Fighting for Change On Wall Street

Episode 28: Fighting for Change On Wall Street
Guest: Renee Amochaev

Hello, and happy summer! This week, I’m thrilled to share the story of a woman who rocked Wall Street in a major, major way. You might remember the name Renee Amochaev from news headlines. Several years back, Amochaev and three other women brought a gender discrimination lawsuit against Smith Barney, which resulted in the brokerage firm paying a whopping $33 million settlement.

Renee was inspired to seek legal action for what she said were differences in the way she was treated compared with her male colleagues. Among other things, Renee said her office was smaller and she was required to go through broker training—despite being fully licensed—while her male counterparts didn’t have to. Eventually, Renee said she came to work one day to find that her entire book of business was inaccessible, and she was told to write essays to retain her accounts. Through conversations with a couple women at the office, Renee said she discovered she wasn’t alone in her experiences.

The lawsuit was a long and tiring road, but Renee knew she wouldn’t be able to look at herself in the mirror if she didn’t speak up. Renee’s husband encouraged her to arrive in cowboy boots for her first meeting with the lawyers. (I love this, by the way, because I often wear cowboy boots to speaking engagements.) “If you’re gonna kick up dust,” her husband said, “you better wear cowboy boots.”

And boy, did she kick up a lot of dust!

In the end, news outlets from CNBC to The New York Times covered the story, and countless women contacted Renee about their personal experiences. The lawsuit, Renee says, was so much bigger than just her. “This is about future generations of women and how much they are needed in the industry,” she says.

Not only do Renee and I both hope this episode inspires listeners to speak up about gender biases in the industry, but we also hope it serves as a calling for women to take hold of their financial futures.

In closing, I’d also like to give a shout-out to all the people fighting every day for more women in the industry, including Tim Smith from the 30 Percent Coalition (see July 8th’s episode). Tim has rallied for years to increase the number of women on boards, and he and so many others are greatly appreciated.

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it and head to iTunes to post a quick review. And join me next week for a talk with Eve Ellis, who has a very interesting career history—from competitive tennis, to Web, to financial services. Have a great week!

Playing a Bigger Game

Episode 27: Playing a Bigger Game
Guest: Sheri Fitts featured on the podcast The Startup Sessions

Welcome back! I hope you’re having a great summer and enjoying the warm weather. I wanted to switch things up this week and provide you with some insight into who I am as a person, business owner, and woman rocking Wall Street.

Several weeks ago, I had the privilege of being a guest on my dear friend Michael Knouse’s podcast, The Startup Sessions. Michael is a business coach, unconventional startup strategist and entrepreneur who not so long ago was selling software solutions to corporate clients. Knowing that he hand-selects his show guests based on their experience creating their own meaningful businesses, I was honored that he approached me to share my experience with ShoeFitts Marketing.

On this episode, Michael and I dig into some of the challenges that hold many women entrepreneurs back, including setting appropriate rates for services. Are you afraid to raise your rates because you believe it will hurt your chances of successfully getting clients? If so, you’re not alone! Unfortunately, this misconception could be harming your business by undervaluing your services. It’s important to remember that what you’re providing is valuable, and your clients want to pay for quality! My advice to Michael’s listeners, and to you during this episode is simple – don’t over-complicate it, just raise your rates.

If your entrepreneurial spirit is strong, but you’re struggling to propel your business forward, I hope this episode will provide insight into managing your numbers and helping your business play a bigger game.

For more information about Michael and The Startup Sessions, visit thestartupsessions.com, or find him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+.

And remember, if you like the episode, please be sure to share it with your colleagues, friends, and other connections. Let’s continue the Women Rocking Wall Street movement!

Hilary Blair

Realigning Your Voice

Episode 26: Realigning Your Voice
Guest: Hilary Blair

Happy summer, everyone! This week, I’m excited to invite a communication chiropractor to Women Rocking Wall Street. You’re probably thinking, “What the heck is a communication chiropractor?” Hilary Blair, CEO of ARTiculate: Real & Clear, helps clients align verbal and nonverbal communication with their messages. The result is a voice that connects the head, heart and spirit.

On this episode, Hilary walks us through vocal habits that can unintentionally send messages of insecurity, indecisiveness and all that other bad stuff. Maybe you’re using a little girl voice to avoid being “too much,” or perhaps you’re trailing off at the end of sentences because you’re scared to push an idea. Or maybe you’ve reverted to the “surfer-dude voice,” known as vocal fry, because you don’t want to seem overly enthusiastic.

Whatever the case, a little practice and awareness can give your voice warmth and clarity. Strive for musicality with a nice blend of bass and treble. And be sure to use inflection, which guides listeners through a message, Hilary says.

