Get Ready! with Tony Steuer

Get Ready! with Sheryl Brown: Female Advocacy in the Financial Services Community (E13)

February 15, 2020 Tony Steuer Episode 13
Get Ready! with Tony Steuer
Get Ready! with Sheryl Brown: Female Advocacy in the Financial Services Community (E13)
Chapters
Get Ready! with Tony Steuer
Get Ready! with Sheryl Brown: Female Advocacy in the Financial Services Community (E13)
Feb 15, 2020 Episode 13
Tony Steuer

On business efficiency: take out the things that are big item expenses and try to pare those down. You’ll streamline your business, you’ll cut your costs and you’ll make yourself more efficient. The money that you save from that, reinvest that money into other areas marketing yourself and amplify your thought leadership instead. Sheryl Brown

In this episode, I spoke with Sheryl Brown, Founder of Females and Finance about starting a movement for women in financial services. We also discussed Sheryl’s work as an advocate for women. Lastly, we covered how women can be successful in the financial services industry. 

Please subscribe to the GET READY! With Tony Steuer podcast. 

Bio: 

Sheryl Brown is a thirty-year veteran of the financial services profession. She is an international speaker on the topics of social and digital marketing strategies for financial services professionals and organizations. In 2018, Sheryl founded Females and Finance, a private networking community of more than 2,400 women working in financial services and financial technology. 

Show Notes Transcript

On business efficiency: take out the things that are big item expenses and try to pare those down. You’ll streamline your business, you’ll cut your costs and you’ll make yourself more efficient. The money that you save from that, reinvest that money into other areas marketing yourself and amplify your thought leadership instead. Sheryl Brown

In this episode, I spoke with Sheryl Brown, Founder of Females and Finance about starting a movement for women in financial services. We also discussed Sheryl’s work as an advocate for women. Lastly, we covered how women can be successful in the financial services industry. 

Please subscribe to the GET READY! With Tony Steuer podcast. 

Bio: 

Sheryl Brown is a thirty-year veteran of the financial services profession. She is an international speaker on the topics of social and digital marketing strategies for financial services professionals and organizations. In 2018, Sheryl founded Females and Finance, a private networking community of more than 2,400 women working in financial services and financial technology. 

Speaker 1:

[inaudible] welcome to the get ready with Tony Stewart podcast. In partnership with insurance narrative , I'm pleased to be joined today by Cheryl Brown. In this episode, we'll be discussing female advocacy in the financial services community. Cheryl Brown is a 30 year veteran of the financial services profession. She is an international speaker on the topics of social and digital marketing strategies for financial services, professionals and organizations in 2018. Cheryl founded females in finance, a private networking community of more than 2,400 women working in the financial services and financial technology fields. Good morning, Cheryl. Good morning. How are you? I'm doing well. Thank you for joining me today.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I was okay with you saying 30 year veteran until I heard that loud and I went, Ooh, that's

Speaker 1:

It does sound weird.

Speaker 2:

Like I'm that old, but here I am.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. I , I know exactly how you feel that , but anyway , uh, let's dive on in. Um, can you tell us a little bit about what you do?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. So I am a international speaker on social and digital marketing strategies for financial service professionals. And in that time I have a different vantage point standing on stage, talking to people from the podium and the lectern. And I realized it was just a lot of men. I thought this is just not indicative of the company that I keep. And so I did a lot of research in 2017 to 18. I interviewed about 400 women working in financial services and wanted to know what brought them here. So recruitment, if you will. Um, what kind of training did they get? How were they advancing themselves so that we could look at retention and attrition rates. And so females and finance was sort of birth from the idea of how do we recruit, train and advance women in financial services. Uh , and I remember thinking activism comes in strange , uh , ways whether it's intentional or accidental in my case, but I vividly remember telling someone if I got 200 women together, we could have a good conversation. That would be great. And literally it was day eight. So we at , yeah, so we're averaging about anywhere from 75 to 125 new members per month.

