Cafecito Session #6 -Wellness @ Cigna

On September 17, 2019, Cigna hosted the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania for “Cafecito.” Cafecito is a women’s breakfast series started by board member Melissa Martinez, which focuses on fostering deeper relationships among Philadelphia-area minority attorneys. The session, entitled “Calm Mind, Open Heart,” explored mindfulness as a tool to manage stress and promote overall health and wellness and included mindfulness meditation, breathing exercises, and a gentle, moving meditation.  

 The Cigna Team presenting on this topic was:

·         Margo Ling Staricco- Program Manager at the Cigna Healthy Life Fitness Center

·         Dr. Rick Conforto- Psychologist who leads twice monthly virtual meditation sessions for Cigna employees and provides on-site individual counseling to Cigna employees as part of Cigna's Employee Assistance Program

·         Julia Kerns McKenzie - Family health nurse practitioner and registered nurse who provides health care to Cigna employees

Thank you for your support Cigna!




Cafecito Session #5

Instead of having a speaker come in and talk about a particular topics, typical of our previous sessions, HBA-PA board members Renee Garcia and Melissa Martinez moderated a discussion on some common issues women, and particularly minority women, face— asking for a raise, changing jobs to competing firms or in-house, ‘changing the narrative’, showcasing your achievements — and discussed generally what may be holding us back from achieving our goals and how we can address those hurdles. This session was inspired by the idea that we do not need to reinvent the wheel—we can learn from one another. Thank you to our session sponsor Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Session Date: April 12, 2019

Cafecito Session #4-Women, Finances & Investing - Smart Financial Strategies for Every Stage of Life

Message from PNC

Thank you so much for the privilege of hosting the Hispanic Bar Association’s Cafecito!  This session featured Jason Korff, PNC Investment Financial Advisor, and Erin Brand, PNC Wealth Management Wealth Strategist, who presented on Women, Finances & Investing - Smart Financial Strategies for Every Stage of Life.  When it comes to planning for retirement, women face a different set of challenges than men. These challenges include:

·         Greater longevity

·         Decreased earnings potential

·         Employment opportunities

·         Interrupted career tracks

·         Tempered returns

We discussed effective strategies for addressing many of the unique financial issues that women face in each stage of their lives including:

·         Saving for retirement

·         Estate planning

·         Funding education and 529 plans

·         Insurance (life and disability)

·         Approaches to paying off debt

·         Health Savings accounts, Dependent Care accounts, 401Ks and other employer-provided benefits

·         Saving for emergencies

 Below are some takeaways from this session that can help you achieve the retirement lifestyle you are envisioning:

 Determine the income you’ll need in retirement

As a general rule, you’ll need roughly 70- 80% of your average annual income to maintain the same lifestyle you were accustomed to prior to retirement. It should be noted, however, that everyone’s situation is unique.

 Pay yourself first

Once you know how much you’ll need, you can start setting goals. When it comes to choosing between putting money in your retirement fund and allocating it elsewhere, generally speaking, it’s best to pay yourself first. Remember, you can’t take out loans for retirement.

 Start early and take the “free” money

Participating in an employer-sponsored retirement plan – like a 401(k) – is easily one of the best and most effective ways to start putting money aside for retirement. A 401(k) includes numerous benefits, starting with the ability to contribute pre-tax dollars into your retirement assets, which may even help lower your tax bill.  In addition, contributions made to a 401(k) will potentially grow tax-deferred. This means you won’t pay any income taxes until you actually withdraw the money. Best of all, many employers will match your contributions, essentially adding “free” money to your account.

 Plan for the care you may need

Many people don’t realize that health insurance pays for doctor and hospital bills only if you are sick or injured, and that Medicare will only cover a short stay in a nursing home or limited at-home care, but only under strict conditions. You may want to explore the option of Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI). LTCI can help pay for costly medical expenses in the untimely event of debilitating illness or injury. Without LTCI, you may have to cover these costs out-of-pocket, which could take a major bite out of your retirement assets.

 Look towards your future

Retirement planning might at first seem complicated or even overwhelming, but it’s important you take control so you can achieve the retirement lifestyle you’re envisioning. And remember, you don’t have to go it alone.  A financial advisor can help you control your finances, reach your personal goals, and act as a sounding board to help you avoid making emotional decisions.  If you would like to further discuss anything we covered today, or have other questions, please feel free to reach out directly to Jason ( and Erin (

 About Jason: As a PNC Investments Financial Advisor with over 21 years of experience in the financial services industry, Jason Korff’s job is to help you discover where you want your assets to take you, and to aid you in utilizing all of the resources at your disposal to get you there.  His approach to financial planning centers on understanding his clients, their family, their goals and their needs, all so he can better connect them with the appropriate resources at the appropriate times. The result is a series of personalized, comprehensive recommendations that are tailored to each client.

 About Erin: As a Vice President and a Wealth Strategist, Erin Brand provides advice on complex estate and other wealth strategy issues. She has a high level of technical experience in estate, tax and wealth strategy issues. Erin works with a team of specialists in investment management, trust and banking services to help clients achieve their financial objectives.

Cafecito Session #3-The Art of Networking

Speaker: Beth Rosenfeld

Topic: The Art of Networking

Firm Sponsor: Kleinbard

Date: December 14, 2018

Message from the Speaker

Greatly enjoyed my time with this dynamic and accomplished group of women!

Understanding that our session contained a mix of individuals in different roles, with varying levels of professional experience, as well as different networking demands and goals, my primary objective was to ensure that all who attended walked away with one or two new ideas that could be implemented right away.

