3 easy ways to meet your 2020 money goals
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latina woman sitting at desk with checkbook and paperwork

Chances are your goals for 2020 will include everything from becoming more physically fit and sleeping better to achieving new career ambitions and becoming financially healthier.

So how do we avoid these goals turning into empty promises? And when it comes to your money, what is actually realistic? There is no one-size-fits-all model for financial wellness. Instead, it’s about starting where you are, setting goals that drive behavior change, and ultimately following through.

Here are three things that you can do today to improve your financial future.

Cut unnecessary spending

Most of us have unnecessary expenses that we can cut. The trick here is to find a few expenses that you can live without that don’t negatively impact your happiness. For example, I need to be well-caffeinated during the day, and I enjoy a nice glass of wine after work, so obviously I’m not going to cut my coffee or alcohol budget. My friends, colleagues, and husband can thank me later.

That said, I enjoy running outside, and I have used my gym membership exactly once in three months. It’s time for that membership to go. In that vein, think of all of your expenses that are well-intentioned, but you’re not using. Or identify a free alternative, such as using audiobook subscription services or library apps instead of buying books. There are great services out there that identify your recurring payments. First, check with your bank to see if they do it, and make a goal to cut a few of those if you can.

And it’s not just the small stuff. The neighborhood you live in, public versus private school for kids, and whether you can cook (as opposed to eating prepackaged or takeout food) all have a significant impact on your finances.

Consider a side hustle

It’s never been easier to take on a side hustle. Getting started can be as easy as decluttering your closet and selling items you no longer use on eBay, driving for ride-share services such as Uber or Lyft, or putting your skills to work as a freelancer. While I don’t recommend it, dumpster divers are even seeing success selling stuff on Amazon.

The beauty of a side hustle is you can spend as much–or as little–time and money as you have. What matters is that you pick something that works with your schedule, skills, and maybe even a passion that you’ve ignored for too long. The key here is to be intentional. Use the extra money to accelerate debt reduction, or save for a down payment on a home to get out of the rental cycle.

Another often-overlooked side hustle is getting more money from your current employer. If you haven’t received a raise in a while or are killing it in your current role, consider asking for more money. Just make sure you are asking the right way.

Automate where you can and commit to cash

Good financial hygiene is crucial to your financial health, and this means avoiding late fees, overdraft charges, and other penalties. Where possible, automate any and all recurring monthly expenses, such as your mortgage, utilities, and cell phone expenses. Late fees add up and impact more than just your bottom line.

And although it may seem crazy, try committing to cash. Studies have shown that when we have to pull out cash to pay for groceries or other daily expenses, we’re more careful about how much we spend. Set yourself a challenge. Commit to using cash for a short period of time and see how it feels. You may be surprised by how much less you spend.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Negotiate Like a Pro
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By Le Anne Harper

Study after study confirms that the gender wage gap in this country persists. According to PayScale, women earned 79 cents for every dollar earned by men in 2019 (“The State of the Gender Pay Gap,” 2020). Decades earlier, The New York Times reported that in 1980 women earned 70 cents for every dollar earned by men (“Women’s Roles vs. Social Norms,” 1986).

In nearly 40 years, the wage gap has only decreased by 9 cents! Sadly, it could take another 40 years to reach pay parity. The good news is you can change your personal earning power now.

Let’s pull back the curtain to share these ten insights that can help you negotiate like a pro:

