Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.
I'm a Certified Financial Education Instructor and financial coach for women. I launched my financial coaching business just over a year ago, because I'm passionate about helping women become financially healthy. I plan to transition to running my business full time this summer.
How would you define your professional mission?
My mission is to give women the support and tools that they need to take control of their money, break the taboo of discussing debt and income, and achieve their goals and dreams. I do this through one-on-one financial coaching, monthly Money Circle gatherings, my weekly Money Monday newsletter, and speaking engagements.
We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?
I studied political science in college, and was actively involved in environmental advocacy. I worked closely with organizations like Greenpeace and Sierra Club, which led to me moving to DC right after college. Initially, I continued to work on environmental issues (particularly climate change) during and internship at the National Wildlife Federation. From there, I moved on to the Pew Charitable Trusts, where I was able to be involved in strategic planning and evaluation throughout the organization. I'm grateful for my nonprofit experience, but after a while, I started to feel like I wasn't making a direct impact. I wanted to be able to do work that was making a difference on a daily basis, while also making me feel empowered and free. I joined several different women's organizations, and heard a very common theme. Women are stressed, confused, and anxious about money! I've always considered personal finance a hobby of mine, and financial literacy has come easy to me. I decided to start offering help to the women I was meeting- I would offer to create a budget template, or help them create a debt payment plan. That blossomed into a financial coaching business that I am so excited about! I finally feel like I've found a passion that I can really make into a career.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Seeing the positive changes that women can make in their lives once they feel free to do so. Sometimes all a person needs is someone to listen to them and give them permission to move forward. I can see their money mindset shifting, so that they can get out of debt, build up savings, ask for more, etc. It's really amazing the changes people make once they realize that they can!
What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?
I hope to create a community where women feel comfortable talking about money and supporting each other through their financial ups and downs. I also want to help individual women feel more in control of their money so that they can be more independent, feel less stressed, and live the life they want to live. My vision is that this will lead to wider spread empowerment for women.
What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
I love that I can literally see the positive impact that I'm making. I can see the mindset shifts that are happening for my clients while they are learning how to take control of their money. The world really opens up for them when they realize they don't have to be stuck in debt or living paycheck to paycheck. I also love the relationships that I've been able to form. As a coach, I can get personal with my clients, and many of them have become close friends of mine. The combination of impact and relationship-building is really important to me. I also love that I get to nerd out on a topic that is fun for me, and that I feel like an expert in.
Who are your role models?
I'm so obsessed with other women who are entrepreneurs. I never knew that entrepreneurship was an option for me until I met Emilie Aries, the CEO of Bossed Up, and my former life coach, Jessica Lyons. They showed me that you can make a career out of your passions. I also follow the women of Being Boss very closely, and I love Alexa Von Tobel (CEO of Learnvest), who I credit with getting me really into personal finance several years ago.
What would you say your personal superpower is?
I'd say that my superpower is that people feel comfortable opening up to me. People who have never talked to anyone about their financial problems end up telling me everything once I ask. I can listen without judgment, and make it easier for women to talk about taboo topics like money. It's really cathartic for both sides.
Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
It definitely is right now. I'm still working full-time, while building my business on the side. Plus, I'm involved with several women's organizations on a volunteer basis. I try to get plenty of sleep every night, which helps a lot. I also try to make sure to have at least one night a week (usually Mondays) where I don't have any obligations. This allows me to catch up on chores or leisure time.
Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?
For a long time, I didn't feel like I had a support system or network in DC. Luckily, I eventually found organizations like the Women's Information Network (WIN) and Bossed Up. Those groups connected me with women who are passionate about the same things as I am, and who love to build each other up. When I heard about Ellevate Network (after joining Ellevest), I knew I wanted a larger network that could support me as I grow as an entrepreneur. It's awesome that I can post my events and connect with people who are interested in what I do.