I hope you enjoy this episode and it inspires you to try out a speaking organization such as Toastmasters. You don’t have to be an expert to join; in fact, it’s the perfect place to practice public speaking in a supportive environment.

For more information about Hilary’s company, visit articulateRC.com, or find her onLinkedIn. Also be sure to check out VASTA—the Voice and Speech Trainers Association—where Hilary is a member.

And, hey!  Share this podcasts with your friends and colleagues AND even recent college graduates. The inspiration will go much further with your help.

And, please head over to iTunes and contribute a quick review. Increased reviews help move the podcast to an even more visible place in the iTunes world. (More visible, more listeners. More listeners, more difference!)

What’s Behind Your Investments

Episode 25: What’s Behind Your Investments?
Guest: Tim Smith

What an exciting episode! This week, I’m pleased to invite my second male guest to Women Rocking Wall Street. Tim Smith is co-chair of the investor committee for the 30 Percent Coalition, which may sound familiar to those who have been listening to the podcast for a while. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing several people from this coalition, which strives for women to hold 30% of board seats across public companies. (Check out the related podcast episodes: “Let’s Get to 30%” and “The Getting Along Paradigm”).

Tim is here today to share some ways the 30 Percent Coalition has rallied to increase the number of women on boards. He’ll also provide tips for how investors can ensure their votes are counted on issues such as board diversity, climate change and equal employment opportunity.

Last year, the 30 Percent Coalition wrote letters to 160-plus companies in the Russell 1000 list who had no women on their boards. The coalition sought to remind these companies that investors are concerned about a lack of diversity. Some companies that took no action actually received shareholder resolutions from various investors requesting that they take steps to diversify. Clearly this is an issue near and dear to investors, and companies must get on board about diversifying their boards.

Those who want to learn more about the story behind their funds can start by researching online or reading proxy statements, Tim suggests. I also want to mention the site unloadyour401k.com, which can show whether your 401(k) plan is invested in public gun companies.

So what happens if you don’t like what you find? If you’re part of a 401(k) and have no control over the investments in the plan, there are still ways to voice your opinion about certain funds. Tim suggests gathering a group of participants to write a letter to the company saying something like, “We understand that you don’t vote on board diversity, and we’re calling on you to change this.” It may feel like a helpless exercise, but Tim says companies are increasingly listening to their consumers.

For more information about having your voice heard, check out The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment. You can also read more on the 30 Percent Coalition site, which includes a letter from the group.

Be certain to share this podcasts with your friends and colleagues — AND perhaps even recent college graduates.

And, please head over to iTunes and offer up a quick review. Increased reviews help move the podcast to an even more visible place in the iTunes world. (More visible, more listeners. More listeners, more difference!)

Making Winning Connections

Episode 24: Making Winning Connections
Guest: Maureen Adolf

Welcome back, and I hope you’re feeling happy, healthy and inspired. On this week’s episode of Women Rocking Wall Street, I’m thrilled to introduce Maureen Adolf, who’s an expert in government relations and pubic policy. She’s also president of the Financial Women’s Association, a New York-based organization dedicated to accelerating women’s careers in the finance industry.

FWA recently conducted some interesting research around the value of women’s internal networks at various firms. (Check out the full report here). Among the most compelling findings: 39% of respondents said they believe women’s internal networks could contribute to their reason for staying with their current firms. Internal networks have the power to make women feel like their firms are more invested in their wellbeing, which in turn fosters loyalty. On this episode, we’ll dive into the research and best practices for internal networking groups.

If you’ve been thinking about joining a group for women in finance, there’s no time like the present. (Here’s how you can apply for a membership with the Financial Women’s Association.) And as far as internal networks go, don’t be afraid to explore them—even if you aren’t a senior member of your company.  Many times, internal networking groups are formed organically at the lower level, or through HR. And these groups are in demand: According to the report, 77% of respondents who work at firms without a WIN said they would join if their organization had one.

If you are a decision maker for an existing WIN, consider meeting during the workday to accommodate busy schedules and demands at home. Almost half of those surveyed (41%) said time was a reason for not participating.

Check out the full episode for more information about how to get involved, and for Maureen’s insights on the industry. And if you like the episode, please be sure to share with your colleagues, connections and friends. Let’s continue to grow the ranks of Women Rocking Wall Street!

How to Work a Room

Episode 23: How to Work a Room
Guest: Susan RoAne

For many of us, the mere thought of a networking event causes sweaty palms and a racing heart. Susan RoAne, author of How to Work a Room, joins us on this week’s episode of Women Rocking Wall Street to share how we can float gracefully through a room and give a lasting first impression.

