Q and A with Stephanie, Los Angeles, CA
“If I had caved and listened to the naysayers, I wouldn’t be here.”
Q: What are you passionate about?
A: I had gotten laid off from my advertising job, and a recruiter suggested I take an interview with New York Life, which is a mutually owned financial firm. It’s been very enlightening because being a mutually owned financial firm, we are owned solely by our clients, and not beholden to outside forces like shareholders. We do put our clients first in so many ways. Being in the financial industry, I’ve really noticed how many people do what other people do and don’t understand how things affect them. 401(k)s are not your only retirement vehicles to utilize, and it’s been a mission of mine to educate people on all their options that are most viable to them for their own personal goals. I want to empower people to take hold of their portfolios to live their best lives now.
I’m very big on living sustainably. Minimizing my carbon footprint and finding other like-minded people and small ways to change my life to have a big impact on the environment, like getting rid of napkins and paper towels and using cloth towels instead. I’m also using more glass and less plastic. Basically, I’m making sustainable changes in my life and lifestyle. Right now, I’m working on assisting small businesses with their company 401(k) needs. Here in California, we have a CalSavers plan which is forcing almost all business owners to offer retirement plans. I’ve had a lot of great conversations, educating business owners on their options and if CalSavers (the state retirement plan) is best for them, or if opening their own 401(k) plan works best for them. I’m really big about keeping the small businesses afloat and supporting as many as I can. While I can’t deny the convenience of Target or Amazon, small businesses are what give our cities personality, and I want to see as many of them thrive as possible.
Q: What were your younger years like?
A: Education is very important in my household. I was one of the first people in my family to get a college education. I got a degree in business and an emphasis in marketing, a very practical major. It’s a reflection of me. I was a practical child, and I’m a practical adult. When I was a kid, my mom told me I requested vegetables [she laughs]. What kid asks for veggies? Lima beans were my favorite.
I’m an only child between my parents. My father remarried, and I have two much younger brothers. It worked out so well; I love our big age difference (20+ years). When I was younger, I played piano, danced (ballet, jazz, tap), and did martial arts. Being an only child played such a big part in who I am now. I like my alone time and value it as much as I value spending time with my friends, family, and my boyfriend. I think because I was an only child and my mother’s sole focus, I was able to find myself pretty quickly. I never did anything I didn’t want to do, and never cared about trends. I think that’s why being an entrepreneur works so well for me; I like independence.
Q: What is something valuable you’d like others to know?
A: I suppose what I want others to learn from my story is to be true to who you are. Never settle for less. Stand steadfast, regardless of what people say or their resistance to you. You’ll find your people eventually, those who support you and understand you. When I left my steady paycheck and started doing what I’m doing now, I had so many people tell me why I was wrong. I didn’t listen, and now I’m doing something that I enjoy so much; it doesn’t feel like work. And my time is my own. My grandmothers aren’t doing well, and I have the flexibility to be with them and spend time with them. I have also found my people, so many people who support me and are so excited for me and my happiness. If I had caved and listened to the naysayers, I wouldn’t be here.
Q: What does feminism mean to you?
A: Feminism, to me, means being true to yourself, being the best at what you do to break those glass ceilings. Doing it with grace and respect, while not remaining silent. Lifting others up, not bringing down them down. Every generation has its own battle to engage in, and we need to remember the battles from before. History shouldn’t be forgotten. History is a formidable weapon if used appropriately. We need to keep striving forward, not forget where we were, and be proud of how far we’ve come.
MORE ABOUT STEPHANIE: Hmm, fun fact: I have a bearded dragon for a pet that I’m totally obsessed with [she laughs]. He’s not your typical pet. Many people are afraid of reptiles (I totally get it). I love to travel and have been on 6 of the 7 continents (Antarctica, I will get to you!!!) I’ve also done much of my traveling by myself. I’ve been to many places like Africa and South America as examples. I usually go somewhere for 2 weeks, and I’ll do half the trip by myself, and the second half I’ll jump on a tour to meet other traveling like-minded people. I stay in touch with a lot of them; it’s been a great network to have in terms of travel tips and being kept up to date on international news from locals.
Thank you for reading!
Link to my financial advising quiz: https://p1p2zgomnrd.typeform.com/BuildYourLegacy
Link to my Facebook group you can join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/3207192119404857