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Women Bisnow
March 27, 2008


This issue of Washington Women is presented by
Reznick Group:
"Building Business Value"


By Karin Tanabe for Bisnow on Business

How do you show your belief in the company you work for? Start as a customer. Judith Wilson, VP of Bernstein Global Wealth Management, was a client of Bernstein’s before she was asked to switch sides of the table. “I was a single career woman for most of my life,” says Wilson who was at Arthur Andersen and UNISYS before coming to Bernstein in 2006. “I wanted an investment firm that would take care of me and my long-term financial needs.” And now that’s what she does for others, working with individuals, families and an increasing number of women.

“We watch the inaugural parades from here,” says Wilson on the Bernstein balcony overlooking the President’s digs.


Wilson began her career the Washington way—in politics. Her plan was to work for a Big Six accounting firm after college, but in an election year, she was bitten by the political bug. She started her career as Director of Personnel for the National Republican Committee in ’79, and went on to work on the first campaign of Texas Governor Bill Clements, as National Press Coordinator for the Reagan-Bush campaign, and under Richard Allen, then-consultant to the Republican National Committee, after he stepped down as National Security Advisor.


“Because we’re long term, we’re not reacting strategically to this market volatility,” says Wilson in her office. “Tactically we are, but not strategically. It’s going to be okay in the long run.”


Wilson left the marble halls of Washington for Arthur Anderson where she says there weren’t many female role models because there weren’t many females, period. “Arthur Andersen put me on a fast-track women’s partner program because they needed more women partners.” Like many women who lacked an old-girls’ network as they rose in their careers, Wilson is giving back, most recently as a Corporate Ambassador with Vital Voices, a Washington-based NGO that supports women’s interests globally. “I never had a passion to be a doctor, lawyer or scientist but I always had a passion for learning and growing and being successful. I want to help other women do the same thing.”

The U.S. Corporate Ambassadors program—a partnership among Vital Voices, local businesswomen's organizations across the Middle East and North Africa, and the Middle East Partnership Initiative of the U.S. Department of State—allows American female executives to work with women abroad to increase the number of women in business and make women-owned businesses stronger. “This world is no longer country-by-country but a global community. Women need to be in leadership roles—they need to go to the table and develop solutions.”

This year’s U.S. Corporate Ambassadors program kicked off earlier this month with a trip to Jordan by participants Beth Brooke, Global Vice Chair for Strategy and Regulatory Affairs at Ernst & Young, Catherine Yandel, Partner of NewPlan LLC, and Marilyn Harris, VP of Marathon Oil. Wilson will be heading to Morocco for her Corporate Ambassador duties in June. Mentoring has officially gone global.

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