|Thanks to all of you entrepreneurs, visionaries, financiers, bankers, legislators, tax, legal and regulatory experts who came together this past year to institute colossal Wall Street reform. When historians look back on the 2012, it will be recognized as the year that not only laid the foundation for the next period of economic expansion, but gave rise to a new era of capital consciousness. NowStreet began last year with the privilege of introducing a new crowd-investing methodology to the Wall Street establishment at its premiere industry conference on January 23rd in NYC. The event, which was headlined by Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-NC), author of the initial crowdfunding bill, brought together many of today’s principal crowdfunding leaders for the very first time and led to the eventual formation of two of the industry’s leadership organizations,CFIRA and CfPA.Throughout the course of the year, NowStreet went on to produce ten more acclaimed industry events in cities across the country as well as unleash some of the most provocative market commentary highlighting the dysfunction and injustice in today’s financial markets. NowStreet readers discovered how Facebook’s IPO exemplified flawed market structure and investor inequality, how its IPO debacle could have been averted, and most importantly, how historic legislation coupled with unprecedented advancements in mass communications is effectuating a paradigm shift in global financial markets. As we head into 2013, NowStreet remains steadfast in its commitment to advancing a regeneration of Wall Street where all socio-economic classes are granted equal opportunities to prosper.
As the year progressed, it became clear that every subsequent event was more successful than the last and each new article provoked more meaningful dialogue and debate. While I could feel the momentum growing, I did not foresee 2012 culminating with a banner event that would not only exceed all of my expectations, but affirm women’s imminent leadership role in reshaping America’s economic landscape.
Held at Chadbourne & Parke’s beautiful conference suite overlooking a seasonally festive Rockefeller Center, our December 11th Women Transforming Our Financial Markets Symposium was so awe-inspiring that I briefly contemplated changing our name from NowStreet to WOWStreet! Many were hailing the event as, “Wall Street’s first daylong slumber party” where participants laughed, cried, shared, learned and most importantly – genuinelyCONNECTED!
Each presentation and panel session was as enlightening as the next, and kept our audience engaged from morning until night. The interaction was simply energizing. In fact, some of the most interesting of exchanges were those that transpired between the speakers and attendees. The inquisitiveness was so infectious that, two weeks after the event, the opening presentationwas the most talked about Slideshare on both Facebook and LinkedIn.
Funding guru, Judy Robinett, kicked-off the discussions carrying us through the mindset of a typical angel investor and highlighting the importance of relationship building. Her presentation resonated as much with the entrepreneurs as it did with the investors in the audience. LegendaryMichaela Walsh, Honorary Trustee of Women’s World Banking and accomplished author, concluded the day with a remarkable account of how she helped establish the first global financial network for women. I was honestly spellbound from beginning to end.
All of our panelists and moderators did an exceptional job feeding a knowledge-hungry crowd. Founders of leading crowdfunding portals, angels, venture capitalists, social media specialists and wealth managers all shared their unique perspectives on the direction of the markets, and showed us where to uncover new opportunities. Our legal experts not only detailed fresh methods of capitalizing small businesses, they provided valuable insight into the timing of the JOBS Act implementation. Most notably, they discussed procedures for fostering issuer transparency and facilitating the due diligence process as promising new fraud-detection resources such as CrowdCheck were introduced.
Candace Klein, CEO of SomoLend and McKenzie M. Slaughter, Founder & CEO of Prohaus Group touched us with their personal stories of triumph as well as with their narrative of how after meeting at a NowStreet event a few months earlier, McKenzie was able to raise the startup capital needed to launch her Beauty & The Bull Magazine employing SomoLend’s lending platform.
Gene Massey, CEO of MediaShares provided a revealing look at the historic women who shaped Wall Street that included a beautiful tribute to Muriel Siebert, the first woman to own a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. We’ve certainly come a long way, baby!