Speaker 1:

That's fantastic. Well, you know, I'm just reminded, I don't know if you heard , uh , uh, former president Obama mentioned this week that we'd be much better off if we had a women as presidents or leaders of every country, it's it would be a different thing. I think it would be a welcome change. We've seen what men can do. And,

Speaker 2:

But you said at Tony , so yeah, we've, we've, we've already had, you know, men have had their chance. Well , let's give us a few years to get our hands in there and see if we , what we can do. I would totally support that. I know that I hear some people say it's about the right candidate and you know, it's just like in financial services, what we, it would be easy for me to say we have a gender parody problem, cause that's very evident, but what we really have is a diversity problem. And I think we have that across, not just in financial services, but in every space place that we walk in our lives day to day. So it's the same as the truth. Uh, even in politics, we, you know, we definitely still have a gender parody problem, but it's a diversity problem. Overall,

Speaker 1:

Definitely when I think of the C-suite , um, of the financial services companies that I'm familiar with is there's definitely , uh , it's definitely a male oriented a C-suite situation if you will, for very inelegant phrasing

Speaker 2:

That point. I tell everybody at females and finance, we are not just because I am saved. The dolphins is not kill the whales. We love our men. We want them to be proactive in our group and those who have joined are , and of which you are , um , in that same space. And I think that it's an interesting time where bridging initiatives are becoming much more , um , needed, and we need to be much more transparent about how we , uh, we go about those, you know, with those asks or as I call it, you know, what's your big, put your big ask out there. And I think more companies need to be putting their big ask out there with , uh, with regard to that. So , um, it , it , there's a definite male dominancy in financial services because of the numbers, but that doesn't mean dominancy in, in any other space, whether, I mean , um, talent intelligence , uh, what they bring to the table. It's cetera . It's just the sheer number, the volume of the people. And it is changing. It's slow, but it's changing

Speaker 1:

Oh, a hundred percent. And I think, you know, the realization is that everybody has something to the table and we're all equal and can bring something different. And the more diverse , uh , population that you have, the, I think the more productive the industry will be in the more we'll be able to serve different communities than we currently do.

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Yeah.

Speaker 1:

So let's talk a little bit about how you got here. I mean, you started out as an insurance case manager and you know, a big part of the insurance , uh , nerds audience are traditional insurance employees. How did you go from that start insurance case manager, underwriting consults to your current role as a social media rockstar and female , uh, Zen finance advocate.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So I have to give props to mass mutual. I moved to San Francisco of when I was 19 and I'll be 49 in a few weeks here and I needed a job. I had a thousand dollars. I thought it was so wealthy. I was totally broke . And , uh , I'd come from Missouri, which I, I live today back in St. Louis, but I lived in San Francisco for 18 years, but when I got there , um , I needed a job and I went to the local Kinko's in Berkeley, California. I literally copied almost probably verbatim the resume was inside the book. And I was very Christina Applegate ish , if you will, I guess I was like, I need a job . I'm filling this out. And I didn't even know how to use a computer, sent it off. And I actually fax it to the wrong number and Matthew and said, Hey, I think you're looking for something else, but we're hiring. Would you like to come in? And I was like, yeah. And I have to say, I always say this Robert from me who is still my mentor to this very day hired me , um, that, because , uh, he said, he's what I liked about you was that you were curious, we can never teach curiosity. And you're truly curious about things. You didn't know what you would go find an answer and you were advocate . Even after that , I was hired advocating always for what was the best outcome, not only for the insured a lot of times, but even for the office, like I was looking at things much more strategically that spawned, you know, continuing to grow. I started answering phones, marketing rep, and account executive , and it kept moving on. And then I left there to do, you know , estate planning work. And that led to running a case management unit for PAC life and , and so on. And so far. So I, to the T today where I'm at with being the CEO of my own company is that all of those stepping stones that I worked in gave me such a good perspective of where we're at and financial services so that I, a lot of times see conversations online where, all right, fee-only and fee-based people don't, don't call me, don't eat my face. Okay. But we do see a lot of fee only going , Oh, commission people, you know, and then commission people going, Oh , we need to stop that. There is an abundance of talent and business for everyone. And you know what, I'm going to say this for every fee, only person out there who's planning today, that kind of looks down on a commissionable space. One, your fee is commissioned , but that's a whole nother topic, but two that there is good old, plain vanilla insurance sold people that I've never seen a commission check ever, or a , uh , a, a clean check ever returned in the time of name . And for every day you have main street USA people, it really does work. So there's a space for everyone. There's definitely a need for our fee only planners. There's a definite need for a fee-based planners, and there's a definite need for commissionable people. And so we just need to collectively understand there's an abundance of , um, business out there for all of us. And so I feel like I can say that because all those stepping stones I've worked in every one of those spaces, and it gives me a little bit different perspective to share

Speaker 1:

