Snapshot of U.S. Economy

cropped ny fed picThe New York Fed’s Research and Statistics group has launched “U.S. Economy in a Snapshot.” The site describes it as a “monthly presentation designed to give you a quick and accessible look at developments in the economy.”  The best part of the site is the accompanying short slide deck that gives a succinct yet thorough current state of the economy. The first couple of slides give the reader a quick overview of the state of GDP, employment, and inflation. The slide deck lives up to the series’ title. In the first two slides, the reader really does have a snapshot of the current economy!  Click here for the recent August 2015 slide deck.

The short descriptions are easy to read and understand. In addition to the pdf of the slides, the site offers users the data to download. I can see this site being used widely in classrooms and professional arenas.

It is important to note that “U.S. Economy in a Snapshot” does not necessarily reflect the position of the New York Fed or the Federal Reserve System. It solely represents the views and analyses of the individual contributors from the Research & Statistics group.

The upcoming editions of “U.S. Economy in a Snapshot” will be posted: September 21; October 19; November 16; December 21. It is released at 10am EST.

“Ambition is Feminine”

I had the pleasure of attending a breakfast event this week in downtown Chicago that featured Campbell’s Soup Company CEO, Denise M. Morrison.  It was a lovely event in which Ms. Morrison talked about the importance of courage and the presence of women in powerful positions.  I enjoy attending leadership events such as this one and am always interested in the presenter’s insights.  However, I usually leave feeling like I did not get many answers or in the speakers’ defense didn’t quite grasp them.  And, in a cruel twist, I usually feel like I am less destined to do something great than when I walked into the room.

I am not sure why these events produce these feelings, but I am certain that it is beneficial in the long-run.  Questioning my career choices, future prospects, and leadership style as I depart the building is a helpful exercise.  Disappointment is a strong feeling that if harnessed could probably solve the world’s energy problems.  The question really becomes how to turn this feeling and the experience into positive action.

Upon reflection, Ms. Morrison said something that did provide me with some answers.  She recounted how her mom would always say to her and her sisters, “ambition is feminine.”  I found myself going back to this phrase in my head as I chatted with the financial service professionals at my table.  They happened to all be women.  As the speaker reflected on her observations of women at Campbell’s Soup, I thought to myself, what if we could reprogram our minds and think that:  ambition is maternal; ambition is for the poor and wealthy alike; ambition is for moms and dads alike; ambition is for girls.

Disappointment and ambition have something in common.  We would not feel disappointment without having ambition.  I wonder what the state of affairs is for women in the financial services industry.  What is the balance of disappointment versus realized goals?  Next time I am in front of an audience, I won’t shy away from sharing my disappointments.  It is easier to share success stories, but perhaps equally as important is to share what I want to see changed.  Next time you are in front of an audience, especially young women, share your successes and disappointments as a way to reassure yourself that ambition is a driving force and disappointment just a symptom.  This small amount of truth telling may in fact help solve some challenges by simply giving them voice. In turn, this should help all our organizations realize greater success in attracting, retaining, and promoting ambitious women.



A blog designed to act as a resource and sounding board for promoting economic education.