  1. Your gender matters. Babcock and Laschever’s famous 2003 study of graduating master’s degree students found 57 percent of the men negotiated their first job offers while only 7 percent of the women did. Despite many collective gains, women often find salary negotiations challenging on a personal level. Generations of limiting gender norms have shaped you and can influence how you handle job offers. Will you be “agreeable” even if it means settling for less than you’re worth? Be aware of this insidious legacy so you won’t be limited by it.
  1. Don’t accept…yet. What’s the first thing you feel when you receive a job offer? Typically, it’s gratitude. By the time you’ve interviewed and showcased your myriad talents for a potential employer, you’ve often adopted a “please, pick me” mindset. If you finally get to an offer, it’s easy to ride that momentum (and relief!) to a fast “Yes, I accept,” especially if you’ve interviewed for several jobs without receiving an offer. Whatever you do, don’t accept…yet. With an offer in hand, the power shifts in your favor slightly, so press pause and assess the offer’s merits.
  1. Don’t overshare. When it comes to job offers, companies historically used a candidate’s most recent salary as a baseline and added approximately 10–30 percent to make an offer. This approach keeps people who have been underpaid in the past underpaid even as they move into new, more senior roles. California is one of 17 states (and counting) that has enacted protections to address this problem by prohibiting companies from requesting salary history; instead, companies place a value on a position’s responsibilities and set the budget accordingly. Instead, ask what the budget for the role is and decide if it aligns with your expectations.
  1. Negotiating can bridge the gender gap. Another significant finding of Babcock and Laschever’s study was that the women who did negotiate were able to increase their salaries by approximately the same percentage as the men who negotiated. This means that failing to ask for a higher initial offer is a key factor in their lower starting salaries. But don’t let the historical collective figures discourage you. You have the power to bridge the gap. As with the adage Closed mouths don’t get fed, you can learn exactly what they’re willing to pay if you open your mouth and ASK.
  1. The first offer is rarely the best offer. If you’ve ever been a hiring manager, you know there’s almost always wiggle room on an offer. In fact, we’re so used to being countered that we often factor that into our offers. We might propose $190,000 to our final candidate, so that when s/he suggests that $210,000 will seal the deal, we can all feel good about compromising in the middle at $200,000. Companies typically set a target range for a role, but exceptions are pretty common. The policies vary, but there’s usually some flexibility. Someone in the hiring hierarchy has the power to shuffle their budget to give you a little more.
  1. Know your value. There’s power in understanding your value to the companies where you interview as well as to the specific business unit/hiring manager you’ll support, since that’s usually who has to go to bat for your bigger offer. Get clear about how the company makes or saves money and be able to directly articulate how your skills fit into those equations. Bonus points if you can share specific examples of successful past efforts that demonstrate your expertise and quantify the business impact (e.g. reduced supplier spend by $1.5M, increased employee retention by 40 percent). Use a salary tool like PayScale, Glassdoor, Salary.com, or Indeed to calculate your desired salary. Adjust up or down for significant factors like supply/demand of your skillset, cost of living, a terrible commute (or lack of one), company benefits, culture/values, lifestyle (frequent travel, long hours).
  1. Toss any baggage. Examine and release any emotional baggage you may be carrying from prior interviewing or work experiences, such as insecurities about being laid off or resentment about feeling underappreciated. This isn’t about invalidating your feelings; it’s about sidelining them so you can be effective in salary negotiations. You can’t afford to convey any hint of resentment, entitlement, or desperation. Work through any lingering feelings, get grounded, and approach your negotiations with a clear, confident state of mind and well-researched data.
  1. Be the key. Most for-profit companies are constantly assessing how to grow, which basically means saving money or unlocking new revenue. If your expertise addresses one of these objectives, then you become the key that unlocks the solution. Do some research beforehand so you can precisely target companies that most need and value your key. For example, you wouldn’t try to sell steak knives to vegans. One way to figure out who needs you is think about what keeps a company’s leaders up at night. When you can solve that company’s problems, focus your sights on them. That’s how you can command top dollar during negotiations.
  1. Get creative. There are many elements to a job offer, and salary is only one facet. If a balanced lifestyle is what you seek, think about asking for a remote working schedule or unlimited PTO. Companies have a range of creative perks, some of which might add more value than cash. These fringe benefits are not to be overlooked; it can be fun, like ordering from a restaurant’s secret menu. You can get creative in your asks but consider the cost and possible upside. For example, asking to leave early on Wednesdays for three months so you can complete your MBA will benefit the company and make you look smart.
  1. Practice poise. Especially if you’re not an experienced negotiator, this process can be awkward or downright panic-inducing. It’s nerve-wracking for most people, so now is not the time to wing it. Practice out loud with someone you trust and keep practicing until you can convey your salary request with clarity, supporting data, and confidence without ego, apology, or entitlement.