Well, that's fantastic. And I think that probably holds true as well for any , uh , career path that people are on. Is it , you know, there's there's room to grow and , uh, there's , there's always opportunity.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely. And I mean, I'm, I'm the living, breathing proof of what happens. And , and so, because of that, what I try to , to do at least with our community at females in finance is that we welcome every one of those individuals. And we ask everybody to, let's put our competitive part of the door. How do we help grow each other? And that is what they do that is exactly. So I see people who typically wouldn't even run in the same threads. Uh they're in the group, and somebody can ask a question and 20 people can come in and say, have you thought about it like this? You know , and then strategize it with the person. And so in the end, they get a much richer, better outcome than them sitting on their own, or maybe muddling it over with people in their own business who are too much in their Kool-Aid, if you will , um, overwhelmingly I'm hearing from the members that they appreciate that they get input from people who are outside their natural , uh , vein or the walk of life.

Speaker 1:

That's great. Yeah. That's a fantastic point. Uh, so let's get a little bit into , uh , females and finance. Uh, w what, you know, I think we talked a little bit about what prompted you to create females and finances. Uh, what else can you tell us about females and finance and what went into it?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so we're not an association. There's a lot of times we'll have said, Oh, are you in competition with fill in the blank? And I'm not because I'm a business. Um, and because it's my business, I get to do what I want kind of thing and tell people within, right . But I, I, we're not where you come to a website and you just fill out , uh , your name and your checkbook. It's not going to happen like that. I actually vet the members like you and I, we actually talked, I get on the phone. Uh , so all of those 2000 members, I would tell you that most of them have had a conversation with me. I want to know who they are, what kind of business they're in, how do I get introductions to them, to other people, I try to really get into the weeds of it. And so, because of that, we build a very different dynamic of networking. So we're very intentional about each other's business, instead of sort of like, Oh, I'll just get a username and password. Nobody wants another reason. Nobody wants another username and password. We are 100% based on Facebook. We are a closed Facebook group. People have asked me why. Uh , and I want to , and we do have a website that you can go to and get a lot of information. However, where the real conversation is because Facebook allowed me , uh , we grew so fast. Number one, number two, single sign on feature, private group, you got to come into it. I've never promoted a single , uh , post I've never boosted anything I've never had to. So because of that, we keep our conversation very , um, to the women about the topics that were , you know, everything from secure act to, how do I run a wine and cheese party? I mean, you name it nuts and bolts. However, someone wants to describe it. We'd cover. So there's a lot , um , when people ask me, well, what are the benefits? There's almost too many, this one , it used to be just this, this and this. And now it's like, Oh man, the whole, we threw the whole kitchen sink in. So

Speaker 1:

Yeah, when I think that's probably reflective also of the change in the industry , uh, because I think we're probably both active in , uh , San Francisco in the insurance industry at the same time. And at that point, I remember going to large , uh, NAIFA meetings and NLU and CLU meetings where we pack in a hundred, 150 people. No problem. That was just the San Francisco chapters. And now people don't have that community. So it's great that you're able to provide that opportunity to people.

Speaker 2:

And I would say that Nathan is actually one of our biggest partners, one of our founding partners actually, because , um , the idea of still having that local community meeting, I think is still valuable, whether you're wherever you fall in that insurance sector. Um, I think that you should be a NAIFA member, but that's because I've been a NAIFA member for so long. But I do think that the online component of it in today's day and age, where we meet on zoom, where are we are for, for us here in St. Louis inclement weather, the last three days, we got pummeled with snow and I can still continue business as usual because I just, instead of meeting people in person, I meet them online. My business is international because we cross over and into Canada and other areas. I can also meet with people. So don't necessarily have to go to a meeting, but we have a space online where people can come in and commute. And I think that's really important in organizations like Nathan, others have definitely , um , realized that and are changing how people connect locally and within a region.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. That's, that's great. Yeah. I think the internet has , uh, helped create this. Cause I don't think you and I would have formed this type of relationship 20 years ago. So it's , it's really exciting.

Speaker 2:

Not unless you were at a , let's say if you're in San Francisco, let me start throwing some names that I ran into at a past squat coffee shop, or there you go. I had some patients who , you know, went down and got a burger from nations, went over, what's a Burkle Burkle in Berkeley or something, you know, so I know my is , but yeah, it would have really meant that we had to actually cross literally our paths. And when I was on the Bart station, you know, train next to each other, going in, we would have had to talk. And anybody listening to this call, you don't really talk to the people in Bart , like film .

