Judith B. Wagner came to Colorado in 1972 to work at Boettcher and Company in the field of finance. She was responsible for investment research and interviewed leaders in banking, technology, and aviation across Colorado, Utah, Kansas and Nebraska.
Wanting to educate women and help them build financial confidence, Wagner started an investment management company, Wagner Investment Management, Inc. in 1975. The firm, the first woman-owned investment firm in Colorado, focused on educating women to manage their investments. Her degree in history taught her to focus her investment philosophy on long-term strategies. Women had just recently obtained access to banking and investment services for the first time in history. She was actively involved in changing the financial landscape in Colorado including becoming the first female President of the Chartered Financial Analysts Society of Colorado.
Wagner was one of the founders of the Women’s Bank of Denver, opening in 1978; and she hired the first woman President and CEO of a bank in Colorado. Following this lead, other banks promoted women to management positions, where historically 80% of bank employees were women and less than 3% were in management.
Wagner also elevated the status of women in politics by providing financial support and the strategic advice they needed to be successful. She co-founded Electing Women to support women running for political office. Six other states have adopted this program that raises funds for women running for Governor or U.S. Senate seats.
In addition, Wagner co-founded the first center for women’s health research at a university in the US, The Center for Women’s Health Research, at the University of Colorado. For the first time in US history the importance of medical research on women was focused on separately studying women. Judi and her husband provided the funding for the first endowed chair, named the “Judith and Joseph Wagner Chair of Women’s Health Research.” The first National Research Conference on Women will convene in 2016 in Denver due to her leadership.