On this episode, Susan explains the distinction between networking and working a room—as you’ll discover, there are some big differences! Working a room involves socializing and making people feel welcome, while networking is about the follow-up.

So how exactly do you work a room? Put yourself in the shoes of the nervous person standing in the corner (because we’ve all been there, right?) Think about how to make others feel comfortable, whether it’s striking up a conversation with someone standing alone, or simply taking a step back to let someone into a conversation circle. As Susan says, if we can get past our own nerves and take on the responsibility of helping other people relax, it makes mingling much easier and more enjoyable.

On this episode, Susan also covers other tricky questions such as, “How do I join a conversation during an event?” and “How do I politely exit a conversation?” Hope you enjoy her tips! For more about Susan’s work, visit her website athttp://www.susanroane.com/, email her at susan@susanroane.com, or give her a call at (415) 461-3915. Also, be sure to check out Susan’s other books includingHow to Create Your Own Luck, The Secrets of Savvy Networking, and Face to Face: How to Reclaim the Personal Touch in a Digital World. And Susan asks that we support independent bookstores when purchasing her books and others (shout-out to Powell’s Books in Portland!)

Remember to subscribe via iTunes so our podcast can become more and more visible! (Or head over to Stitcher Radio you can also listen in there.)

Next up is Maureen Adolf, president FWA New York with a look at women’s internal networks.

Go For No!

Episode 21: Go For No!
Guest: Andrea Waltz

Hello, and welcome back! How are things with you? I hope you’re well and enjoying some nice, warm weather, wherever you are. On this week’s episode ofWomen Rocking Wall Street, I have the pleasure of chatting with Andrea Waltz, co-author of the best-selling book “Go For No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There.” Andrea wrote the book with Richard Fenton, and together they own Courage Crafters Inc.

Today she’ll teach us all about the Go For No concept, which is based around letting go of the fear of rejection. Whether you are going for a raise or trying to get a new client, you’ll never hear a yes unless you conquer the fear of hearing no. In fact, when you overcome this fear of no, the yeses that you do receive will likely be grander in scale. It may seem strange to intentionally increase your failure rate, but in reality, it’s a sign that you’re really putting yourself out there and taking chances!

I encourage all of you to try hearing no for even just a week. Once you’ve gotten used to the idea, work your way up to a 30-day challenge. As Andrea says, practicing Go For No can be as simple as asking the restaurant waiter if you can move to another table closer to the window. See how many nos you can collect!

Imagine what your professional and personal life would look like if you decided to take a chance each day and put yourself out there. Think about how it would feel to embrace rejection with open arms and recognize it as a sign that you’re on the verge of something courageous and bold.

Here’s a preview of the five levels of failure, which Andrea explains on this episode:

  1. the ability to fail
  2. the willingness to fail
  3. the “wantingness” to fail
  4. failing bigger and faster
  5. failing exponentially

I hope you enjoy Andrea’s insights and they inspire you to face your fear of failure! To learn more about Go For No, visit Andrea and Richard’s website, or the book link on Amazon.

Remember to subscribe via iTunes if you can. Or head over to Stitcher Radio you can also listen in there.

Next up is Susan RoAne and some great help on How to Work a Room!

Rocking a TED Talk

Episode 21: Rocking a TED Talk
Guest: Cathey Armillas

On the latest episode of Women Rocking Wall Street, I’ve invited expert marketing strategist Cathey Armillas to share the elements of a successful TED Talk. Cathey has created an audio coaching program, “How to Rock a TED Talk,” where she covers how to get invited to a Talk, as well as how to prepare and deliver it. The tactics Cathey presents can be applied not just to TED Talks, but also on a larger scale for corporate communications.

From having a universal theme to providing supporting evidence, Cathey talks us through how to be an effective presenter. Imagine you’re pitching an idea at work—rather than just focusing on convincing your own department, think about how the concept will benefit departments across the board. How do you get everyone behind your idea?

No matter where or what you’re presenting, it all goes back to the TED Talk format. It’s about finding a useful idea and supporting it with data, whether it’s for an ad campaign, a presentation to your team, or any idea at work. It’s about appealing to both logic and emotion.

And for those interested in being invited to a TED Talk, Cathey says to remember that everyone has a good idea; it’s about uncovering that idea by asking yourself questions like:  “What was the most traumatizing experience in your life?”

“Who has been the biggest teacher in your life?”
“When have you felt most at peace?”

I hope you enjoy this episode and it encourages you to find your next idea!

For more information about Cathey and her audio program, visit catheyarmillas.com and howtorockatedtalk.com. And check out her favorite TED Talk of all time with Ash Beckham, who discusses empathy and openness.

