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As the 2019 International Women's Month theme "Balance for Better" suggests, balance drives creativity, peace and a better working world.


Kathleen Leavenworth's headshot

Kathleen Leavenworth

Content Coordinator/ Journalist

This March, we celebrate all the strong women in our own lives and the ones who’ve paved the way for women everywhere to be whomever they want to be, to be confident and to succeed. As the 2019 International Women’s Month theme “Balance for Better” suggests, balance drives creativity, peace and a better working world.

At KLR 52% of our professionals are women, with women leading our wealth management team, human resources, tax and marketing departments, and Newport office. We caught up with a few of these inspirational women to hear their stories.

Proving Them Wrong

When KLR Partner Yasmin Causer began her career in public accounting, she faced a challenging environment as both a woman, and a person of color. Hailing from Pakistan, Yasmin had quite a culture shock when she entered what was, at the time, a highly white male dominated profession.

“There were definitely people who doubted my abilities,” she recalls.

But Yasmin knew she had to make the most out of her career choice. As she shares, “You get what you put into it.”

One of Yasmin’s goals was to build a significant practice at her firm. When she reached that milestone, she was proud to have proved those who doubted her ….and that was only the beginning of Yasmin’s incredible success.

She has since become a partner at KLR, another goal she hoped to reach.

As far as Yasmin’s next step? She is determined to educate herself on philanthropy and how she can help her clients make the most impactful donations with their wealth.

Yasmin has taken several mission trips, most recently to a refugee camp in Ethiopia with USA for UNHCR (UN Refugee Agency), where she serves as board member. Yasmin and her husband have been involved with the refugee issue for more than ten years, and she relishes any opportunity to travel to educate herself on refugees and the struggles they face.

And she enjoys sharing this knowledge with others.

“I deal with a lot of donors and find that they want to do good. They want to give back but don’t always know how. Taking trips like this helps me answer those questions for my clients.”

Where does Yasmin draw inspiration for her charitable efforts?

“Princess Diana’s compassion for AIDS patients was eye-opening,” Yasmin says, “It was amazing that she used her public platform to kill the stigma that shaking hands with an AIDS patient would result in contracting the disease. I always admired her confident compassion.”

Embracing independence

Like Yasmin, Laura Yalanis, Shareholder & head of our Newport office, embraces opportunities to educate herself and to grow personally and professionally.

When Laura became a KLR shareholder in 2015, she was thrilled with her achievement to join what she calls, “an elite group of people”.

Fast forward 4 years and now Laura is director of our tax department, another exciting milestone.

Needless to say, Laura’s days are always busy. How does she find time to have a personal life?

As she says, “As I developed in my career, long-time clients became friends.” “My two worlds started to meld. Going out to dinner with clients was no longer only a business outing, but a fun night out with friends,” she shares.

Laura credits her success to a variety of mentors, including Rich Casten, Bob Victor and Alan Litwin — three industry leaders who helped Laura develop into the professional she is today.

But no one stands out in Laura’s mind quite like her foster mother. “She taught me how to be self-sufficient and independent. She took care of our family- fostered more than 20 kids and adopted one. We weren’t related by blood, but we were family. She did everything to help us succeed.”

Giving and Gaining Inspiration

Chief Human Resources Officer, Christine Scarafoni shares a similar bond with the woman who raised her. As she says, “My mom has always been my biggest ally.”

Christine’s path hasn’t always been the easiest, but she has maintained a positive attitude and a perseverance to be the best she can be, inspired by her mom and other women who have shaped her life and career.

Christine began her career in HR while working towards her college degree as a young single mom. Through hard work and a strong drive, she was able to work full time, attend college, and raise her two children.

Today, Christine has two Masters degrees in Business Administration and Organizational Leadership and over 25 years of HR experience under her belt. She has reached new heights and achieved more than she could have imagined. She has led teams of up to 450 people, implemented new technologies, and promoted diversity and inclusivity in the workplaces she has led. Christine has also taken up teaching, leading classes at Nichols College and Suffolk University.

So, what’s in store for Christine’s future?

“There are many exciting things I’m looking forward to bringing to KLR,” she says, “I’m really aiming to be the best I can be where I am right now.”

There are a couple people who make Christine’s days brighter, too. "My grandchildren Rowan and Harper are my absolute pride and joy,” she shares.

Yasmin, Laura and Christine embody the hope, perseverance and dedication that has allowed women to Better the Balance, Better the World and #BalanceforBetter

After all, “Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women.”

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