Bestselling author, speaker, and professor, Gloria Feldt delivered a powerful and stirring keynote that gave both genders a new understanding of power. Her “Women, Power and Leadership” workshop, following her presentation, was met with rave reviews.
Flipping the management pyramid, Greg Slamowitz, Co-CEO of Ambrose Employer Group, gave a commanding presentation showing small business owners how to create a workforce that is engaged, aligned, empowered and on fire!
With pinpoint accuracy, Global economist, Constance Hunter, predicted a scenario that would look more like a fiscal bunny slope than a fiscal cliff.
Jim Jones, Director of Business Development at Accuplan and Founder of AlternativeAssetsIRA, detailed an innovative approach to funding startups, attracting investors and regaining investment control utilizing self-directed IRAs. Particularly with returns in conventional asset classes languishing, Jim gave a persuasive account of how self directed IRA’s will ultimately prevent a looming retirement crisis by helping hardworking Americans recapture portfolio yield.
Speaking of recapturing yield, Jason Jones, Portfolio Manager of HighStep Capital, made a strong case for why P2P lending will see a dramatic surge and further disrupt the banking industry in 2013. Other predictions included Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) surprising the market with a new service and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) continuing to crush retail.
The day drew to an gratifying close with an entire segment devoted to capital consciousness or what world renowned futurist, evolutionary economist and worldwide syndicated columnist Hazel Henderson refers to as, The Love Economy.
Karla D’Alleva Valas, Managing Director, Fidelity Charitable began by illustrating how to leverage appreciation in illiquid assets for tax-efficient charitable giving. I was fascinated to learn the growing number of entrepreneurs and investors using their appreciated assets to fund philanthropic endeavors.
Amy Cortese, accomplished journalist, speaker and author of Locavesting, demonstrated a number of heartwarming accounts of communities coming together to fund small local businesses and foster regional economic development.
The most inspirational photo, depicting statues breaking free, came from Diana Ayton-Shenker’s presentation, “Abundant Living, Mindful Giving”. Diana, founder of Global Momenta and the Fast Forward Fund, also hosts fast forward+, a curated HangoutOnAir series featuring high impact leaders and social ventures. Check it out at http://www.fastforwardfund.org!
Monika Mitchell, CEO of Good Business International and raffle winner of the bottle of the Billecart-Salmon Rose Champagne supplied by the awesome Mike Cagle and Acker Merrall & Condit, began her speech reminding us that the end of the world was a mere ten days away. As a result, I squandered the next week and a half preparing for this Mayan Apocalypse by clearing all of the Hostess products and Marlboro lights from the shelves of my local bodega. Suffering the worst carb and tobacco induced hangover since my first Pink Floyd concert, I awoke on December 22nd to find that the world as I knew it had indeed ended, but fortunately per Monika’s forecast, a beautiful new one was just beginning.
I am going to conclude by echoing Monika’s sentiments: I am thankful for the end of the old world which had been characterized by selfishness, greed and a lack of compassion for anyone or anything. I view the JOBS Act as the beginning of a shift in consciousness where a more humane and prosperous world awaits us.
You can click here to view the event photos, presentations as well as the program that showcases our esteemed speakers and their incredible work. The complete video footage of the symposium will be available online shortly. Below you can also find links to some of our speakers’ books. They are all great reads and invaluable resources for anyone looking to launch a new business, raise capital, grasp crowdfunding methodologies or simply further ones career.
Thank you again for joining us on this exciting journey that will continue in 2013 with the launch of our game-changing event platform destined to revolutionize Wall Street conferences. Stay tuned for further details and for the release of our 2013 event calendar which will include more women-centric conferences and culminate with the world’s most influential crowdfunding event encompassing the largest gathering of industry leaders.
As we step into another year and onto a planet made pure by the recent Armageddon, I look forward to working with you all on propagating a different financial culture – one that strengthens our economy and uplifts our society.
Happy 2013 and beyond!
President & Founder