And be sure to check out Cathey’s own TED Talk about how helping others can bring happiness. Oh yes! And here are links to the super treats she’s given to the Women Rocking Wall Street crew:

Stay tuned for next week’s episode with guest Andrea Waltz, co-author of the best-selling book “Go For No!”

See Do Get

Episode 20: See Do Get
Guest: Catherine Plano

Have you ever despised a boss and found yourself expending energy thinking about it? Well, Catherine Plano—this week’s guest on Women Rocking Wall Street—wants you to remember this: Whatever you focus on will grow. Catherine is an executive coach, life coach and founder of the I Am Woman Project, a program designed to help women realize their purpose, power and potential. On this week’s episode, she shares techniques for finding purpose, as well as tips for changing our mindset rather than our environment.

The “bad boss” case is a common one, in which Catherine advises clients to think of one good thing that can help them connect with their supervisors. If your boss is a mother like you, for example, you can focus on how kind she might act at home with her children. Even if you decide to find a new job, at least you’ve become more positive about the situation.  Remember that change starts within. So often, people want to change their partners or their environment, but it just doesn’t work.

On this episode, Catherine also offers tips for finding purpose. Connecting with purpose can help you understand what you really should be doing, and help you discover your passion. To set your purpose, Catherine suggests asking yourself questions such as:

  • Why am I here?
  • What do I want to be?
  • What do I want to do?
  • What do I want to have?

Finding purpose is important for men and women alike, but women in particular tend to neglect finding their purpose because they are so focused on caring for friends and family. This selflessness can cause them to lose sight of who they are and want they want in life. “I think we are born mothers … even if we are not mothers,” she says. “We are born to help and nurture other people.”

I hope you enjoy this episode of Women Rocking Wall Street. To learn more about Catherine’s coaching business, the I Am Woman Project, or the magazine, visit Quantum Co-Creation, I Am Woman Project, I Am Woman magazine, and Catherine Plano.

Be sure to tune in later this week when I invite Cathey Armillas to the show to discuss how to rock a TED Talk. And, be sure to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes. It is such a help with making it ‘visible’ to more women.

Just Breathe

Episode 19: Just Breathe

Guest: Jill Knouse and Michael Knouse

We’ve all experienced workplace stress. No one knows this better than Jill Knouse, who left her job in financial services in 2005 to focus on nourishing her mind and body. Although Jill was making great money at her corporate job, it came at the cost of sacrificing her health. Her office hours were long and tiring. She felt withdrawn from her community. Simply put, she was depleted. So she bought a bungalow in Portland and left San Francisco to refuel and refresh. Today, she’s the owner of Jill Knouse Yoga, where she helps others find Zen. She even teaches onsite corporate yoga classes.

Jill’s husband, Michael Knouse, found himself in a similar situation. He worked in tech for about 14 years before also branching out on his own. His reality check came when he was told to relay a message to a bank—a message he disagreed with. When he confronted his sales manager, he was told in so many words, “As long as we’re writing your check, you’ll do the things we ask.” That’s when Michael began to think about what type of work environment would bring him the most satisfaction. He recalled his days at startups and realized he thrived most in an independent environment. Today, Michael is the founder of The Startup Sessions, where he works with burnt-out employees and emerging entrepreneurs to help them craft a meaningful business, and bring structure to their ideas.

Michael and Jill have created a partnership not only personally, but professionally; together, they collaborate on projects such as Jill Knouse Yoga’s Elevate Your Yoga Business, a 6-Week Program For Designing Your Dream Yoga Business. The upcoming session begins June 3. Michael says the goal is to help teachers switch their mindset from fixed to growth, and to think like entrepreneurs. (For more about fixed vs. growth mindset, see Episode 14: Keeping An Open Mind).

My hope is that this episode inspires you not only to take care of your body and mind, but also contemplate what career path would bring you the most happiness. I want to stress this to all of our listeners: Making time in your day to reflect and take care of yourself is so critical. Remember that rest equals success. Looking back, Jill says she wishes she would have gotten into yoga while working in corporate to help manage her work stress. Corporate clients often tell Jill that yoga has added happiness and clarity to their lives. They are less reactive through the day, and their energy is steadier. The ability to stop and just breathe is critical for creating space—and perhaps in that space, you’ll have room to discover your true passions!

Also, be certain to check out Michael’s podcast at The Startup Sessions, visit http://www.thestartupsessions.com/episodes/.

Join us next week with guest Stay tuned for next week’s episode with guest Catherine Plano, executive coach and founder of the I Am Woman project. Please share this podcast with your friends and colleagues -hey even share it with your Starbucks baristas!! Thanks for listening!