Inspired Budget

#129: How Switching Jobs Can Change Your Life with Fernanda Carnavan

October 26, 2023 Allison Baggerly Episode 129
Inspired Budget
#129: How Switching Jobs Can Change Your Life with Fernanda Carnavan
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever felt like you're working way too hard, but not getting paid nearly enough for your efforts? Our guest for today, Fernanda Carnavan, a Latina money and career educator, has been there.

Fernanda, the creator of the platform Relentless Latina, takes us through her journey of grit and resilience where she went from being underpaid and overworked to valiantly claiming her worth. She talks about her experience with the phenomenon of "quiet promotions" in male-dominated fields and provides practical tips on how to spot and tackle such situations.

Fernanda's narrative goes deeper as she details her experiences with gender inequality in the workplace. The relocation to a new state with no salary hike and the realization of being underpaid led her to advocate for herself fiercely. She shares her insights and advice for others going through the same ordeal, empowering them to not settle for less than they deserve.

We also touch upon Fernanda's passion project, Relentless Latina, a platform she created to empower Latina women in their career and financial journeys.

Fernanda's journey is an empowering testament to the power of self-worth and resilience. Fernanda's story is not just her own, but a tale of strength and determination that could inspire anyone to take control of their career and finances.

Visit Fernanda's Website Relentless Latina https://relentlesslatina.com/
Follow Fernanda on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/relentless.latina/

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Speaker 1:

they started sharing their salaries and I just, I was just begging for them not to ask me, because for me, yeah, for me, and again, maybe it's a little cultural and as a women, we are taught that you know, talking about money is rude and asking for salaries is bad and you should be grateful, right. But when I started to listen to those, to those salaries, I started to think that something was off because I had the lowest salary.

Speaker 2:

Hey, this is Allison, and welcome to the Inspire Budget podcast, where we talk all things budgeting debt and saving money. Today, we're joined by an incredibly inspiring guest, fernanda Carnavan, a Latina money and career educator with an extraordinary journey. Fernanda migrated from Mexico, overcame significant obstacles, which we will hear about in this interview, and emerged as a highly successful engineer and investor on track to become a millionaire. From initially being rejected for an engineering job because of her gender to climbing the rates in corporate America, fernanda's journey is a testament to resilience and relentless determination. She is also the founder of Relentless Latina, a platform empowering women with tools, resources and strategies to grow their careers, income and wealth. In this episode, we're going to dive into Fernanda's personal story and discuss her journey from being underpaid and overworked to claiming one's worth, and provide actionable strategies for career and financial growth. So get ready for an enlightening conversation with Fernanda. Let's dive in. Welcome, fernanda, to the Inspire Budget podcast. I cannot wait for you to share your story with our listeners.

Speaker 1:

Oh, thank you so much for having me. I'm so excited.

Speaker 2:

Yes, so can you start by sharing your inspiring journey from being an immigrant to a successful career woman and investor?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, sure, whoa, that's a long story, so where do you want me to start?

Speaker 2:

I want you to start with the beginning, okay.

Speaker 1:

Well, basically, well, I'm Fernanda from Relentless Latina, and basically, relentless Latina is a platform for Latinas specifically to learn how to grow their career and finances, because, as you will mention, I am an immigrant from Mexico. I love my culture and I think something that we lack of is a lot of education around these two topics that are so important career and finances, right. So there's a lot of background, but I just say that I was in college, as we all have, I think I had a crisis that I didn't know what to do with my life. I just had a dream to be an automotive designer and I wanted to go to the United States to an R&D, right. So I decided to leave engineering and pursue a degree in design directly. I knew that it was going to be very difficult for me, because to be an engineer, you have to have an engineering degree.

Speaker 1:

Right after I came back from Spain, I did a, let's say, like a summer there of studies and advertising for a big automotive company to do internships with them In the United States, no, in Mexico. So this is all of this is in Mexico. Yeah, so that is. We're talking about 2016,. Right, I came to the US five years ago, 2018. So this is 2016 in college. So I saw this advertisement to do a professional and an internship with this massive automotive company and I thought this was my chance, right? But in order to get to this company, because you're so huge, you have to pass seven filters. So I passed them and the last one was pretty much an interview right Face to face with human resources and, finally, the sponsor of the presentation. That was my absolute first internship interview ever. Yeah, and I had a pretty bad experience because I got rejected on the spot for being a woman On the spot, yeah. So basically, the interviewer told me, of course I was interviewing for engineering, for technical development they call it like an R&D and they said we honestly don't want to have women in technical development because you don't have what it takes, right? They said in Spanish, in a very mean way, and I think, honestly, that's where relentless Latina started in my heart, because I realized that this journey was going to be hard and, yeah, a lot of happening between how we can go into the details of what happened If you want us to touch on that but basically I finally reached my goal of being a designer in a company in Mexico, and that company was the one that, due to my performance, moved me to the United States. So I arrived to the United States with a work visa.

