opt not to have the transition surgery. but we're spending $16 million a year on viagra. so if you compare the two, i would suggest that it's not an issue and that transgender persons who are serving or who seek to serve in our military should have the right to do so.
>> welcome back to "beyond the headlines." i'm kristen sze in for cheryl jennings. congresswoman jackie speier co-founded professional businesswomen of california, or pbwc, in 1989. the nonprofit has evolved over the years from its initial membership of long-term volunteers to what we see today, with corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and leaders from both public and private sectors. joining me now in the studio is curshanda cusseaux woods from kaiser permanente. she's the northern california community relations manager. thanks for coming in. >> thanks for having me, kristen. >> all right, curshanda. so, kaiser, we should mention, is this year's pbwc headline sponsor. that's a yearlong sponsorship. >> yes. >> talk to us about why kaiser is doing it. what does that mean for you? >> well, we've been a partner
with pbwc for over 12 years, and we kind of dipped our toe into the waters last year by being a major sponsor, and we really saw that it gives us the opportunity to really spread the information that pbwc shares with not only our employees, our employee resource groups, as well as our community members, so we invite everyone to participate. so it really gave us an opportunity to be at the table at some of the topics that pbwc offers, and this year it's all about stand up, lift up, and we thought that was a great topic for us. >> well, it ties into the kaiser theme of thrive, doesn't it? >> absolutely. absolutely. i mean, you really need to be able to thrive and advocate for yourself, so we're a community. we have mostly women. i think it's about 70% women at kaiser permanente, and, of course, women are the healthcare decision makers. i bet if you think about yourself, maybe you are the
person that makes the healthcare decisions for your family. so it's a great way to kind of mend our mission along with pbwc. >> we've talked a lot about women empowerment in the recent months. that applies to healthcare as well, doesn't it? >> it does. >> how do we go about advocating for ourselves and our families in healthcare? >> well, really, you know yourself best. you know that if you're not feeling well, and maybe your physician says, "go home, take an aspirin," you know that that might not be right, so what we're going to do is help people learn how to advocate for themselves. where do you go when you feel like, "hey, that might not be the right diagnosis," but in addition to that, the healthcare right now, there's a lot -- there's the insurance. there's the hospitals. how do you navigate through that system and really advocate for your family? so we'll be sharing a lot of information about that. >> all right. one thing that we love is thrive recess. this applies to folks who aren't necessarily going to the
conference but something for all of us who work in an office to get up and move, right? >> right. so, thrive recess really isn't just for kids. it's really about healthy eating and active living. so, a lot of us are at our computers all day, and we're on conference calls, but we really encourage you to get up and move. you know, take a minute. take a minute for meditation. take a minute to just go with your colleagues and walk around the office. you can do the stairs. so we really just want to promote for not only youth but also for working adults as well. >> all right. one quick thing i have to mention is that you coordinate all those wonderful community activities that kaiser employees do all around northern california. i have family members who have gone and fixed up school yards and cleaned up communities. why is that so important as part of the stand up, lift up message? >> well, we have, as i mentioned earlier, about 80,000 employees in northern california. the communities are where they live and work, where we live and work, and so our members are
there as well, so just being able to empower our communities really helps them get healthier, and that's really standing up, lifting up, right, when we stand up and lift up and help each other. >> great message. curshanda, thank you so much for coming in. >> thank you for having me. >> and next, we'll learn how pbwc is helping women at different phases in their careers, so you'll want to stay with us.
