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Business Is in Her Blood

Episode 55: Business Is in Her Blood
Guest: Miriam Diwan

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Miriam Diwan’s family has always been in business or finance, so you could say it runs in her blood. She attended the University of Pennsylvania to obtain her undergraduate and found that she had varied interests. She graduated with a dual degree in liberal arts and finance. From there, she began investment banking and eventually moved into hedge funds. With her first position, at a private equity firm, she was one of the first three women that were hired in a 10-year history.

When her mother fell ill, Miriam ended up being the primary caregiver. Trying to manage her career and supporting her mom, she found that it was becoming too much for her to handle. Miriam made the decision to put her career on hold and eventually moved to L.A for her mother to receive the best medical care available. Through this process, Miriam and her mother had to move to several different states and experienced the difficulties in finding a neighbourhood that met all their needs.

After Miriam’s mother went into remission, she began considering re-entering the workforce. The trouble was that the finance industry was fast moving and extremely difficult to get back into. So, deciding to try something new, Miriam began her own company in the field of technology. NowMoveMe aims to help adjustment periods when it comes to moving and also fosters community among local residents. Through the use of technology, Miriam is working to create a digital “welcome wagon” where users can find information about their neighborhood. NowMoveMe currently focuses on Santa Monica, but will soon be branching out to all of Los Angeles and then branching out from there.

The hardest part that Miriam found in starting a new company is the lack of resources. She’s had to think outside the box and willing to try something new every day. Miriam has found it really rewarding too because she is building something “brick by brick.” Advice that Miriam has for anyone working on a startup, make sure you set yourself up financially for the next two to three years because you may not earn anything within that period of time. Also, always try to operate like you’re bootstrapped, even if you have substantial funding (you never know how long something can take). Lastly, find a mentor; someone a few steps ahead of you in the startup path and can help you through some of the common roadblocks.

To connect with Miriam, you can follow her on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of the Women Rocking Wall Street show! If you liked what you heard, be sure to hit subscribe, share it with others and write us a quick review on iTunes.

Finessing Financial Education

Episode 54: Finessing Financial Education
Guest: Liz Davidson

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I’ve had the pleasure of meeting this week’s guest in 2003 and have been an admirer ever since. Liz Davidson is the Founder and CEO of Financial Finesse, the leading provider of workplace financial wellness programs for companies as an employee benefit. Companies, through Financial Finesse, are able to provide their employees with free financial advice and help them get to where they want to be financially without the pressure of sales.

Liz began her career in financial services, specifically in investment banking, and eventually realized that her work life balance was not something that she could maintain. Wanting to embrace her entrepreneurial spirit, Liz began attending the University of Los Angeles to obtain her business degree. Her first venture after graduating was a hedge fund but in the process, she began to see that her investors didn’t have the basic fundamental understanding on how to appropriately invest their money. Seeing that her clients were setting themselves up for potentially dangerous losses, she realized that the rest of the population probably had the same gaps in their financial knowledge. Liz began doing workshops to provide unbiased financial advice and eventually started Financial Finesse in 1999.

Operating a business or working in a sales industry can be challenging and intimidating at times. Liz recommends looking at it from a holistic approach in that you’re supporting your clients with their strategic issues. Rather than selling something, your helping solves a problem. One additional piece of enlightened advice Liz provides to those looking at their financial health: who you marry may be the most important financial decision you ever make.

As a result of her experience and insight, Liz wrote a book, What Your Financial Advisor Isn’t Telling You: The 10 Essential Truths You Need to Know About Your Money. Liz wanted to help the general population know what to look for in an advisor and know what questions they should be asking to secure their financial future. If you’re interested in learning more about Financial Finesse, visit their blog, where experts provide financial tips and advice. You can visit her book’s companion website.

Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of the Women Rocking Wall Street show! If you liked what you heard, be sure to hit subscribe, share it with others and write us a quick review on iTunes.