Speaker 1:

Honestly, something that I would like to focus in this episode is to talk about how it is to be underpaid and overworked, because since that first rejection that I got for being a woman we know that's also discrimination my first official job until I came to the US, we were talking about a lapse of three years. My salary was kept the same. Oh, and I moved. I moved states in Mexico and my salary stayed the same. So something that I like to talk a lot to my community is about quiet promotions. Have you heard that term before? I have, but can you explain it? Yeah, so basically a quiet promotion.

Speaker 1:

Unfortunately, it's very common in women and mostly in male dominated fields, which was my case as well. That is basically that you start taking a lot of responsibilities. You see these like they're like green and red flags, so green flags, like you, start getting a lot of results. And how can I say, like these little accomplishments, that you think they're good for your career? Example in my case, I told you that I finally achieved the goal to be hiring a company as a designer. They relocated me to another state. I was training all the new engineers in the building. Then they relocated me to the US and they were all these green flags of my professional and my career growth. But all the red flags that I didn't see is that through all these journey, my voice as a woman was still very small, I didn't have decision making. And a big one is that I never got promoted nor I never got a seller increase.

Speaker 1:

So a quiet promotion is basically accepting all these new responsibilities without having anything in return. Right, and that's something that I guess all my journey until I came to the US it brought me to the point of realizing, like wait a minute, this is something very common in women and mostly male dominated industry.

Speaker 2:

So when you moved to the United States, when this company moved, you were you still under this quiet promotion role where you were being given more responsibility and still you were not compensated fairly. Is that the case? Did you ever approach HR? And then I guess my question is, how do women know you said the red flags were their colleagues, that were open to discussing salary and compensation with you? Like when were you like aware? When was that light bulb moment where you were like wait a minute, this is not the way it should be. Something needs to change.

Speaker 1:

I love that. I love that question because there was a pivotal moment. So I was still in Mexico, that was 2017. And by then I was with the company probably for a year and a half and I was already, let's say, in. I was relocated again. I was relocated first to another state, then to the US, right? So I was in this new state that, by the way, was a higher cost of living state and I didn't have a salary increase. So I was pretty much losing money.

Speaker 1:

And I was having lunch with all my new coworkers and I said New because this was a new facility so, literally, the company relocated me, my boss and other coworkers, so we would train, like higher and train different departments, right, because my boss was training on here.

Speaker 1:

I was training on here, then I was training on here, so we were training different groups, and so we were having lunch and pretty much everyone was. I just had other two female coworkers, but the rest was all men, right, and I was just eating my lunch and they started to ask themselves like hey, how much they offer you, how much do they offer you? How much are you making? You know, they started sharing their salaries and I just, I was just begging for them not to ask me, because for me, yeah, for me, and again, maybe it's a little cultural and as a women, we are taught that you know talking about money is rude and asking for salaries is bad and you should be grateful, right. But when I started to listen to those salaries I started to think that something was off because I had the lowest salary of everyone, and were you equal?

Speaker 2:

Were you on an equal playing field with these people?

Speaker 1:

No, no, so some of them had maybe one or two years of experience, but a lot of them were right out of college what? And they were all new in the company. Oh my gosh, we're talking like weeks or months. Yeah, so that was the first time that I, I guess, when I started to open, I felt that something was off. And to answer your second question about did I approach HR, I did actually when, when they relocated me, I reached out to reach to HR and I asked a problem again and I talk a lot about this in my social media and in VilandroStatinacom that we don't have education about these topics, right? I literally no one ever told me how to make an interview or ask for a salary. Those are the things that I guess we just somehow figured out.

Speaker 2:

I know right, like we're supposed to be taught this, they assume someone's going to teach us, but who are those people?

Speaker 1:

Exactly so. I didn't have that. And even my parents you know they were like. You should be grateful, miha and you know they are moving you and they are giving you all these opportunities.

Speaker 1:

I'm like I need to be grateful. If I ask for more, I am being ungrateful, but something within me just told me right, Because I was saying I couldn't even afford rent anymore Because, remember, I moved to a higher cost of living state, so what I used to be able to afford in my hometown, now I wasn't able. So I approached HR in a very naive please don't do this to whoever is okay, Please don't do what I was, I'm just gonna say. But I approached from the perspective of hey, I need money because I pretty much need to leave and this is expensive. Never do that.

