State Treasurer’s Office hosts Smart Women Smart Money in Chicago

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Conference focused on credit, budgeting and financing higher education


Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias’ office held a free money management conference Thursday in Chicago geared toward helping women take control of their finances.  

Smart Women Smart Money aims to empower women financially by providing practical advice and real-life examples of how women can budget, save and invest wisely. The 10th annual conference, held at the UIC Forum, featured financial experts who led seminars on credit management, budget basics and paying for college. More than 500 people attended the conference.

 State Treasurer’s Chief of Staff Robin Kelly, who spoke during the conference, said it’s important that women help each other further their professional and financial goals. 

 “I’m a huge advocate for education that’s by women and for women. No offense to the guys, but to be a successful woman, you need to stand on the shoulders of other women,” Kelly said. “It’s something I try to do in my life, empower the women around me to be leaders, to make sure they always have a seat at the executive’s table.”

 Keynote speaker Rosie Rios, United States Treasurer, discussed the importance of financial empowerment for women and shared her secrets for success. In addition, two Chicago businesswomen were recognized for their professional accomplishments and community service.

 Leticia Velez-Hudson received the Woman on the Rise Award for her success as President/CEO of Chicago Mini Bus Travel and for her work with civic organizations such as Mujeres Latinas En Accion and A Safe Haven Foundation.

 Merri Dee, President/CEO of Merri Dee Communications, received the Woman of Excellence Award for a career in broadcasting that spanned four decades and for her work as an advocate for children and education.

 SWSM is presented by Dollars and Sense Inc., a nonprofit organization. Major sponsors include COUNTRY Financial, State Farm and VISA.

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