Now you’ve got some tools for getting into the right mindset and making a sound business case for your ask. Be bold and remember that negotiating works most of the time (89% according to Inc. Magazine)!

Le Anne Harper leads the Diversity & Inclusion practice at Katalyst Group, a talent advisory firm that finds unicorns and purple squirrels for industry-leading companies like The Gap, Samsung, Nike, and Sony. She is a talent consultant and diversity evangelist who has spent 20 years helping companies transform and thrive by recruiting and cultivating the world’s best talent.

 

5 Facts About Financial Wellness Your Business Needs to Know
LinkedIn
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By Richelle Delia, PhD

Financial wellness is a relatively new buzzword that focuses on a person’s knowledge of the personal financial topics and their ability to successfully navigate financial decisions. It pertains an individual’s ability to understand and choose financial products, services and mechanisms to best allow them to reach their goals taking the ebbs and flows of life into context.

Even if your business is not in the financial sector, get to know these five facts about financial wellness to create a supportive workplace and maintain staff productivity.

  1. A lack of financial wellness means loss of productivity for your business.

The media constantly reminds us about the poor financial situation many Americans face. It is no secret that the average American is saddled with debt and lacks enough savings to weather even a minor financial hiccup.

The sobering reality of stress and anxiety distracts workers from being productive in the workplace. Employees concerned about their own personal financial situation find it difficult to focus on their work and tend to be less engaged, which means fewer dollars to your bottom line.

2.  Financial wellness and mental health are closely related

When a person feels out of control financially, adverse behavior may begin to impact other areas of their lives. Mental strain from financial concerns can pour into relationships and even affect physical health.

In fact, financial stressors have been linked to migraines, depression and insomnia. High levels of stress increase the likelihood of negative thoughts, self-criticism and feelings of hopelessness.

Business owners may read these insights and think that an employee’s personal financial situation is not their problem. In fact, the adverse effects that arise from a lack of financial wellbeing have a direct effect on the bottom line. Poor financial literacy has been associated with increased absences from work and a decrease in overall engagement in the workplace. What’s more is that the latent stress of working under personal financial strain can lead to decreased cognitive ability.

3. Financial wellness solutions are easy to implement.

The good news is you can take simple steps to help your employees and community take charge of their finances. Implementing financial wellness solutions may be as simple or elaborate as you desire.

You may consider bringing in experts on budgeting and saving for college for a speaking engagement or to host an interactive workshop. You could take it a step further by offering financial counseling or even subscribing to a corporate financial wellness seminar series that includes regular follow-ups.

Be sure to check with your benefits offerings to explore any financial wellness solutions they may already provide.

Regardless of how you choose to incorporate financial literacy in your business, your employees will take notice.

4.  Financial wellness helps with employee engagement.

Implementing any of the strategies outlined above can serve as an effective employee retention strategy. Today’s employee is not loyal to any particular company. Instead they gravitate to employers that provide the best working situation for their lifestyle.

Financial literacy resources can be attractive for groups that face difficulty navigating tough financial decisions on their own. Consider millennials who face a mountain of student debt. Or baby boomers still trying to recover from losses of the Great Recession.

Let’s be honest, a financially literate person is better equipped to make better financial decisions for themselves and the business. Improving your company’s bottom line is everyone’s job. All businesses benefit from employees that leverage strong financial fundamentals to support their ideas and prioritize initiatives.

5. Financial wellness is a simple way to enhance company culture by showing that you care.

To summarize, offering financial literacy resources lets employees know that you care about their personal well-being and ability to bring their whole selves into the workplace.

Improving financial literacy is a team sport. Employees are known to thrive in cultures that support who they are both inside and outside the office. Today’s small businesses seek to deliver differentiated value in the marketplace.

Take these ideas into consideration as you look to set yourself apart from other potential employers to recruit and maintain the brightest talent available.