Winning in Sales

Episode 53: Winning in Sales
Guest: Carmela Elco

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This week’s guest came to my attention from a recent list from the National Association of Plan Advisors (NAPA) identifying the top women advisors in the country for 401K or retirement savings. Carmela Elco is the Managing Director and Senior ERISA Consultant with Blue Prairie Group. Originally from a human resources background, Carmela graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and holds an M.A. in Human Resources Management from St. Francis University. Working with retirement plans and 401Ks, Carmela found that she really enjoyed it over other areas of human resources. She transitioned from working in a human resources capacity into a consultant position fairly holistically and has been providing great work for her clients ever since. Carmela is very collaborative and she has a passion for her work. That combined with her dedication to her clients and the industry has helped her stand out as one of the top female advisors of 2015.

Securing the sale of a 401K can take anywhere between one to two years, making the sales process extremely important. Carmela recommends establishing an advocate and build trust with that individual. This is especially important in those competitive situations. By communicating with your advocate, you can ask certain questions including what the committee’s overall concerns are, or what materials others may find beneficial. Also, Carmela recommends understanding the culture of the organization and how they approach their decision making and working with their partners. One way to do this is by reaching out to your network and finding those connections.

If you’re interested in learning more about the art of sales, be sure to read Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal by Oren Klaff. This book will walk you through every step of a pitch and provide you with strategies and tactics to engage and persuade your audience.

Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Women Rocking Wall Street! If you liked this episode, share it with others and write us a quick review on iTunes.

Challenging the Gender Gap

Episode 52: Challenging the Gender Gap
Guest: Emily Viner

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I am so excited that it’s April and winter is finally past us. I hope that you’re enjoying the weather and being outdoors as much as I am.

My guest this week has been making a difference in gender balance in the financial industry and sales, and she is calling on others to help. Emily Viner, Vice President of Agency Management & Leadership at The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America has found her passion and is hoping to help other women find theirs too.

After graduating  with a degree in Marketing and Economics, Emily spent some time applying for marketing positions. During one interview she was asked to do a typing test. Concerned that she would be seen more as a secretary, she knew that there was more purpose in her life and turned down the job. Eventually, she came across an ad for sales in finance. Not knowing what that meant, she went and spoke with people at the company. After learning more, she became fascinated, especially by the fact that she could help others while making a comfortable living.

Knowing that women make great advisors and that women tend to buy from other women, the Guardian conducted research on why there was such a gender gap in the financial industry. After surveying several thousand women, they found that it was the sales portion of the industry that wasn’t appealing. They also found that women spent most of their time being competent and less time being confident, which has also been validated through brain science. This results in women not being comfortable with taking risks.

If this sounds like you, Emily recommends being authentic but to also learn how to say “yes” even when you don’t know how. The pressure to always be perfect and to avoid risks is holding you back. Also, we all need to get better at helping other women gain more confidence and to pull each other up.

Emily took her research and presented it to the industry through a conference with over 26,000 attendees. After her presentation, Emily challenged the industry to form a coalition to help encourage change towards gender imbalance. Over 400 people came together to look at several pieces that needed to change, and to encourage the sales aspect of the industry. During a 90 minute session, there was a huge response, which included companies from 8 different countries. At the end of the conference, 150 people signed up to take part in the coalition, with a goal to make an impact by March of 2017.

I’ve provided the executive summary and infographic to provide more context to what was discussed today. To find out more or to get involved, reach out to Emily at EViner@glic.com.

Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of the Women Rocking Wall Street show! If you liked what you heard, be sure to hit subscribe, share it with others and write us a quick review on iTunes.

 

How to Create a Killer Digital Brand

What does your digital brand say about you?

If someone Googles your name, does the real you show up on the first page? Your digital brand is an integral component of your complete brand positioning, and must tell your clients and prospects why they should work with you and what you stand for in today’s competitive marketplace.

Your brand is not what you say it is, it’s what others say about you. This means your brand must go beyond just words; it needs to encompass all of your clients’ and prospects’ experience with you.

Learn How to Create a Killer Digital Brand and walk away with the ability to:

  • Know why clarity and positioning win the day
  • Nail a powerful brand voice
  • Tap into the magic of meaningful visuals
  • Identify low-cost, high-impact opportunities for brand engagement
  • Exploit the uninspired turtles in your region