california. i want to introduce you to two women who are active with pbwc, board member cathy weihl and longtime member natalie aliga. they both work at wells fargo in different capacities, now. thank you so much for coming in, ladies. >> both: thank you. >> thanks so much for having us. >> all right, cathy, i'm gonna start with you. tell us about the mission of pbwc because you're a board member. >> yes. no, the mission of pbwc is to provide skill development, networking opportunities, and inspiration to women at all levels in the organization. so, we have a collective effort to advance gender equality. >> how did you get involved with pbwc? >> you know, i've always been active in women's organizations, but this particular one really spoke to me, and i was able to attend a couple events, and then was very interested in becoming a board member. so i was able to talk with a couple of people who i knew on the board, and we were able to think about how to continue moving me forward with a board opportunity. >> all right. and you're here because you really want to mentor and
support women in all fields, and, natalie, you are just the perfect success story of pbwc. talk to us about what you were doing when you first got involved and what opportunities that's led you to. >> great. thank you, kristen. my first introduction to pbwc was in 2005, and it was through a corporate sponsorship at my previous employer, and so, through their sponsorship, it provided me access to the annual conference, and i also started taking advantage of webinars, community events, and attending all of their networking opportunities. >> i've been to the conference. it really is inspirational, the women you meet, the seminars available. what did that open your eyes to? i know you were working a job, and you were happy, but you wanted something more, something new, something different, more opportunities. tell us about how the pbwc activities enabled you to pursue that. >> yes. so, i was at my previous employer for over 14 years. it was my first job out of college. and so, attending pbwc made me realize that i was really in my comfort zone, and how was i
defining that for myself. it put me down a path of continuous self-improvement, and i started to understand that there was greater things out there that i could pursue, and the conference and the other events provided real images and examples of successful women that i could really look up to and motivate and inspire me. >> so then you jumped to wells fargo in kind of a risk-taking move. >> absolutely, i did. >> and how has that worked out? >> it's been fantastic. and pbwc also was behind helping me connect to other pbwc members that were within wells fargo, and i utilized some of the information and resources and tools to even go through the interview process. they did mock interviews with me, reviewed my résumé, and just supported me through the entire. >> cathy, is natalie's experience pretty typical? >> very typical. and we really want to make sure that we're providing tools and resources, and in fact, we have so many different other programs
that pbwc puts on. we have community events throughout the year, and they're on different relevant topics, and it's a great networking opportunity to meet other women within the bay area. there's also the young women's professional summit, and that's an annual summit, and it's geared towards women early in their careers so that they're able to take advantage of networking as well as really defining kind of objectives that they want to pursue as they continue with their career journey. we also have monthly webinars, and those webinars are actually in an online library at pbwc.org, and if you're a member, you are able to tap into those at any time. >> there are so many membership benefits. so how do you join if you're an individual? >> you go to pbwc.org, and there is -- the website actually, it shows you how to register and become a member. >> okay, there are individual memberships, not just corporate. >> absolutely. there are corporate sponsorships. >> okay. >> and wells fargo, as you mentioned, is a corporate sponsor, and we have actually
worked together to actually really support how to make sure that pbwc's mission and objective went through all of wells fargo. >> all right, cathy and natalie, this year's theme is, of course, stand up, lift up. what does that mean to each of you? >> so, i think for me, it's really about standing up for the opportunities that are available to you and learning how to say yes, and then lifting up other women and so, you know, bring a woman along with you. through working with cathy, if i can help make the resource and tools available for others through either corporate sponsorship or individual membership, and really share the value that i have gained from being an individual member. >> cathy? >> i would agree, and the stand up, lift up theme is just so relevant for today, and i would say that the lift up side of stand up, lift up is really about having confidence, really about taking a risk, really about making sure that you're bringing women along, having the
opportunity to really provide others with opportunities, and we are actually wanting to collect stories from other women on how they've lifted up others, and so, if anybody is interested, they can go to #liftup or #pbwc and share their story. >> all right. we'll have to do that. thank you so much for coming in today, cathy and natalie. great to hear your stories. all right, thank you for being here watching. coming up next, we'll talk to two women who launched a successful business after being a part of pbwc. we'll be right back.
>> welcome back to "beyond the headlines." i'm kristen sze, in for cheryl jennings. pbwc, or professional businesswomen of california, is one of the largest women's organizations, boasting a worldwide community of more than 35,000 professionals, sponsors, and other partners. joining us in studio today, two ladies who have created a line of work wear called argent. it's attracting a lot of attention at pbwc. eleanor turner and sali christeson joins us here today. ladies, it's nice to have you.
