Avideh Safaei, an executive director and financial advisor at J.P. Morgan Securities, told the attendees at the Outstanding Women in Business event held at The Castle Hotel & Spa in Tarrytown on April 4 that there’s a need for women to be proactive and make sure they’re financially positioned to cope with any eventuality.
Presented by Westfair Communications, publisher of the Westchester County Business Journal, Fairfield County Business Journal and WAG magazine, the underlying theme for the gathering was that being a woman who has achieved success in business does not automatically insulate that person from the everyday issues of women’s health, wealth and well-being.
“We’ve been in a very long period of slow growth in the economy and trending downward from here,” she said.
Safaei said, “History has shown that markets work in cycles, usually five-year cycles, and we’ve exceeded that this time. So, if you are invested appropriately with some downside protection in the portfolio, less aggressive, you’ve been shown that you will be rewarded for it, so don’t panic. Sell everything, and then try to get back in when the market goes up: it just never works. That’s what you feel like you want to do, but that’s not what you should do. You kind of sit tight, weather the storm, but do definitely make sure your portfolio has a little bit of safety in it.”
Safaei had some general advice for those in the audience. “It may be a good time to take a little risk off the table. Cut back some of your profits in some of the stocks you have that may be a little more aggressive and reinvest in things that are a little bit less aggressive, whether that means having a good mix of different asset classes like fixed-income in the portfolio that has more downside protection, or even some other stocks that have a lower-risk profile.”
Another speaker was Marria Pooya, managing partner of Greenwich Medical Spa. Started in 2005, the medical spa now includes locations in Westport and Greenwich, Connecticut, and Scarsdale, New York. There are 23 staff members providing treatments including CoolSculpting, Botox and fillers. “I wanted a business that helped empower women,” Pooya said. “I wanted to be the best med spa in the area by giving the best quality of care, the best customer service and to be completely honest and transparent with patients.” In addition to the medical spa locations, Greenwich Medical Spa has developed a line of skincare products, ArieedMD.
Pooya said there are three things anyone concerned with antiaging should be using. “Sunscreen is the number one antiaging product that’s out there. You should not leave home even in the winter without sunscreen. Number two is vitamin C.” She said that vitamin C helps the body deal with free radicals created by sun exposure, pollution and even stress. “Finally, a retinoid or Retin-A (a form of vitamin A), because that helps with fine lines and wrinkles. It helps build collagen as well as thicken your skin and shrink your pores.”
Dr. Katherine Vadasdi, director of the ONS Women’s Sports Medicine Center, gave a presentation about injury prevention, including weakness and brittleness of the bones due to osteoporosis. She said posture often is overlooked as a contributing factor to back and neck pain and noted that a cause of pain in one part of the body may be located in a different area, or related to something as correctable as poor posture. “For a lot of women taking care of others, taking care of babies, we’re in a hunch position. We’re on our phones, we’re on our computers.” Vadasdi said she sees a lot of knee pain and injury. “A lot of women come in and say they have knee pain and I tell them to go strengthen their hips,” she said.
“Every decade you kind of have to reevaluate the activities you love to do, what injuries you’ve had and how you need to modify it a little bit so you can continue to do everything you want to do but do it safely,” Vadasdi said, emphasizing that people can’t do the exact same things at age 50 as they were doing at age 20. “Our bodies just can’t handle that without making some adjustments.”
Hannie Sio-Stellakis, public relations manager for Neiman Marcus Westchester, talked about fashion and reported that one of the major themes the store is incorporating into its spring fashions is “the hopeless romantic,” which involves embracing the feminine side. “You’ll see a lot of ruffles, a lot of florals,” she said. Another theme, “free spirit,” has its roots in the 70s. “It also embraces a lot of textural elements. A lot of designers are incorporating a lot of tribal hues, a lot of cultural patterns into a lot of the garments,” according to Sio-Stellakis. Another lifestyle theme is “colorful personality.” She said that while black and white is popular among business women in New York, the “colorful personality” theme introduces blocks of bright colors.
“’Urban sophisticate’ is one of my favorite trends, and it probably relates to about 90 percent of the women in this room and it really ranges from sort of great suiting, tailored blazers, to power jumpsuits. Jumpsuits are having a resurgence and we can’t keep them in the store,” she said.
Sio-Stellakis noted that in addition to showcasing the latest fashions designed to appeal to women in business, Neiman Marcus has been embracing technology, especially when it comes to online shopping. “People who do shop online can sign up for our new digital stylist program which we’ve recently launched,” she said. “They can actually share their shopping carts and identify an associate in the store, in the White Plains store, and they can chat with them and then come in and they can help you with your transactions and purchases.”
Dominica Valenti of Lafayette 148 New York, the New York-based women’s fashion brand named after the address in SoHo where it was founded, narrated a fashion show featuring some of the new items for spring.
Pamela S. Pagnani, vice president/brokerage manager of Sotheby’s International Realty in Greenwich was the moderator of the question and answer portion of the program.
The Castle Hotel & Spa was the partnering sponsor for “Outstanding Women in Business.” The Bronze sponsors were: J.P. Morgan; Neiman Marcus; Masterpiece Accounting Services; Greenwich Medical Spa; ONS Orthopaedic & Neurosurgery Specialists; and MYX Fitness. Supporters were: Rajni Menon; Gilda Bonanno LLC; The Kensington; Canyon Ranch; The Bristal Assisted Living; Le Caprice Paris; Professional Women of Westchester; Courtyard Traver; Women’s Enterprise Development Center; Medi Tresse; and Blossom Flower Shops.