Shiza Shahid Inspires at WLN Event in Seattle

By Mary DePaolo Haddad, Helsell Fetterman LLP:

Shiza Shahid, the keynote speaker for PLUS Foundation’s Women’s Leadership Network event in Seattle, inspired those in attendance by describing her childhood experience in Pakistan, the second worst country in the world for women to be born.  There, the average level of education for girls is 6 years to America’s 12.  Before getting accepted to Stanford, Shiza was a young activist and helped serve imprisoned women with children.  At Stanford, Shiza learned of the Taliban’s prohibition of girl’s education by Malala Yousafzai – who blogged about it.  Shiza wanted to give back to girls from her country from circumstances she found abhorrent and began working with Malala’s father.  She organized a summer camp for 26 girls to navigate their lives under the Taliban and help expose this human rights violation to empowered leaders whose influence could remedy it.

After Malala was shot by the Taliban at 15 for her activism for girls’ education and gender equality, Shiza rushed to her side and witnessed a miracle as Malala made a full recovery, stronger than ever before.   Malala, thereafter became the youngest Nobel Prize laureate, and directed the corresponding flood of monetary support to be used to educate girls around the world to grade 12.  Shiza left McKinsey and co-founded the Malala Fund that carries out this mission.  After serving as the fund’s CEO, Shiza created NOW Ventures that backs “mission driven” start-ups.

At the Women’s Foundation event, Mary Haddad and Shiza discussed why NOW Ventures backs mission driven startups and why they are expected to bring scalable change and measurable profit.  Shiza moved from the nonprofit sector, as the co-founder of the Malala Fund to create NOW Ventures to maximize the scale of change of mission driven companies.  At our event, she challenged women to engage in investing and understand that they are far more comfortable donating time and money.  While women in America enjoy far more opportunity in the market place than women in Pakistan, their rise into leadership positions over the last 30 years has stagnated.  While different, women in both Pakistan and America fail to progress in education and work for similar reasons; because they lack the support of their spouse, are held back simply because they are a woman (implicit gender bias), and disproportionately take on the burden of household chores and childcare responsibilities.

North Central Chapter Supports Urban Boatbuilders

On Thursday, November 9, 2017, PLUS North Central Chapter Committee members Zach Freeman, James Sorenson and Aaron Simon presented Urban Boatbuilders with a charitable contribution check for $3,500 from PLUS Foundation.

Urban Boatbuilders is a non-profit youth development program that builds high quality wooden boats with youth in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area.  The program hires youth apprentices who qualify as low-income and/or who have employment barriers.  The youth apprentices work alongside Urban Boatbuilders’ instructors learning technical boat building skills while earning money.    The program is a comprehensive program that seeks to empower youth through hands-on learning projects while working to expand the possibilities and paths they envision for their futures.  For more information on Urban Boatbuilders visit their website.

Conference Cause – PLUS Foundation Helps an Atlanta Charity

Daniel Auslander, RPLU of V3 Insurance Partners and current PLUS Foundation Board Member wrote the following recap of the Foundation’s 2017 Conference Cause initiative. Enjoy the recap and photos, and please consider donating to this fantastic cause.


PLUS members care.  PLUS Foundation corporate sponsors care.  And through the PLUS Foundation we give back.

It’s really not complicated.  For a few hours each year before the PLUS Conference begins a group of dedicated volunteers makes an effort to help people in need.  In Atlanta this year the PLUS Foundation, in partnership with a local not-for-profit organization, Lekotek, hosted a Halloween party for physically and mentally challenged children – many of whom had never attended a Halloween party before.

It was a wonderful event.  The room at our host hotel was filled with the happy faces of children and their families.  And the volunteers had a great time too!  It was obvious to every one in the room that it feels really good to give back – and at the same time provides a powerful reminder to us all of how truly fortunate and blessed we are.

The goal is simple – to make the host community better off than before when we arrived for the Conference – by making a difference to a local charity.  And for the 14th straight year the PLUS Foundation accomplished the mission.  Over the years the Foundation has donated more than $500,000 to local not-for-profit organizations.

Telling my family about Conference Cause – I was proud of the PLUS Foundation, PLUS, and its members.  It felt great to share our accomplishments.  We do not often have the opportunity boast about the insurance and professional liability sector – but there is no doubt in my mind that what we accomplished was special.

PLUS Foundation president Chuck Brady presented a check to Lekotek in Atlanta, but we are hoping to add our industry’s financial support of this great organization and we need your help! Make a donation for Lekotek today via the PLUS Foundation website.

You can help us make a difference to families with special needs.  From what we saw at the party I know they will be grateful for your gift.

The professional liability industry has given us all so much – a career, financial resources, business connections, friends and limitless opportunities.  The PLUS Foundation offers an easy way to give back.

Thank you for caring.

Daniel Auslander, RPLU