Woman looking at Credit Card Bills

Women face unique challenges to achieving financial wellness and security throughout their lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the problem. Find out why and more important, explore solutions on how to overcome the challenges at a special virtual discussion with industry experts, presented by the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds, on June 24 from 12 to 1 p.m., CST.

Kathy Blumenfeld, Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions, is set to moderate Wisconsin Strong Women: Unique Challenges to Achieving Financial Security. Panelists are:

Topics include women’s pay inequality, caregiving, access to Social Security benefits, outliving retirement income, and other factors that impact a financially secure retirement. In addition, panelists will recommend actions that women can take to navigate and lessen the challenges at every stage of their financial journey.

The event is free of charge.

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“When I talk to women about their money, I encourage them to think of it as a vehicle for realizing their personal vision of success. Through thoughtful planning, you can garner the financial freedom to pursue your dreams, bring stability to your life and the lives of your loved ones, handle the inevitable obstacles life throws in your path, and contribute to the causes close to your heart,” said DFI Secretary Blumenfeld.

“The Wisconsin Strong Women financial wellness education series is a part of our ongoing efforts to increase awareness and empower Wisconsin Retirement System members to achieve financial wellness and security at any age,” said John Voelker, ETF Secretary.

Wisconsin Strong Women: The Wisconsin Strong Women financial wellness education series is a part of ETF’s Wisconsin Strong: Your Financial Security™ program. Wisconsin Strong is designed to empower Wisconsin Retirement System members to maximize their WRS benefits, save for the future, and achieve financial wellness at any age. You’ll find free financial wellness education, resources, and tools at etf.wi.gov/wi-strong. Follow along at #WIStrongSecurity.

About the Presenters:

Kathy Blumenfeld
Kathy Blumenfeld is Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions. Secretary Blumenfeld is a leader with extensive experience in the business and financial services industries and counts consumer protection against financial fraud and building financial literacy and capability at all life stages among her top priorities at DFI. Prior to her appointment as secretary in 2019, she served as Executive Vice President of Special Operations at TASC (Total Administrative Services Corporation) and Vice President of Lending and Payment Security at CUNA Mutual Group.
Lara Hinz
Lara Hinz is Director of Programs at the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement. WISER is a nonprofit organization that works to help women, educators and policymakers understand important issues surrounding women’s retirement income. Ms. Hinz oversees WISER’s national outreach and partnership activities focusing on providing low- to moderate-income women with financial tools and information needed to develop long-term financial security. Prior to WISER, Ms. Hinz worked at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, where she focused primarily on older women’s economic issues.
Dr. Joelle Saad-Lessler
Dr. Joelle Saad-Lessler is Associate Dean of Undergraduates and Associate Industry Professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology School of Business. Dr. Saad-Lessler is co-author of Still Shortchanged: An Update on Women's Retirement Preparedness, a report for the National Institute on Retirement Security. Her research ranges from the economics of immigration, to local labor markets and the American retirement savings system. Dr. Saad-Lessler has published extensively on American workers’ savings shortfalls.
Amy Crowe
Amy Crowe is a personal finance expert with 20 years of experience in financial education. Ms. Crowe currently specializes in marketing financial services at Summit Credit Union and leads its award-winning signature community financial education programs, Project Money and Project Teen Money. She is passionate about illuminating the connection between mindset and money behavior, and empowering others to make breakthrough changes that result in financial transformation. Ms. Crowe’s ideas and advice have been featured extensively in the media, at conferences and on expo stages.


Background: ETF and DFI were awarded a one-year grant, funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation, to establish the Wisconsin Strong financial wellness program for state and local government employees, retirees, and their families. The grant is structured as a collaboration between the Center for State and Local Government Excellence, the International Public Management Association for Human Resources, the National Association of State Treasurers Foundation, and Wells Fargo.

Media Contacts: ETFSMBCommunications@etf.wi.gov.