Speaker 2:

Okay, what happened?

Speaker 1:

What happened? When you did that? I got a pretty negative response from HR and surprisingly she was a it was a female right and now she actually got upset and told me right away, like we told you, that these relocations don't come with any salary increase. So, no, stop asking about it.

Speaker 1:

But it was, it was rude like it was. It was rude. And you know, within me, I think, a sense of fear grow of. Okay, I, you know, I guess I just confirmed the thought of yeah, talking about money is bad, yeah, right, so I am not going to talk about money.

Speaker 2:

Mm-hmm. So, knowing what you know now about how to approach HR, how to make sure that you're advocating for yourself and being paid what you're worth, what would you go back and do differently?

Speaker 1:

Okay. So first of all, I think I would open this conversation before the translation in my hometown. When they offer me this, let's say I don't want to say any opposition because it wasn't. I mean, it kind of was, without you know what I mean. So I would have approached first of all my manager, right, and I would lay all my results from the previous years with evidence and numbers. This is what I did, these are my results and thanks to what I did, the company has this benefit. Right, I am in manufacturing, right, so I, for example, I used to work in design changes. I would say the company millions of dollars, right, yes.

Speaker 1:

And those are the things that you need to build your, I guess, your tool, your toolkit of accomplishments. And those are the ones that you bring to the table and say this is the reason why I need a salary increase, because look all the results and look everything that I'm bringing to the table.

Speaker 1:

And so, additional to that, you're asking me to train people so that right now my role is going to be a leadership position or, if not, okay, but we need to talk about it, right. So I would definitely would, first of all, I guess, to make it more organized schedule a meeting, being very clear about what the purpose of that meeting, what I want to achieve or talk about. I'm prepared, not from a point of scarcity, of like and like, asking for something. I would come from like, hey, let's talk about this. You let's say you want me because I'm a good employee. You know I bring this to the table, so let's just talk what after compensation looks like for this new scope. Right and based on all my results. So that's, that's what I would. I think I would have done differently. That's now I know.

Speaker 2:

Yes, Now do you still work for that same company?

Speaker 1:

No no.

Speaker 2:

So tell me what happened. So you go to this high cost of living city, you realize you're sitting there at this lunch and you're realizing, oh my gosh, these fresh graduates are making more money than me. I have been quietly promoted but I'm not receiving really what you should have been receiving in terms of salary and compensation. Where did you go from there?

Speaker 1:

Honestly, alessandro, the reason why I also accepted this position. For me, of course, it was a matter of, well, I could practice my leadership skills. I could develop my leadership skills because now I'm going to train people, but also because there was an opportunity for me to be chosen to go to the United States. So there was only one spot for an engineer to go and support the team in the United States for a new development. I just say a new development, a new car for 2021. We are talking about 2017.

Speaker 1:

So that was, let's say, the motivator and, yeah, I guess my work paid off, Like it has always paid off. My results show off and my boss advocated for me to go to the US and there was just no doubt that I was the best option to go, because I have the experience and the tools necessary to support the team here. So I started like an immigration process to get a work visa and they brought me here. So the idea was a nine month. They call it expatriation assignment, meaning you are in another country, living in another country. You get paid by your home country. It gets a little tricky than that in terms of taxes and payments, but it's basically you are still an employee from Mexico in another country and you are working on a project for that country, but you, at the end of the end of that project or that expatriation, you're expecting to go back to your home country.

Speaker 1:

So, yeah, that's how I arrived in October 2018 to the US. And, to answer the question, no, I am not with that company. Actually, after three months in the US, I left the company because whoever is listening please keep your LinkedIn optimized. Oh, yes, so I recruited Rich out to me. He saw my profile and he contact me right away and say, like, hey, fernanda, are you interested in a full time job in the US? And, to be honest, I wasn't, because and again what I talk with my community of Latinas, we are always thought to be grateful and loyal. We very rarely see what is for us.

Speaker 1:

You know, like we, I guess we prioritize others for ourselves and I was prioritizing my loyalty to this company that, even if they were underpaying me, I still felt grateful that, you know, I had like this responsibility to just say no to other opportunities, and I understand now that's, let's say, a very blind way of seeing things. So eventually I told the recruiter you know, let me think about it. I said no. He kept negotiating and trying to convince me and I said okay, I will do the interview. I did the interview and I got the job and I think I was on. You know, this was the second pivotal moment. You know I told you that I open one one eye.

