Created in partnership with our friends at PNC Bank.
The World Economic Forum’s 2020 Global Gender Gap Report found that it would take women 257 more years to economically catch up to men.
In 2021, PNC launched “Project 257: Accelerating Women’s Financial Equality,” an initiative designed to help close that financial gender gap.
On Sept. 14 — the 257th day of the year — it will offer an all-day event, including breakout sessions and presentations for attendees. Panelists will discuss recruiting and supporting women in the workforce, networking and more.
“I’m really excited about our event on Sept. 14 — the lineup of business leaders that we have set to be on some panels and to share their stories and just bring women together,” Dawn Morris says, vice president relationship manager for PNC Commercial Banking.
“[I’m looking forward to the] really dynamic speakers that we have queued up for that day, and I really think that’s going to be a very impactful event that we’re really hoping will draw a lot of women,” she says.
Morris, a career banker who has been at PNC for nearly 20 years, is dedicated to supporting women in her work. She spends her days assisting clients at PNC and her free time working as a fitness instructor, developing women’s health.
“At PNC, we have a strong commitment to women and to making a positive difference by leveraging all of our resources,” she says.
As part of PNC’s Project 257, it plans to be a model in recruiting, retaining, developing and advancing women leaders. PNC is also strengthening its focus on expanding access to credit to eligible businesses.
A PNC-certified women’s business advocate, Morris is trained to better support female clients’ and employees’ unique needs.
“That, again, really goes back to PNC’s efforts and commitment to working with women,” she says.
When she looks at the four key areas PNC names as contributing to the economic gender gap — under-representation in the workforce, pay disparities, unequal access to credit, and unpaid domestic work — Morris says she sees their relevance to her own background. She, for example, has been a caretaker for children and aging parents.
“I feel that [Project 257] is just very important because as I look through some of those four primary areas … I really can relate to that, so communicating our message throughout the Indianapolis area and to organizations that share our same passion is just very important,” Morris shares.
PNC has also committed to monitoring the policies it uses to evaluate creditworthiness and to investing in more community development financial institutions that primarily support women and marginalized entrepreneurs.
“It just calls back on PNC’s commitment to women and helping them as much as we can,” Morris says.
“As a financial institution that prospers when our customers prosper, it makes perfect sense that we would want to help tackle the economic gender gap,” says Beth Marcello, director of PNC Women’s Business Development in a 2021 press release. “Project 257 aligns with our brand purpose – when we accelerate women’s financial equality, we are making a positive difference, leveraging the power of our resources to help all move forward financially.”
Learn more at the upcoming Project 257 Day event at Maven Space on Sept. 14.
Jenna Williams is a writing specialist for a research nonprofit and a freelance journalist. In her free time, she runs marathons, watches bad ’90s television shows and (probably) single-handedly keeps Half Price Books in business.
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