Richelle Delia, PhD, is the co-founder of Housing Joint Venture, a private community of professionals who seek to improve the urban landscape with mission-first investments.

 

5 Ways to Keep Your Finances in Check When Between Jobs
LinkedIn
Businesswoman analyzing finances

Ashaunda Davis, Financial Advisor with Northwestern Mutual

It’s likely at some point in time you will find yourself between jobs. Whether you were laid off or you willingly left your previous job, this is not an easy time for anyone. But know you are not alone – about four percent of the U.S. population is unemployed at any time, according to the Bureau of Labor Statics.

While you are gainfully employed, prepare for the unexpected. My mother always said, “There is nothing new under the sun, so be prepared when life throws you a curve ball.” Control what you can during employment including your mindset, spending and savings while keeping your resume updated.

When you find yourself between jobs, this period may be overwhelming. You can minimize and prevent future stress by following these recommendations I offer my clients.

1. Create a spending plan and stick to it
Spend some time figuring out how long you can go without an income by taking a look at where your finances currently stand. Budget monthly bills that you cannot forego like rent or a mortgage, utilities and car payments. Then, set a weekly allowance for necessities like groceries and gas, and stick to it.

2. Identify expenses you can cut
Separating wants from needs can help make sticking to a budget possible. Try cutting out luxury expenses like daily coffee runs, eating out and monthly subscriptions. Buying generic products, using coupons and rethinking how you spend time with friends and family can also help eliminate expenses. Although it’s important to maintain a social life and continue to do the things you enjoy, staying frugal now can help avoid putting yourself in debt.

3. Apply for unemployment
While filing for unemployment can be time consuming and tricky, unemployment checks can help make the time between jobs less stressful. If you were fired from your previous job under circumstances that were beyond your control, like a layoff, and you meet the state’s requirements for time worked, then you may be eligible to file for unemployment. Requirements vary from state to state, so be sure to check your state’s Department of Workforce website for all information.

4. Manage your own health insurance
Private health care plans can be expensive, but it’s important to be covered at all times because unexpected hospital visits are even more pricey than paying a monthly premium. Before leaving your job, talk to the HR department about how long you will be covered under your current health insurance plan. Some companies offer a grace period to allow time to find a new plan. If you have a spouse, look into joining his or her plan. Or, consider enrolling in the Affordable Care Act platform. Some states offer a special enrollment period for situations like this, so you don’t have to worry about waiting until the health insurance marketplace opens at the end of the year.

5. Consider a part-time job
Two words: side hustle. Do you have a talent or interest you have wanted to practice, but didn’t have time before? Now is a perfect time to freelance, work a part-time job in retail or sell your artwork or vintage cloths online. Not only can a part-time job provide a sense of purpose during the transition, but the extra cash will help prevent draining your bank account.

Does a Career in Finance Pay Off?
LinkedIn
woman at a meeting table going over financial documents

Often requiring long hours and grueling days at the office, finance remains one of the highest-paying sectors in the U.S. economy.

Those who stick with it are rewarded with high pay and typically shorter hours as they move up the ranks in the industry.

If you’re looking for a high-paying career, browse through the following list:

Finance Jobs with the Highest Salaries

Investment Banker–
$81,000–$183,000
Investment bankers have a wide range of responsibilities that touch many areas of the financial industry. In general, investment bankers raise money for their clients by issuing debt or selling equity in companies for their clients. They also advise clients on investment opportunities and strategies, as well as assist with mergers and acquisitions. Typically requiring long hours and a strong work ethic, aspiring investment bankers must be tenacious in their approach to the job.

Equity Analyst–
$64,000–$164,000
Equity analysts are typically employed by brokerages or financial firms to analyze the value of a company’s stock and make financial predictions about a company. This type of research is accomplished through numerical and qualitative analysis of financial data, public records of companies, recent news and other information sources.

Financial Analyst–
$49,000–$89,000
Like equity analysts, financial analysts use quantitative and qualitative methods to study the performance of investments, such as stocks, bonds and commodities to provide investment guidance to businesses and individuals. Financial analysts also may advise companies on their financial strategy decisions.

