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TV pilot on women’s issues


Two Des Moines women decided that there was not enough information available to encourage women to become financially independent and they decided it was time to do something about it.

Eileen Gannon, a financial consultant for Smith Barney, and Wicker Van Orsdel, who is active in several local organizations, will be hosting a TV series called “Feather Your Nest Egg.” Together with producer Steve Schott and Applied Art and Technologies production company, they have put together six episodes that detail women’s financial and lifestyle choices.

“We’re finding that finances and investing is a hot topic with both men and women,” Schott said. “They want realistic solutions, not just the boring, glazed-over information that’s already out there. Anyone can look at the financial network and get a stock report.”

Schott said Gannon’s experience in portfolio management led her to conclude that women need information presented to them in a way that connects with their lives, such as in terms of security and sending kids to college. When they looked into this area, they found no TV programs of this sort and saw an opportunity to provide a resource for women at different stages of their lives.

“Our research shows that many women let their husbands handle the finances, but why?” Schott said. “This show will help women to make realistic choices that can positively affect their lives down the road.”

Each episode will feature guests who have personal experiences to share, and as hosts, Gannon and Van Orsdel will facilitate discussion with the audience. Gannon will be the “financial voice” offering tips to viewers and Van Orsdel will “be the voice of every women who wants to live her life and have nice things,” Schott said.

The first segment, called “Getting out of Debt,” covers how to recover financially and save money for the future while maintaining an active lifestyle. “Wills and Estates” deals with planning ahead. “Power to Change Your Life” offers motivation for women to get out of dead-end jobs and start enjoying a better quality of life. “Elder Care” deals how to take care of aging parents and planning for long-term care. “Mid-Life Transition” is aimed at women who need to adapt to a new lifestyle, maybe due to divorce. “Investing 101” gives tips on how investors of any age can put away extra money each month.

Following the tapings, Schott plans to have a Los Angeles-based company help with selling the show for syndication. If all goes as planned, the shows would be picked up by national television or cable.

The tapings will be Friday, Saturday and Monday at Applied Art and Technology’s Urbandale studio at 2430 106th St. Members of the public are invited to be part of the audience and have their questions aired on national television, Schott said. To be considered for the audience, call Tracey at Applied Art Technology at (515) 331-7400.

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