Meet a Nasty Woman: 5 Questions with Charlene Quaresma
Charlene Quaresma is a Nasty Woman and Financial Advisor with Northwestern Mutual in Portland, Oregon. Her mission as a Financial Advisor is to inspire her clients to dream courageously and live with purpose. Charlene is working on a calendar project called Finance, Fashion and Feminism. The project features powerful, badass women and also educates about the history of financial rights for women in America. In honor of her mother’s struggle with Parkinson’s Disease, Charlene facilitates a support group for Parkinson’s patients and their care-partners for Parkinson's Resources of Oregon and sits of the Advisory Council for the Brian Grant Foundation, started by the former Portland Blazer who was diagnosed with early onset PD at age 36. Charlene is on the leadership team of eWomen Network for Entrepreneurial Women and a dual member of Rental Housing Alliance of Oregon as a landlord and Financial Advisor. Read our interview with her here.
What makes you a Nasty Woman?
As a woman in financial services, I represent only 8% of Financial Advisors that are female. I am mentoring three women in my office and am educating the community, (mainly women) about how they can get ahead with a plan.
Share an experience that shaped your views or helped get you involved in activism.
As someone who identified as goth in high school, I graduated one year before the mass shooting at Columbine. Watching the debates on CSPAN, I was disheartened that Congress was debating Marilyn Manson, video games and the “Trench Coat Mafia” versus bullying, gun violence and access to weapons. They were demonizing people that looked like me. Since 1999, there have been so many mass killings and no real gun reform. Since then, I have been very active in politics. I participated in the WTO protests in Seattle and was arrested for protesting the IMF and World Bank in DC in April of 2000. Knowing that my protests in the streets in opposition to the War in Iraq was not going to get the message through, I produced a television show on public access to shake up media messaging. It was a Fox News parody. I wanted to get people thinking about how mass media was shaping and selling viewpoints rather than informing the public. It still blows me away that the pundits always refer to Americans as “consumers” versus “citizens.” Put simply, activism is a way of life by owning our responsibility to be better citizens.
What advice do you have for people who want to help enact change and push progress but don’t know how to get involved?
Educate yourself. Figure out who your representatives are, both locally and federally. Tell them what you want them to do with whatever is on their docket. Choose the causes that you believe in and connect with others that believe in those too.
If you could look into the future, 10 years from now, and see that real progress has been made, what does that look like to you?
I want to see women and minorities have proportionate representation on boards and C-Level positions. I want there to be some equity and balance for our citizens that need help and assistance. I want to see more investments in those that need help versus only catering to the top in our schools, job programs, food and health assistance.
Share with us a favorite wine memory, bottle or pairing.
As the daughter of Portuguese immigrants, I have always been a fan of Port. My grandfather was a winemaker back in the Azores. I remember being a kid and helping with the harvest. In the movies, they stomp on the grapes with their bare feet. Though romantic, that’s not how we did. We did stomp on the grapes, but it was with rainboots! Some of my favorite memories of my grandfather was making wine with him the summer of 1989.