EQUITY IN THE FINANCE
ShePlace Launch Led by Goldman Sachs Pioneer Who Broke Through Glass Ceiling
Intent on reaching far beyond its headquarters in Park City, Utah, ShePlace has launched as an initiative by founder and Chief Executive Officer Jacki Zehner, who is focused on supporting the advancement of women and girls. Joining Zehner is Chief Operating Officer Madison Limanksy, a former managing partner at the fashion consultancy Farasha.
A pioneer in the financial-services industry, at the age of 32 Zehner was the first female trader at Goldman Sachs to make partner and the youngest woman to assume the role. Upon her departure from the firm in 2002, Zehner examined wealth management, eventually focusing on philanthropy while serving on the boards of nonprofit organizations, many of which promoted female empowerment. She eventually co-founded the Women Moving Millions organization.
“I finally decided to try to build that which I wanted to see in the world—a place, a platform, a community, for women+ who wholeheartedly want to support other women+,” Zehner said. “If we want to have a hope of achieving gender equity in our lifetime, we have to support, amplify and champion each other.”
Following her 17 years in fashion and production, Limansky joins ShePlace armed with a degree in gender studies from the University of Utah. Her combined experiences have shaped Limansky’s commitment to reshaping gender roles and beauty standards.
“As a gender studies graduate from the University of Utah,” Limansky said, “the opportunity to take my experience in fashion and production into this new role, where I can align my personal values with my professional endeavors, is a dream come true.”
Supporting the ShePlace mission to encourage women to “sister up” is a phrase Zehner uses to describe efforts that build the organization through cultivating camaraderie and growth among its women members. The organization will host virtual and on-site events, publish a monthly ShePlace newsletter, release a SheInvests e-newsletter, afford resources, offer educational opportunities and build an online community.
Still in its early launch period, ShePlace already boasts 300 members. Its first event is scheduled for May 20 as a virtual meetup hosted by the women-founded virtual-events company Run the World. The complimentary event will feature Ze Min Xiao, director of the Center for Equity and Belonging at the Economic Development Corporation of Utah, and Nubia Peña, senior adviser on equity and opportunity and director of the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs.
“We are looking forward to hearing about the ways in which these two women have been sistering up over the course of the pandemic and the work they do in our community to create inclusive spaces that have a focus on belonging,” Zehner said.
ShePlace is continuing to seek female collaborators including women artists, creators, business owners and writers to engage with its members and shatter gender inequity.
“It was time to do more here, in Utah, as well as nationally,” Zehner said. “Sadly, while the state is improving, Utah is middle of the pack [according to WalletHub’s ‘Best and Worst States for Women’] in this country in terms of living standards for women, and that is simply unacceptable to me. Together, we can do better.”