Credit Risk Manager–
$67,000–$134,000
Credit risk managers develop, implement and maintain policies and protocols that help to reduce the credit risk of financial institutions. Their duties include building financial models that predict credit risk exposure as well as monitoring and reporting on credit risk to the organizations they are employed by. A highly quantitative job, becoming a credit risk manager often requires an area-specific master’s degree.

Director of Financial Planning and Analysis–
$113,000–$175,000
The director of financial planning and analysis is typically in charge of creating and overseeing budgets, long-term financial plans, analyses and predictions for a financial organization or team. This role often requires an MBA or degree in accounting or finance, and sometimes it is required that employees in this role are certified as an accountant.

Promotions, Plateaus and Possibilities: Context; Coaching; and Cohort Networks Keep Careers on Track
LinkedIn
Professional Woman

2019 Best CPA Firms for Women and 2019 Best CPA Firms for Equity Leadership show how investing in women is Investing in firms.

The 2019 Accounting MOVE Project will delve into the perceptions and misperceptions that women and firms have about how and why women pursue partnership and other senior leadership positions. The report will also outline tactics that women, advocates for women, and firm leaders can take to ensure that all women CPAs can fully achieve their aspirations for their careers and drive firm growth in the process.

Highlights of the findings include:

  • Peer Power: Women’s peer networks are both horizontal and tend to be powerful retention factors. By comparison, men’s peer networks tend to be vertical and transactional. Leading MOVE firms shape women’s initiatives to make the most of how women organically cultivate networks.
  • Piecing the Future: Women plot their expectations based on what they observe and experience. Firms that show women the benefits of partnership and that build confidence and results with early business development wins seed ambition for partnership.
  • Intervention Builds Retention: Women don’t want to choose between coasting and quitting. Firms strengthen retention by cultivating multiple paths to senior positions, and by working with women before they reach the point of no return.

“Firms of all sizes are engineering new ways for women to excel.  And when women excel, firms win new clients and grow their relationships with existing clients,” said Joanne Cleaver, President of Wilson-Taylor Associates, Inc., the content strategy firm that manages the Accounting MOVE Project.  “As well, the 2019 Accounting MOVE Project illustrates the power of re-investing in programs and culture proven to advance women. Firms that consistently participate in the Accounting MOVE Project promote more quickly. As a group, 28% of their partners and principals are women, ahead of even the high mark achievement this year of 27% women partners and principals, for all participating firms.”

“The findings in this year’s report emphasize how important it is to be transparent about career paths and opportunities within your firm. Having those honest conversations strengthens relationships and really creates a sticky factor,” said Jennifer Wyne, executive director of human resources for Moss Adams, founding sponsor of the Accounting MOVE Project.

“Midcareer coaching offers the greatest return for investment in women, and the greatest opportunity for firms to drive immediate and long- term results from that investment.  At CohnReznick, we are steadily capitalizing on the effects of retaining rising women,” said Risa Lavine, Principal and chief of staff at CohnReznick. CohnReznick is the national sponsor of the Accounting MOVE Project. “This year’s Accounting MOVE Project report shows strategies to help firms retool the pipeline.”

An executive summary of the 2019 Accounting MOVE Project is available at the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance website. https://www.afwa.org/move-project/

“This year’s MOVE Report is especially important to AFWA,” said Cindy Stanley, executive director for the Accounting & Financial Women’s Alliance (AFWA), the association partner for the Accounting MOVE Project. “As a women’s organization, we see first hand the value of a strong women’s network at all stages of the career pipeline. This year’s report shows that as women advance in their career they have fewer peers, and each peer becomes more valuable. From entry level to partner, women benefit greatly from the support and example of other women in their network.”

Firms of all sizes are invited and encouraged to participate in the 2020 Accounting MOVE Project. Registration will open in August 2019 at www.wilson-taylorassoc.com. The MOVE Project is supported by founding sponsor Moss

Adams, national sponsor CohnReznick, and administrative fees from participating firms.  Registration for the Accounting MOVE Project will be open through December 20, 2019.