Speaker 1:

I , yeah ,

Speaker 2:

Not a good idea. It's a sub come on. But you know exactly the , the, the truth of it is that you had to go to those meetings to meet this stuff. What we're doing today has just been , um, revolutionary to our business seriously. And those not embracing it start today, like literally go to zoom and sign up for an account. You can get a 45 minute account for free do it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah . Yeah, no, it's wonderful. Um, so let's talk a little bit about women in the financial services industry. So, you know, we've, we've talked about the diversity, so, you know, what, what is different for women in the financial services industry?

Speaker 2:

So I like to always refer to as a community because I always think of industries , the widget, right? There's people putting things on things , and we don't do that in financial services. In fact, if you think about it, other than maybe handing somebody an actual policy, which is the most tangible, it's still just a promise. You've made a promise, a commitment , uh , to exchange this for that, you know, and if this happens, then this happens, you know, and that tells what the promise is. And so I think with women, when I roll back the clocks part of what is happening today, and you're seeing it, one of the number, one things I get mentioned to me is about , um, this idea of the me too, you know, what happened, Toronto. She has her own movement there, and I want her to continue to do that females and finances not mean too . Um, but we do have be two parts of what has happened. And so when you ask about what's different, we're working in an environment where we're almost providing an intangible product , um , and you're having to sell it. So there's a lot of intensity around that. It is commissionable. And I will also say this too, for anybody going back to our field , only people. Um , we are one of the few industries where, when we do our job, well, we get paid less. So when we get somebody a super, our offer that we showed them a standard, we're actually making less money in the target. I don't know of a lot of places where people would go to work every day, Hey, do a great job. And you get paid less. I mean, that's kind of a little counterintuitive , right? And so with women , um, one of the things that I remember seeing in the past was we didn't see a lot of women in the commissionable space because that commissionable environment fluctuated there was too much ebb and flow. And I will tell you if you think that financial security is not a loved one language, I'm a single until a few more days. Uh, they, you know, we feel it in our soul that financial security is something that's really , uh, we , we need to feel it. And so what's different now, today is that there's flexible pay environments. There is , um, I think more women are becoming more aggressive about going after advancement opportunities. I think women of color for every person listening to this today, women of color deserve to be at the table and to have the exact same equitable position as any other person does. And so be prepared to see an influx of , uh, people of color, women of color, specifically in the , the women part of it , um, coming for those opportunities. Um, I also think too, that women are Mo market in one. And so for me, when somebody sees me, you have to imagine what's behind me, are my children and my grandchildren. And I am the daughter and I am the aunt and I, and I'm making a lot of the financial decisions for my parents at this age. So when you sell to me, you're selling to the 82 people behind me too. So it's the whole package of what's different today. And , and I love to see the young women coming into the profession. And I really have been working hard at reaching into the colleges to grab a hold of those young people and pulling them through. And that's men and women, FYI, at least at my organization because we have to secure and keep those financial service people in our space, no matter what space they decide to fill or that they tend to go toward, but there's a lot of us older, seasoned. However, we want to define ourselves women that we remember the old times where we were the ones , uh, asked to go get the water, get the lunches, and get the drinks and, and okay. Honey and happiness on the knee. And could you imagine somebody doing that today? I mean, it's very common place . It's very different today and I'm glad for that and it needed to change, but I'm really glad for, for our young, because I think that they're going to get a little bit better chance at that equitable position, but we still have so much more work to do.

Speaker 1:

Definitely. And in those times you speak of, or not that long ago. I mean, I , I think I experienced that when I first started out , uh, you know, in the eighties that , that, that mentality was still very much a play.

Speaker 2:

Oh. And if you think it's not, I spoke at a conference a year and a half ago in Arizona and I came off of stage and there was a dinner and I sat down at the dinner and a man came up to me and he tapped me on the shoulder thinking, of course, you naturally look up, I'm like, hello, get ready to greet them. He literally took his hands and I have a full long hair and he grabbed my hair and I was like, totally taken off guard. And he's, I've been wanting to do that all night. You have the most beautiful hair thinking he's complimenting me while he's actually assaulting me to some degree. Wow . And I was like, my girlfriend, Beth was like, don't touch her, don't touch her. And so we are still experiencing it. And for every person listening says, Oh, that can't possibly be happening. It still happens. So we have a lot of work still to do so women in financial services and financial technology for that matter. Yeah. We have a lot of work to do, and it takes people like yourself, Tony, that are there to how , uh, make certain that those moments that you're, you're watching, you're keeping watchful eyes and ears and , um , and holding everybody in a group accountable to having the very best event, the best summit, the best conference that symposium the best luncheon, the best meeting possible. So we have a lot of work still to do

