What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
In my heart I feel Women’s History Month is a celebratory moment providing an opportunity to reflect on the often overlooked and under-celebrated contributions of women in United States and world history. Women’s History Month is a time to honor the truth that all humans are created equal. It's a moment to reflect on the content of character and contributions of women to the global fabric of the human race.
What woman inspires you most and why?
Having met the history-making former First Lady Michella Obama many years ago, I would say that she is one of many women who inspire me. Michelle's countenance and story reminds me of the Marianne Williamson poem Our Deepest Fear.
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
Michelle Obama has encouraged others to embrace their light of greatness and she reminds us to shine our light of greatness brightly yet humbly– liberating others to then feel free to shine brightly alongside of us. The former FLOTUS challenged herself and others to humbly continue to seek to continue to strive to improve to be the next best level of self.
Can you tell us about your career journey in your field?
I currently serve as First Vice President at one on the largest wealth management firms in world and I have often shared my career journey as an "unintentional fate”.
I was a young girl who excelled in math, science, and most things numbers, yet in my experience, financial conversations with young elementary and high school girls weren't prevalent in my community.
I earned a four-year academic scholarship to college, and shortly after graduation, a female Vice President at a bank in Maryland took notice of my resume and skills. She took a chance on me as a leader and manager by hiring me on the spot. This was the beginning of a very challenging yet rewarding career. I have moved through the ranks of retail banking and lending, commercial banking and lending, and wealth management and financial planning with my current firm.
What has been your biggest career and/or personal achievement?
Becoming a First Vice President in the presence of so much conscious and unconscious bias when I entered banking the industry over 15 years ago, is a huge career accomplishment in hindsight.
I feel a huge sense of personal accomplishment being part of the 2015 Society NMAAHC opening cohort and sharing that historic moment with my father. It was an opportunity to pay homage to his sacrifices for me, as well as the sacrifices of others who came before me and paved the way of opportunity.
What qualities make a great leader?
In my heart I feel the ability to inspire others to dream big and to be their best selves. I believe this has been symbolic of many great leaders throughout time. By inspiring others, a great leader seeks to empower and create a win-win scenario for all. I believe that truly great leaders know and understand that they are to always be a part of the solution and not the problem when looking at how to move to the next best action.
What do you believe will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you?
While more doors are being opened and glass ceilings broken, it's often still a challenge to impact the personal views which cause unconscious implicit bias. As women and the world, we are continuously challenged to continue to move the pendulum of personal perception to bend towards conscious inclusion.
Which women’s stories need to be heard and supported more?
Candidly, the stories of successful women are shared from the perspective of celebrating their arrival. I think through learning the backstory of our women leaders, organizations who bring attention to women at a more grassroots level as a year-round commitment would be wonderful and amazing.
In what ways do you think we can all contribute more to women’s empowerment?
A focus on conscious inclusion where we all make a concerted effort to elevate and initiate intentional engagement with women through action and conversation. Conscious inclusion is decidedly more proactive than reactively avoiding exclusion.
What inspired you to become involved with Covenant House Greater Washington?
Having come from humble beginnings and raised by my dad, I'm keenly aware that it only takes one person being committed to being your advocate, cheerleader, and personal champion to set your life's journey on a great collision course to SUCCESS. My dad once reminded that it doesn't matter how you start, but rather how you finish. Seeing our CHGW youth find the courage each and every day to face huge challenges inspired me to lend a meaningful supportive helping hand.