MOVE is making a real difference in the profession and has positioned CPA firms as innovators in the business world. Look no further than MOVE mentions in the CPA Practice Advisor, Harvard Business Review, Financial Times, Parade and other publications to see how MOVE Project firms are leading the national conversation about advancing women.

Click here to view the  2019 Accounting MOVE Project Best CPA Firms for Women

Financial Freedom for Millennials: A Bucket List
LinkedIn
millennials discussing financial options

By Molly Barnes, Digital Nomad Life

The 2007 movie “The Bucket List” told the story of two terminally ill men seeking to finish out all the things they’ve always wanted to do but never completed. The duo set out on their adventure with the intention to fulfill all their dreams before they “kicked the bucket.”

While most people associate bucket lists with experiences, you can apply the same concept to personal finance matters, as well. Essentially, you list all the things you need to accomplish in your financial life and then start making moves to get them done. According to financial experts, people should start to tick off money-matter items on their lists while they are still in their 20s and 30s. With this strategy, they’ll achieve financial freedom sooner than later because they’ve set themselves up for a less stressful future as they reach retirement age.

At this point, retirement probably seems a million years away, but now is the time to start thinking wisely when it comes to money. Check out our financial bucket list for millennials.

1. Live with roommates

Most millennials want to move out of their parents’ home but can’t always afford to do it. Why forego and miss out on the pleasures of autonomy you can enjoy living on your own? Get some roommates instead to help share housing costs.

When seeking roommates, always be smart and keep safety in mind during the selection process. Everyone, especially women, should stay away from listings on Craigslist and other platforms that don’t fully vet the people out who post these listings.

Once you’ve got your roommates in the house, aside from the financial savings you’ll enjoy by splitting the rent, you can make some great memories — or at least accumulate a few great stories to someday tell your family and friends.

2. Move to an affordable city

Sure, New York is the city that never sleeps, and Los Angeles sees a lot of action, too —but these cities are incredibly expensive to live in. Instead of struggling (even with the help of roommates) in an expensive city, consider relocating to a more affordable city with a lower cost of living. Kansas City, for example, is not only affordable, but it also offers plenty of great job opportunities and even boasts some of the shortest commuting times in the country.

3. Downsize and sell some stuff

We live at a time minimizing is en vogue, especially for millennials. Aside from being a trendy thing to do, selling off possessions you no longer need or want can net you some serious cash. Try selling clothes, unused gift cards, old electronics and gadgets, pretty much anything.

If you have old toys, video games, or other nostalgic items you don’t necessarily want to hang onto anymore, try selling these too. You’d be surprised at how well nostalgia sells!  Set up an account on eBay (or another preferred platform) and get selling. Then take that money and save it or invest it so it grows.

4. Learn thrifty shopping habits

Even if you’re aiming to downsize, there will still be stuff you need. Instead of paying full price for new items, learn the art of thrifting by shopping at places like Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity resale stores. You can find great deals on everything for the home from kitchen necessities to furniture, along with personal items, too, such as clothing and accessories.

Other ways to save on shopping are to watch for sales, try extreme couponing, and follow discount sites such as Groupon for deals on things you want to buy. Also check out Craigslist and Freecycle to find freebies in your neighborhood.

5. Make a few investments

While making habitual changes can go a long way toward achieving financial freedom, you’ll want to find other ways to increase your bank account. Why not try purchasing some stocks and seeing what happens? Some online brokerage sites let users start buying with as little as $100 and make trades for $5. You can buy small amounts and see if you can aggressively make them grow. “Playing the market” is a unique experience that not everybody gets in their lifetime — and watching your stock’s values go up is a thrill.

6. Launch a business

Even if you’re holding down a full-time job, you can launch a business on the side to generate some extra cash and help build your financial future. It could be something as straightforward as buying a property to use as a vacation rental. Or you can build a brand in your spare time, you can market your business by creating a presence on social media and cultivating helpful business relationships. Sign yourself up to attend some trade shows to help establish a name for yourself.