Speaker 1:

Well. I, I'm sorry to hear about that. And I think there's a valuable lesson is , uh , you know, we have to watch out for each other and that we have to be professionals and , uh, that shame on that person because they ruin the professionalism of the conference and the industry.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And it's the number one reason why I did not go to an association. I kept it as a business because then I get to control the quality of the group that we've built is very high because I don't, we just don't subscribe to any of those things. And, and , uh, so I think it's , uh, it's, it's been interesting cause it really evolved into a movement. It just became so much bigger than me, very quickly, which I was proud of, but it just evolved into this movement now that when you join our community of professionals, it's , uh , we don't take a lot of the crap.

Speaker 1:

Well, I think that's a , a motto we can all subscribe to. We don't take any crappier .

Speaker 2:

It seems crazy, but you actually, I kept to say it out loud anymore, but I'm hopeful that with organizations such as mine or organizations that are, I love the fact that I was at , uh , you know , conferences now that actually get up in front and on stage and say, here is what our expectation of behavior is going to be at this conference. And although that seems trivial and almost a remedial it's necessary. And I also have to say for every person, when you go to a conference or to an event, alcohol is a big factor in a lot of that behavior. And so be even more aware at the parties, the cocktail things , uh , because that's when a lot of this where people kind of let things loose and everybody has a good time and maybe it's too good and our professionalism comes down with that. So , um, I just think there's a lot of work that we can still be doing. And for all the great men that are listening, I want to know you, you know, I put that out at the time. I've told you this before Tony discussion, they are the ones who are going to change how financial services moves forward in 2020 and beyond

Speaker 1:

Definitely one. I think these lessons are good is, is we do have some listeners on the podcast, outside the financial services industry. And I think that those are valuable lessons for everybody and , uh, considerations that, you know, treat each other, like we would treat our own family. Uh , and friends is, there is no excuse for , uh, acting differently , uh, with people that we meet in a different way. And I , I think that's one of the things that I've always tried to do , uh, personally and professionally is, you know, that there's, there's no difference. Uh , I'm not a different person when I'm at work than I am at home. And I think that , uh, in so many industries and especially in the financial services industry, I find that people are oftentimes two different people. They have a work face and a personal face and , uh , yeah .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. And I tell them, it's funny. I made a comment one time , um, that who I am talking to you right now on this podcast, who I am, when I'm in my, for typing a message who I am, when I'm on stage , my kids will tell you, that's like , that's my mom. Like I never, there's no character, right ? Because I'm just who I am. And so , um, we need more of that. We need more people just to let go of the fluff, be themselves , uh, for any person listening to who wants to amplify their thought leadership and connect with more people, just be yourself. It's simply the easiest thing to do. And you can always , uh , you know, massage the ends of some of the things that might be rough on, whether it's a speaking articulation saying , um, too much, whatever those things might be, you can kind of finesse those things. But for the most part, we want you to stay who you are because that's who people want to do business with that part of you, not the fake things that I see you and I both been around us professional long enough. We know, we know.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And it is a lot easier just to be yourself. You don't have to keep up , um, anything else. And I think people , uh , feel that when people are being genuine. Uh, so I think that's really valuable advice, especially for the young people is , you know, just go ahead and be yourself. People are going to see who you are at some point, anyway, like you've talked about with some of these experiences is, you know, it comes out, you can't hide your true nature.

Speaker 2:

Uh , no, I don't think I have a lot because I'm a social media and digital marketing strategist by nature. People come to me and they're like, what? Like, Cheryl, tell me what I should do better on my LinkedIn. And one of the number one questions I ask people about that is so you always wear a suit in every time you meet with somebody. Cause I see you in a three-piece suit and this picture and they're like, no, I never do it . Don't wear it in your picture. You know, it's like , that's some , I tell people it's all it's match. It's match.com, dates gone wrong too many times. And nobody trust , just be yourself in the picture, you know, just be who you are. Um, I maybe don't want to see, you know, I've also seen pictures where people are doing selfies in the bathroom, don't be too much yourself. There's a fine line of balance. And it's an even in how you talk about yourself online to make it genuine to who you are in the kind of people you're looking for, because they'll naturally migrate that way. So I think that that's , uh , I think that's really important and that's one of the reasons why I vet everyone too , because I want them to feel like they can be themselves inside of our community because they are residents inside of that. And they have a home just like you, wouldn't a neighborhood. And we want you to, you know, we want you to be who you are so that we can do business with that person. Not some made up persona.