Speaker 1:

Well, this was the moment when I opened both eyes, because the company had a budget for the position and I was asking for a salary. I love salary transparency, so I'm going to disclose that, like I was asking $60,000.

Speaker 2:

This is in.

Speaker 1:

Michigan for an engineering position, and the company offered me $82,000 just because I guess they saw my worth.

Speaker 2:

And.

Speaker 1:

I think that that was how I guess, in a way, really was that being a, completed the circle of what the mission is right, which is helping women to find their worth career-wise and financially. So for me, this was the beginning of. This is my worth. They are giving me my worth, and this is the first time someone gives me what I'm worth.

Speaker 2:

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Speaker 2:

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Speaker 2:

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Speaker 1:

So that was I want to say 2020.

Speaker 1:

Okay, Like a lot of us in COVID that were stuck at home and we were reflecting on the fact that we were living a lot about our lives. So, yeah, actually, when, after I left this company, I joined the company that offered me to stay and I was very happy, it was a very good job. But again 2020, we were all at home figuring out our lives and I reflected a lot about, I guess, my life overall. What do I want it to do in terms of me, right, my husband well, we were not married yet but my career, my finances and I don't even remember how, but I started to listen a lot of entrepreneurs and investing and you know all these things, and I always had the thought in my head that I was bad at money. You know, money, money is so confusing, investing so complicated, and this is only for rich people. I've been a millionaire and none of this is for me. Like, I'm just a Latina immigrant and I'm here trying to do my best.

Speaker 2:

Right, I'm just trying to make it by every day.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I don't even ask me to think that, but I don't know. I just went on a ride at home of just listening to all these entrepreneurs Again not Latinos or Latinas, so it was people that didn't look like me. So I kept thinking like maybe I could do it, maybe I don't, I don't know, because I didn't see myself represented right, but something that was just curiosity. And I actually started a business. So back in Mexico I used to be an athlete, a bodybuilder. Oh, so long, short, short.

Speaker 1:

I am a certified personal trainer and I thought oh great, I'm going to train women and you know I love fitness. I'm going to do this and that. And just to summarize all that journey of this first business, it was going pretty well, but I was not fulfilled and the reason is because I realized that what I actually loved about this business was to have conversations with women about how they felt and how they can improve their lives. So, instead of just giving a routine and, you know, a diet or whatever, I enjoy having the conversation of how do you feel? Every time for me, my base with my cup was filled when I would receive a text message of someone saying thanks to you, I feel good with my body and for the first time in my life, I wear a bikini and I was just like, oh my god, this is so amazing.

Speaker 1:

And I guess the more I work with women, the more I realize that I wanted to do something to transform lives on a deeper level and honestly, I think I've reached out a little bit to my past. So I come from a very domestic violence environment. You know my mom is my hero and unfortunately, we grow up in not a very in a very complex family environment. Now I guess the person that I am today is thanks to her, because she was a hard worker and I don't know how I listen, but she had always money to pay for things and I don't even know how Like she's the queen of budgeting, probably, or credit cards, and she because it's amazing for me how she could pay for everything with the little income she had.

Speaker 1:

I mean, of course, my dad as well, but mainly my mom was like the person that raised me, thinking about my past and my story, and also a lot of women started to reach out for help, right. Apparently, I was really good giving career advice and I found a lot of joy doing this, so I thought why am I here? I could be there Right and so, and so that's how Relyanda's Latina, I guess, little by little was born.

Speaker 2:

I love it. So now, what do you mostly discuss? You mostly discuss quiet promotions and understanding your worth in terms of your career. Is that correct? And then also investing, yes.

Speaker 1:

So for me, what I I guess what, how I define my mission is just I want to see more money in Latina's hands, and the way I know how to do it is how I have done it, which is having, let's say, a career, grow that career and then use that money invested right and pretty much being independent. So I guess for me it is give women tools to be successful in their careers. We already have a lot of obstacles and a lot of obstacles that I live through and I hear my clients all the time imposter syndrome, discrimination and all these things that we deal. So all the tools I have learned with the years, I just give it to my clients so they can grow their careers.

Speaker 1:

Maybe that looks like making a pivot which I did too, by the way, a pivot from engineering to project management because I found, you know, I laid out a career path for myself. So that's what I do with my clients right, pretty much help them find a career that aligns with who they are and what they want out of life, yeah, making sure that that is a good, paying career, that they are compensated fairly. I teach them how to talk about salary negotiations, how to calculate their market value, how you know how, how much money you should ask for. And after that, okay, now that you have these income, let's lay out your finances, let's see where your budget is, and let's let's focus on saving, but let's invest.