Depending on your line of work, you may need to obtain a license, insurance, or meet other local legal requirements. Be sure to have your ducks in a row and do everything legally. Also, remember that you’ll need to file taxes as a business. An online calculator can help you make the necessary tax calculations.

Achieving financial freedom is a wonderful feeling! The sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be that much closer to your ultimate money goals … and then you’ll be able to afford the things on your “other” bucket list.

Working Wardrobes’ Smart Women Speaker Series with Financial Guru Laila Pence
LinkedIn
2018 Laila Headshot Working Wardrobes Smart Women Event

At the age of 12, Laila emigrated to the U.S. with her mother, arriving in New York.  Her father joined them a year later, and the rest of her family joined in the following years.

Her first job was selling hot dogs and knishes on the Staten Island Ferry, at the age of 14. She credits her mother, who always told her “there’s no limit to what you can do,” with giving her self-confidence. After her family moved to California, Laila attended UCLA and had a full-time job as a waitress while she attended school. She met a man who gave her a job selling tax shelter annuities to school teachers and she shadowed him and learned on the job. Her first paycheck was $4,600 for one month, which she immediately deposited in the bank.

At a conference shortly after, she met Karl Romero who became her mentor and offered her a job which doubled salary. He helped her get licensed as a CFP® (Certified Financial Planner®). By age 22, she was making $100,000 a year.

Today, Laila is co-founder of Pence Wealth Management which she formed with her husband, Dryden. An avid sports fan, Laila is a dedicated wife and mother and very proud to be able to provide great care for her original cheerleader – her mother!

At Pence Wealth Management, her husband heads their in-house asset and investment management, and together, they manage their clients’ portfolios so that they have more control – especially when the market is down. One of her most poignant pieces of financial advice?  “Don’t wait for retirement to enjoy your life!”

Other very important pieces of advice that Laila offered were: “People don’t care what you know, they want to know that you care” – something that she imparts to all her new employees – and the traditional wisdom of: “If you want to Working Wardrobesgo fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.”

Smart Women is a women’s giving collective which supports the work of the nonprofit Working Wardrobes. New memberships are currently available (and are entirely tax-deductible), along with tickets to upcoming Speaker Series events.

For more information, please visit workingwardrobes.org/smart-women/ .

Mary Ellen Iskenderian, CEO Of Women’s World Banking, On The Future Of Impact Investing
LinkedIn
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As President and CEO of Women’s World Banking, Mary Ellen Iskenderianis passionate about bringing impactful financial services offerings to women across the globe. Throughout her early career in investment banking and financial services, Iskenderian says that questions like, “How many women are you serving?” and “Are women getting loans at the same size as men?” were never really asked – something that, through her work with WWB, she’s working to change.

Iskenderian started her career at Lehman Brothers, but soon realized that the role she was playing there didn’t allow her to make the kind of positive impact that she wanted to be able to through her finance career. Iskenderian was later accepted into the World Bank’s Young Professionals Program, where, during her time there, world events changed the path of her career forever. The Berlin Wall fell, and the World Bank was tasked with helping to rebuild public and private financial institutions. Iskenderian spent the next eight years working on stock exchanges, securities regulators, reclaiming financial systems, and largely serving as an advisor to Eastern Europeans companies in need of direction at that time. She also worked on the first IPO that was done on the Warsaw Stock Exchange (housed in the former KGB headquarters in Warsaw), which she calls “an extraordinary opportunity and an amazing moment in history.”

Iskenderian was later tapped as Director of South Asia for the International Finance Corporation – the private sector arm of the World Bank – where she was responsible for India and Pakistan. Four days into the job, 9/11 took place. She spent the next year in Pakistan, where she was responsible for building the first microfinance bank. It was there that she saw “the tremendous potential that an institution that was really willing to work at the base of the pyramid could have on changing people’s lives.”

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Thasunda Brown Duckett, on building a legacy and investing in your future
LinkedIn

The CEO of Chase Consumer Banking weighs in on the importance of saving.

“What are you saving for?”

That’s the question Thasunda Brown Duckett is most passionate about.