Speaker 1:

That's great. And I'd imagine that's a key piece of why females and finance has been so successful. I mean, you know, and so just curious, when did you, you know, I mean, I would imagine that the level of maturity probably exceeded your expectations. I mean, when did you find that you had just this movement going and that it was really just, I mean, in a year you've traveled in an amazing amount of ground.

Speaker 2:

Yeah . Look , it's , uh , I think the moment that I think it clicked for me, at least it wasn't so much that the , the flood gate of people asking to join the community came and I was like, Oh, and at first I thought, Oh , Facebook's doing its job. And it's, you know , popping up to join. This is great. And , um , where it really hit me though, where it resonated most strongly was I had a LinkedIn connection from a young woman that said, my friend, so-and-so said, you're the person who works with women in financial services. And I'd like to connect. And I remembered reading that and I thought, I'm the person, I'm the person D person. And so I connected with her and when I called and invited her to a call, I said, yeah, I thought that was really interesting. And she's like, Oh yeah. You're, you're like the person of any , I was told that any women who work in this , uh , profession, I should you send them to you? I thought, Oh man, I felt like Kevin Costner, I built it. And they came. So, you know, and so it was , uh , it was also profoundly humbling at that moment too , because then I realized I had a responsibility. It was that moment that this isn't just a club. This wasn't just a, Hey, let's get some people together. There's a responsibility to it. And so then I really started sitting back and going, okay, and asking questions that people who lead movements ask, what do you need to be better? What can I provide you to be the best version of yourself and your business? How do we make you more money this year? And so I start filling out call notes and, and connecting people and doing all of that. That's where the success came in, because I think this is one of the mistakes associations make a lot of times that they go into it with this idea that they're going to make it change our mission and value statement, except then they get themselves so caught up in red tape of problems instead, just get down to your members. So this is the, this is how you do it. Everybody. I tell them if you feature your members and talk about your members and you make your member successful, where do you think that those members are going to send every person they know to you? It's that simple?

Speaker 1:

Yeah. Well, sometimes people miss the simple part, you know, we tend to make life more complex , right ? That's true.

Speaker 2:

It's not easy to sit down and remember that one particular CFP, her husband's a pilot in the air force and they have two kids and she's working from home and she does . I keep very good details on who my members are. And so, you know what, she's probably not somebody that I sent a birthday notice to as much as I said in 4th of July grateful letter, that her family gives up and sacrifices time to serve our country. These are the times when I remember them during those moments, because that's when it's really important in their house. And so if, if associations could just get back to what it's supposed to be about, which is the members during them and bettering their business and know who they are as people, the rest of itself takes care of itself. It truly does. And so that's where the success came. That's where the , and I, and just for anybody listening, I don't have staff, I don't have, I do this. And I, now I'm very efficient in my business. I have very, very, very efficient business practices and how I do things. I am not a procrastinator. You will not do well in this business if you're a procrastinator, but , um, you know, I don't want people to think, Oh, she's got all of these people that are helping her. If my two cats that live with me, you know, with us, our staff, then yeah. We'll count, shadow, banded into that. And I can tell you abandoned , gotten up from the front room in the last three hours cause I was asleep . So yeah. So it just takes it an enormous amount of commitment to meet people where they're at and then move forward from there. So that's where the success comes from.

Speaker 1:

Well , that's fantastic. I think that's such a great lesson. Um, you know, so you have all this going on. Um, how do you find balance and how do you make that productivity work? Your efficiency. Yeah .

Speaker 2:

So I will tell you that the balance is a, is a weird word because everybody has a different way that they're measuring that balance. Right? So for me , um, I am, I am an early person. I'm not gonna sit there and say, I don't get up at four o'clock. So you CrossFitters , you can keep that I'm not going to be there. Um , but I, I mean, I do get up early , but I will tell you where efficiencies come into play. Zoom is a big efficiency maker. I can schedule. I don't have to go drive from appointment to appointment, to appointment, to appointment, to , um , to do any of that. Those days are long gone. And I will literally talk to nine people every single day because of zoom and then using Calendly to schedule and calendar out. And it's connected to my zoom. So it automatically puts my a zoom appointment in there. I will also tell you too, that I have a lot of things up. One, another one I'll give you is auto text expander. If nobody is using this, they should, you basically program your words into it when you type it, it fills it in. So when I have birthday notices or I have whatever, you know, my template, if you will, I , it automatically feeds it in on online forums makes it super easy. Um , using templates on Gmail outlook that are automatically pulls it up and then you're able to push that those out, that is going to make the difference. So be very efficient. Every time you have a process in your office that you think, why is it so arduous? Why does this take so much time, stop yourself right there? Because somebody has already figured it out. And if they have it , it's your million dollar idea and get onto your bad self and go make it because I'm telling you there's other financial advisors that are going to do that.

