During my late teens and into my mid-20s I was fearless in my broadcasting career. I was on-air, assistant program director, promotions coordinator, webmaster—you name it. In the radio world, the hats worn are multiple and endless; the opportunities short-lived and exciting; the pay low and the hours long. But I leaned in, day in and day out, without ever thinking twice. I moved nearly every 12 months, chasing a bigger and better market with more responsibility and pay.
As my age progressed, though, my priorities changed. I yearned for something more stable, so I entered the financial industry.
It has been a few years and I have worked hard to obtain multiple licenses and designations while also having a daughter. But recently I was at a standstill. I realized that I was just collecting letters and numbers to put behind my name; there was no passion in my career. I was lost, I wasn’t motivated, I wasn’t taking advantage of opportunities that had presented themselves and I stood at a crossroads.
Then I read Lean In.
I decided to lean in, to take control, to become the driver of my own life—not the passenger. I work for a company where less than 10% of the sales staff is female, and it has become a badge of pride. I am a member of one of the best, most prestigious sales desks in the industry. We are renowned for our knowledge, skill and drive. And I am one of the few women to hold such a position.
From now on I will no longer just be a co-worker. I will be a mentor to my peers, a leader on my team and an innovator in my industry. As a female, I naturally provide much-needed compassion and an open heart and mind to help guide my financial advisors and their clients through the murky waters of retirement and financial planning. I don’t just offer a sales idea or a product. I am a listener and a problem solver and an organizer. I have these skills because I am a woman, but I am a leader because I choose to be.
I lean in to be an example to my daughter of what is possible if she takes a seat at the table. I work in a male-dominated industry but I refuse to let that be a barrier to my success. Through the resources my company offers, I am developing my public speaking skills and deepening my industry knowledge and I hope to add even more numbers and letters behind my name. As I join the small ranks of female leadership in the financial industry, I can only hope there will be many more right on my heels.