As the CEO of Chase Consumer Banking, Duckett’s mission is to inspire people to take their savings seriously. Not only does she want individuals to invest in themselves with intention; she also wants them to realize that the word “savings” doesn’t just apply to the future—it applies to everyday life.

“I’m passionate about the question, ‘What are you saving for?’ because savings is not just about investing or planning for your retirement,” Duckett explains. “While those are soimportant, so is short term savings!”

By prompting individuals to answer the question—whether they’re funding their next trip to the grocery store, buying a plane ticket for a getaway weekend, or storing money away for retirement—this simple query inspires people to connect their savings goals to their day-to-day lives. And when people connect why they are saving to a specific goal they really care about—like being able to travel now, buying a house soon, or having financial independence later—they are more likely to stockpile their money, alleviating financial anxiety, and as a result, make the most out of their lives.

“It’s not only my passion to get people to save,” Duckett says. “It really is my responsibility. I take that responsibility seriously; not just as a CEO, but as the daughter of Otis and Rosie Brown.”

“What you’re really saving for is the ability to be the best version of yourself,” she explains.

Continue onto JP Morgan Chase to read the complete article.

Shelly Bell, Founder Of Black Girl Ventures, Helps Women Of Color Gain Access To Capital
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Shelly Bell has lived many lives. She’s a computer scientist, a former high school teacher, a performance poet, a community organizer, a founder, and a CEO. She has two successful apparel printing businesses: MsPrint USA—through which she creates swag for clients like Amazon and Google with a team of women designers and printers—and Made By A Black Woman, which celebrates products made by Black women.

Every project Bell undertakes is designed to empower women, especially women of color, which is why two years ago, she began her latest enterprise, Black Girl Ventures, which helps women identifying entrepreneurs of color gain access to capital.

According to a Medium post Bell wrote in May, Black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the United States, yet they receive less than 1% of venture capital. In 2017, women on the whole, she wrote, only received 2% of venture capital.

Black Girl Ventures (BGV), based in Washington DC, holds pitch competitions, social events, boot camps, and other forms of entrepreneurial training for women of color. Since its inception in 2016, BGV has funded 13 founders and has engaged hundreds of women.

The unique BGV Pitch Competition, of which there are 10 per year, is described on the website as “a crowdfunding meets pitch competition.” Attendees pay admission at the door, selected founders pitch for three minutes, and the audience votes. Winners receive the money raised from admission fees, in addition to other perks like a free consultation with both a lawyer and an accountant and a meeting with an investor.

While anyone can attend the pitch competitions, only women of color can do the pitching. Bell is proud, she says, of “the women we serve and their reaction to the space created for them.” She is also proud of the success many of the entrepreneurs have found after working with BGV. Founders who have participated in pitch competitions have gone on to be accepted into accelerators, receive fellowships, and raise more capital from other resources.

As BGV continues to grow, Bell hopes to do a better job serving Latinx women. “Because Black is in the name, it is definitely easy for Black women to gravitate,” she says, “but we want to make sure we are serving Black and Brown women.”

She is also currently focusing on finding more access to capital, creating more revenue streams, getting more sponsorship, and creating more partnerships. Some of her most recent successes are corporate partnerships with both Bumble and Google Cloud for Startups, who are currently sponsoring the BGV Big 4 Tour through Atlanta, Chicago, DC, and NYC.

When first starting BGV, Bell struggled with trying to do too many things at once. “I’m a creative,” she says. “I have literally at least 10 ideas per day.” Initially, Bell focused on doing both trainings and pitch competitions, but her advisors suggested she focus on getting really good at just one of those things.

So, she invested all her energy in the competitions, which she says has now positioned her well to expand BGV’s training opportunities. Through analytics and data gathered from those involved in the competitions, Bell now feels confident she knows what the women she serves are looking for.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

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  1. Women in Federal Law Enforcement Leadership Training
    August 3, 2020 - August 6, 2020
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    August 22, 2020 - August 25, 2020
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    September 21, 2020 - September 23, 2020