Speaker 1:

That's fantastic. That that's a really good point. Um, so what are some key takeaways , uh, for how women can be successful in the financial services community?

Speaker 2:

I think that first of all, partner, mentor find somebody that you are connected to and a lot of women naturally do this anyway. So I think that that's great. You are welcome to join females in finance, although you don't have to, but we would welcome you into our community. Find strong male allies because there are going to be some of your best promoters and , uh , in connectors a lot of times too. And I want you to always be asking for what exactly it is that you want. Don't beat around the Bush. This is something that you can't wait for. Someone to figure out that can't, they see me doing this stop ad actually asks , I'd say it puts your big ask out there. I say it all the time, because that is where you're actually going to change things is whenever you are , um, asking for what you want, implementing the things that you've you've asked for. And then , um, and then connecting to people all the time that don't look like yourself, challenge yourself every day, challenge yourself against that, because that's where you're going to see a big, especially in your bottom line business, you're going to see an enormous change. And that's where diversity will . We started this conversation. I end on it because it's probably one of the single most important things that we need to experience in financial services overall.

Speaker 1:

That's, that's great. Yeah. It's , you know, that's where we learned something. It's when we connect with people who are different than ourselves, if you know, we surround ourselves with people who are just like us, then we're just going to be just like us and not learn anything new and not expand out beyond that. Um, so what's your best number one tip on financial preparedness for people outside or inside the financial services community. What , what would be your number one takeaway point?

Speaker 2:

Um, let's see. That's a good question. So in financial preparedness, at least in my world is that I have been , um, this coming year. So I built this community a hundred percent bootstrap that's myself. And so this year, one of my financial preparedness, you know, reminders, if you will, is that I have to ask for sponsorships, I have to ask for, and I have to actually actively ask for them. And I think it's the same as asking for business right. And referrals. And so I think the other thing too, as we're coming up on, and I know that people can, I've heard some people go back and forth about the impending recession. I've been asked to speak on at least six panels in the coming year about the recession and getting speakers to talk to that point. I think you really, this going back to the business efficiency, things, taking out the things that are big item expenses too, and trying to pair those down from a financial preparedness type of mentality, you will streamline your business. You will cut your costs and you'll make yourself more efficient. And the money that you save from that reinvested into other areas in marketing yourself and amplifying your thought leadership instead, don't just go pocket or do whatever, put it back in into the pool of marketing, just put it in other areas, whether you're boosting posts of things that you wrote , uh, you know, getting yourself into speaking engagements and whatnot. Because I think that is where you're going to see a really big return on your bottom line. That's where I've seen it. The biggest ones.

Speaker 1:

Yeah. And I think that's good, whether you're a financial service professional consumer, whomever, you know, trim your expenses where you can and then use your money more efficiently is so many , uh, it's so easy to spend money on things we don't really need and , uh , to not have money for expanding whatever else we want to expand, whether it's a hobby, whether it's making better use of our investments or whatever. That's such wonderful advice. So now I've got probably the hardest hitting question to the interview. So I hope you're ready. Your program volunteer with the girl Scouts. What is your favorite cookie? Are you more thin mints or dosey DOE?

Speaker 2:

Yeah. So I'm going to tell you right now that then mens are, should okay. There . The serving is the sleep. I don't know why they put the serving size on the side of the box. Just take the sleeve out. And that's what it is. Um , that has always been at my girls were girl Scouts is little and my two sons, they're 31 and 29. They recently were talking to me. And I remember whenever we had, I had a girl scout trip with 26 girls. So we sold like 3,600 boxes of cookies. And every year I would come up and be like, am I like four bucks is short? How am I for those two boys? And like, ah , we didn't want to tell you mom, but we totally. So every woman out there who are, or man who's in girl Scouts and got missing boxes going out with the older kids because apparently , uh , and they were always within them . So I got to go with them men , but yeah, I, girl Scouts is something that's very near and dear to me, I have a lot of friends who are J instructors. I have friends that are part of , um, you know, those that are working with other youth in their community in a variety of ways. And I just think that that's, that's my way I give back, but really it's to give back to myself.