>> thanks for having us. >> yeah. sali, i'm gonna start with you. 2014, you were attending pbwc, the conference, and a light went on in your head. you were working at cisco at the time, a great job. and then what happened? >> yes, so, i've always been frustrated by the fact that no one sold women's work wear. i've just had this personal pain point. >> i hear you. [ laughter ] >> and so, you know, i was attending this conference that's promoting really taking risks, you know, really, really going for -- going for whatever your dreams are, and so i think between that and a study that i read showing that women are judged based on appearance and that it does impact your career trajectory, i decided to just take the leap and quit my job, and fast-forward. here we are. >> take a chance. i love it. and you were introduced to eleanor. eleanor, you were working for j.crew as a designer, and you've always had the dream, right, to start your own business too. >> totally, totally. and sali and i met. we actually had a phone call. and she said, "i want to start a
line of women's work apparel," to which i replied, "good luck to you." [ laughter ] but we kept the conversation going, and we went shopping, and i was really shocked at the lack of options out there. >> yeah, let's talk about making the clothing functional. would you mind demonstrating? you really thought about women on the go because you're always on the go. >> that's right. yeah, so, we had conversations about this, a lot of conversations with working women, and that actually inspired the function-led design concept. so, we engineer pockets into the clothing. this is for your iphone or cellphone, for your pens, pencils. >> love it. >> i have lip gloss and brow stuff in there. and all of the fabrics are super functional, premium, made in the usa. >> yeah, that's great. now, you had an expo at pbwc, at the conferences, and you caught the eye of a certain celebrity guest. can you talk to us about that? >> we did. last year, so, we always have a presence at the conference, so we pop up. we're selling at the conference. we're really building our
community there. >> yep. >> and participating in the sessions. we actually had the opportunity to meet secretary hillary clinton at last year's conference. >> she spoke, yep. >> she spoke, and then we were fortunate to land in the photo line, and we're watching people go through, thinking, "oh, we'll get a second with her. what are we gonna say before we're sort of pushed out in front of her?" and we just held open our jackets and said, "i quit my job at cisco," eleanor said, "i quit my job at j.crew," and we mentioned that we made pant suits, and her jaw dropped. she had a physical reaction, and she said, "i love it. i want to wear it. i want to support you guys." and we ended up talking to her for 90 seconds, which sounds like a short amount of time, but it was amazing, and we've just stayed in touch, and feel -- i mean, just beside ourselves that she wears and supports the brand. she continues to wear the brand. >> and, eleanor, you've actually been to her office to fit her, right? >> yes, yeah, a couple months ago i went to fit her for her reversible blazer. >> but it wasn't always so easy. i mean, now you're sitting here going, "we're doing it.
we did it." but talk about some of the challenges as women trying to start a business on your own. i hear it's hard to get a loan. >> yeah. it's still challenging, i would say. so, we are -- we've been doing this for three years. we launched a little over a year and a half ago. we're still very much a start-up. we have faced a whole host of challenges. i think funding is one that you hear pretty consistently. being female entrepreneurs is especially challenging. you hear and read a lot about that. for us, fundraising. it's pretty cliché, but that's absolutely been one. we've been told that we're just two pretty faces. we were told that utility doesn't belong in women's clothing. i also think we've run into some challenges with vendors. so we get painted as too aggressive or too high maintenance. you name it. and our male counterparts don't go through these things. >> or it's viewed as a positive thing. >> exactly. >> all right. for women watching you, if there's one takeaway, what do you think that would be? what's your word of advice for them? >> i would say the second you
stop learning, change what you're doing. >> yeah, i couldn't agree more with that. and then i think, just inherent with our business -- it's something i've touched on earlier -- it's to be tough and keep pushing. you're gonna receive pushback on a whole set of things, so just keep going, and there is a community of women and men behind you. >> all right. keep fighting the good fight. >> that's right. >> a whole army of sisterhood backing you. sali, eleanor, thank you so much for coming in and sharing your experience. really appreciate it. >> both: thanks for having us. >> yeah. and thank you so much for watching. now back to you, cheryl. >> for more information on how to reach our guests today, just go to our website, abc7news.com/community. we're also on facebook at abc7communityaffairs, as well as cheryljenningsabc7, and follow me on twitter @cherylabc7. thanks so much for joining us. we'll see you next time. ♪
right here on abc 7, former fbi director james comey breaks his silence for the first time since being fired and gives us rare insight into the white house administration. good evening and thanks for joining us. >> president trump has some harsh words for former fbi director comey hours before his full interview here on abc 7. >> now comey claims the president at times resembled a mob boss and comey expin