Speaker 2:

Oh my gosh, your what you talk about should be a required class before you graduate high school or college. Like it should just be a requirement. Just take this class. So, because it's true they don't. People don't teach. The school system thinks that parents are teaching it, parents think the school system is teaching it and it's just not being taught anywhere. So I love that you're willing to talk about that and help fill those gaps for women that miss that, that opportunity. Fernanda, tell us more where we can learn about you. If someone's like I want to follow her, I want to. I want to hear what she has to say. I want to reach out to her. Help me get, gain clarity on my career path and increasing my income so that we can get more money in the hands of Latina women. Where can they reach out to you?

Speaker 1:

Sure Well, you can find me on Instagram. That's mainly when I hang out. That's relentlesslatina, and then my page is relentlesslatinacom. So right now I am doing one-on-one coaching. I am actually working on my course. I am going to talk about all of these. I wanted to be a complete course about finances so you feel completely empowered with where your money goes, making sure that you are saving, you're investing, you're paying debt and also, the same time, that your career is on check, on drive and you learn all these tools. You know selling, negotiations and all that. So it's a very, let's say, complete package for career women.

Speaker 2:

I love it and I'll link to your Instagram and your website down below At the end of our interviews. I like to ask three questions, just to get to know you a little bit better outside of relentless Latina. Don't think too hard about them. The first question is what is one thing you're looking forward to? Oh?

Speaker 1:

I really want to see where this goes. I don't want to cry, I want to hear. I have heard many beautiful stories of women that reach out. So I want to hear more. I want to see women changing their lives, transforming their lives, and I am hoping that relentless Latina can give them the tools for that. So I'm really looking forward to hear all these stories of women transforming their lives and taking love Like, let's say, grabbing their career and their finances and being confident about it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I love it. The second question is what's one money mistake you've made that you would tell everybody to avoid?

Speaker 1:

Delaying investing.

Speaker 2:

Oh yes.

Speaker 1:

Invest today.

Speaker 2:

Yes, even if it's just like $20 a month, right, it doesn't matter. And.

Speaker 1:

I know it feels everything that we don't know. When we don't know something, we believe that we just shouldn't do it. That's a mistake. Investing when it comes to investing time, matters a lot. And I think that's something that was an awakening moment. Compound interest I talk a lot about it, so please go to my social media. But basically that's the biggest mistake delaying investing. So please, if you're listening, go to my social media. I talk a lot about this. Please start investing today. It doesn't matter where, how, just please start investing today.

Speaker 2:

Yes, and the first step to investing, I think it's just being willing to learn and just say, like I'm OK asking questions that seem silly or accepting the fact that I don't know everything, but that I'm capable of understanding this. It doesn't have to be hard. Yep, exactly, exactly, I love it. Ok, and the last question isn't a question at all. Just complete this sentence. My favorite thing I've ever spent money on is myself. Oh, I love it. Like, how do you like to spend money on yourself? What do you like to spend money on?

Speaker 1:

Honestly, anything that makes me feel better, either if that is my health hiring a coach, or if it is recently hire a stylist to help me with my clothes, to make me feel, you know, pretty, or something that helps me to highlight my Latina curves Either if that is very recently which I pay for, this beautiful trip to Puerto Rico where I met you. Yes, so that for me, is investing in myself, right. Whatever makes me feel full, feel happy. I met you and so many amazing women, and I just don't have even the words to describe how life changing that has been. So anything that makes me my life joyful, I don't even hesitate to spend money.

Speaker 2:

I love it. I love it and that's a really good way to look at money and in a way that maybe you haven't looked at money like that growing up. Did you see money like that? Because I didn't, not at all.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it was like oh, don't you know that's selfish to spend money on yourself? But it's not. It's good for everyone. I'm sure it's good for your, your relationships and just for your own mental health, physical health, everything. So, oh, that's a great answer. Well, fernanda, thank you so much for joining us. I'll link to your Instagram, I'll link to your website down below, and I hope people will check you out.

Speaker 1:

Thank you. Thank you so much, Allison, for having me. It is an honor and thank you for having this beautiful space.

Speaker 2:

Oh, thank you. I hope you enjoyed today's episode of the Inspire Budget Podcast. If you could do me a favor and just leave a rating or review wherever you're listening, I read every single one of them. It'll take you under 10 seconds and it just helps my podcast get out to other listeners. I'll be back next week with another brand new episode. See you then.

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