Speaker 1:

Well, that's great. Yeah. I , I like thin mints. I kinda like Samoas . They're so hard to stop there . They're so good. I mean, I actually just out of curiosity, do you know if anybody's written a book about how the girl Scouts have built this? Amazing. I don't know if business is quite the right word.

Speaker 2:

I know what you mean though, because from a member talking about membership association, that people are loyal to boy that's , but they always are about the girls. See, it goes back to, it goes back to that. And so they make it so much about them. But I don't know. I know that , um, there's some books about Juliette Gordon low that are written that are very well, but I don't know about the actual business of girl Scouts. Oh , I'm going to write that down. That's why I pulled my pin out. Just so I could write that down. I like that. Yeah .

Speaker 1:

Because if you think about boy Scouts, popcorn and girl scout cookies, you know what I mean ? Come on. That's, that's a no-brainer there.

Speaker 2:

I still , I do actually support the boy Scouts with , with their popcorn sales. And I usually ask them then to send them to the military, they do a really good job of making sure that we got over there and the girl Scouts will do that to you whenever you ask them .

Speaker 1:

Definitely. And that was no slight to any boy Scouts out there or people who are involved with boy Scouts , uh , just a personal preference on snacks. Uh, and I think the one thing , uh , that the trend there is, and I think the big connector is the female advocacy. I that's the thing that's most impressive. I think for girls is , uh, with the girl Scouts, is that it puts them right on that track of , um, you know, that they can do it. Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Oh, it's taught my girls. There's so many valuable lessons because people go , it's not about the cookies. It's not about the cookies. It's about managing a team and building a strategy and having accountability and putting yourself out there for sales and then marketing it. And there's just so much more than that. That just happens to be the product. So put the product. I mean, the product could change. It doesn't matter. Um, there was my daughter, I have two , my daughter fair . I have to say this. She was sick as a dog, which he had promised herself to show up at this cookie thing. And she had the flu and, and I told her , no, you don't have to go. She's like, no, I made a commitment, which I was so proud of as a mom. But here she puts on this turtleneck and she goes out into this cold and she decided if I'm going to be out here, I'm going to sell the most cookies today. She was like on it and I'll never forget this man came out. And she had asked him , would you like to buy some girl Scouts? And he said, Oh, cookies. And he says, Oh, you know, I've already bought groceries. And she's like, how'd you pay for that? And she's like, it's used , there's an ATM machine. Right. She was like, everything as much as , you know, what some people would say that that was being bossy, pushy, a spammy, whatever. No, she was being innovative and aggressive. And if she had been male, they would have been like, Oh, that's good job. But she's a girl like, isn't that aggressive. And yeah, she was because she was trying to get done with the commitment that she made. And so I think girl Scouts really does joke a job. And I think boy Scouts do too , um, grooming people into refining skills inside of themselves. One either. They didn't know that they had her too didn't know how to pull them out. And at least experienced them, even if they wanted to put it back. Cause they didn't like it. Definitely for me, that was camping. I am not a camper, but I pulled that out and then I put it back. I was like, not for me.

Speaker 1:

Uh , I think that's such a great place , uh , to, to wrap up on because you , you know, I mean, that's really, I think where, you know, the whole line is, and I think that probably gets to the core of why females and finding participants so successful is that you've helped people unlock something within themselves. Uh , so I think that's a wonderful message. So , uh, where can people learn more about you and females and finance?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. They can either just go to females and finance and that's an and a and D so it's that females in finance emails and finance.com or they can find me on, if you go to a bionic socialite, that's me personally, or you can go to females in with the letter in finance. Um , you can find me there too, but you know, just pretty much if you type the words in Google would turn up.

Speaker 1:

That's great. And , uh , for all of our listeners , uh, all that will be in our show notes as well. All the ways you can , uh, find out more about the great work that Cheryl is doing with , uh , females and finance and how to be in touch with her. Uh, Cheryl, thank you again so much for coming on today. It's been a real pleasure. This has been a great conversation.

Speaker 2:

Yes, me too. I'm really grateful for this. And , and for all the work that you're doing, honestly in not just insurance financial services, but having conversations like this about women and diversity. I really am grateful. Thank you.

Speaker 1:

Oh yeah. My , my pleasure. And uh, everybody, thanks again for tuning into the, get ready with Tony Stewart podcasts in partnership with insurance nerds. And if you haven't subscribed yet, this is the perfect time to subscribe. See you next time.