 The main topics consisted of:

•       Introductions

•       The importance of Internal AND external networking

•       Understanding the value of a well-defined process & strategy in business development

•       Networking events & 1:1 meetings

•       Timely follow-up as a non-negotiable

•       Asking for referrals

•       Organization, tips & tools


Thank you to all who attended!  If I can be of any further help to you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly!  I can be reached at:

What is "Cafecito"?

Started by HBAPA board member and bankruptcy associate at Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP Melissa Martinez, Cafecito is a women’s breakfast series.

What is the goal? The goal of the series is to create an informal and intimate environment for minority women attorneys to discuss challenges they are facing in the workplace and to benefit from the experience and advice of other attendees during a breakfast session before work.

Why is the session invite-only? We believe the smaller-group setting alows the attendees to work on building deeper relationships, rather than just more relationships—quality over quantity! This environment fosters open and honest discussion, and allows everyone the opoprtunity to share and participate. The sessions are capped at 20 or so attendees.

What is our long term goal? We would like to expand the audience to include more members from other affinity groups and perhaps bring in speakers for longer coaching sessions.

Interested in attending, presenting, or sponsoring? Reach out to

Cafecito Session #1-Personal Branding with Heather Tranen

We live in a world where just simply doing a good job in your role is no longer enough. If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it, does it actually fall? If we do good work and know our s*it, but don’t tweet about it, does it even matter? How do you build a personal brand without seeming over the top?

I recently showed a group of super badass ladies from the Hispanic Bar Association of Pennsylvania and their guests how to get started on building their personal brand. Managing identities as both a woman and a minority make it difficult to grasp the concept of building a personal brand without feeling like one is bragging or being obnoxious. Studies show it’s especially crucial for women to be their own cheerleaders. In a male-dominated field such as law, it’s an especially sensitive art to master. In today’s society, it’s becoming increasingly important to not only do a good job in our work, but to also establish ourselves as industry experts and share our expertise to the twitterverse, instagrammers, and Linkedin connections. Through an effective personal brand, we attract clients, influence others, and become more respected by our peers for our work.

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Below are some takeaways from this session that will help other badass lawyer ladies build their personal brand and help them share their expertise outside of the office.

Be yourself. The most important part of personal branding is simple, but perhaps the most difficult. Be yourself. Your voice is your power, and I want you to make sure you’re leveraging yours in the best possible way. Having knowledge is one thing, but sharing it (in the right way) is what sets you apart as a real thought leader.

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Regardless of your audience, platform, or forum, knowing and understanding who you are and how you provide value is imperative. During our session, we did my favorite character building exercise, where I challenged the women to define what they believe to be their personal brand. Here’s what I came up with for myself:

Forward-thinking career and content strategist who gets to the point and uncovers your best self. English major geek. Recovering New Yorker. Bravo enthusiast. Mom of two boys who always have dirty faces. 

Getting Started. During a webinar hosted by Shewolf, founder Jordan Lacenski shared, “Your personal brand is what other people think about when they hear your name.” What do people think when they hear yours? You’re responsible for putting the information you want at the front of their minds. I asked the group if they wanted people to think of cheese fries, litigation, immigration law, or something totally different. There are a variety of ways to share knowledge and to connect with constituents. Making yourself visible is important! This can be through engaging in Twitter or engaging with the right people at your firm through networking events.

Overall, to build a strong personal brand, you want to make sure you are choosing the right platforms (this can be within the virtual space, such as social media, or the real world, like meetings and conferences).

Also, think about your message - what do you want to say? What are your expertise? What are your goals?

Get on the right platform


This shows the reach of the popular platforms. Consider your audience. Who are your target clients? Where do you find them? Strategically reaching them is key. Remember to start small. Pick one platform that you think your audience is on and go full force. No one is expecting you to be a social media guru out of the gate.

Content is king. Be consistent. Make sure you’re posting a good amount (but don't be obnoxious). I doubt that this has reached the law industry but most people don't read a thing. Trying to tell stories in fun pretty pictures or gifs/jifs (whatever the kids are saying these days) will grab people’s attention. Gifs are great resources

Sharing is caring. Share what cool people are doing. The bigger the following the better. This will get you noticed in their realm and have them see what you’re doing eventually too. Think about how you’d act in real life. Have dialogues. Engage. Also keep in mind that hashtags are the secret code you need to get into the cool parties. Piggybacking off of big ones will help you to get noticed and be part of the community

Work smarter. There are tools out there to help you schedule and manage your postings. Hootsuite is what I use. Feedly is a great way to aggregate content to find articles to post. Anything you can do to keep consistent, quality content will help you stay visible and interesting.

Who’s doing it well. Believe it or not, some lawyers are out there doing cool stuff on social media! Here are some examples I shared during the session:

Get in with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a powerful tool in many ways. You can both target clients by having a compelling, searchable headline and share content through its blog feature. You can also make connections with the right people and participate in industry-specific groups.


Get out there IRL. Folks need to see you to hear you. Get out there and not only attend conferences, but present at them. Join affinity groups and participate (or even organize) networking events. Whatever direction you go in, it’s important to take initiative beyond the everyday grind of your job. Invest time in yourself and in your interests.

When in doubt think like a white man. So many women are apprehensive about putting ourselves out there in this way. Traditionally, white men don’t give a crap if what they say is compelling or interesting. Channel some of that confidence, while mastering the sharing of yourself.

Have fun with all of this! Building a personal brand serves as a way to express your creativity, build meaningful relationships, create more visibility for yourself and your firm, and establish yourself as a true innovator in your field.

Need help? Feel free to contact me for a free consultation!

About the Blogger: Heather is an award-winning career consultant and content strategist helping people and organizations to find their schtick and make s*it happen. Visit to learn more about how you go beyond your resume to take your career to the next level.