Being a Modernist in Finance

Episode 67: Being A Modernist in Finance
Guest: Georgia Lee Hussey

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With training in instillation sculpture and creative writing, Georgia Lee Hussey was focused on becoming a professional artist. However, after 12 years, Georgia decided it was time to try something new. At the time she was living in Portland, Oregon during the sub-prime mortgages phase and Georgia found herself with two mortgages: the first had a 7.5% interest rate and the second had 11.5% interest, and both were variable. She had never been taught about money or budgeting and found herself in a difficult, unstable position. Georgia began reading everything she could about financing and budgeting and found that she loved it. She became inspired to become a financial planner and went back to school to get her CFP.

By the time Georgia successfully passed her CFP exam, she already had some clients, which meant that she needed a home for her business. She looked to a brokerage firm to help and was extremely grateful for all the support that they provided. However, she felt out of place because it was very male-dominated and there was a general sense of inequality. She also quickly came to realize that the institutionalized structures of the industry weren’t going to support her vision. As a result, Georgia started Modernist Financial, which was built on a foundation of creativity and collaboration.

Today, Georgia is working with Jennifer Armbrust, with Armbrust & Co. to create a feminist business model. The basic core of the model is equity and inclusion, and flattening inequalities. Modernist Financial is built on values of inviting and including, investing in people, innovating and iterating, and doing good work well. Georgia is striving to create a sense of partnership and empowerment between her advisors and clients and ensuring her staff can support the innovative advice that they are providing to clients.

If you’d like to learn more about Georgia, visit Thanks for listening. If you liked what you heard, be sure to hit subscribe, share it with others and write us a quick review on iTunes.

Go For No!

Episode 21: Go For No!
Guest: Andrea Waltz

Hello, and welcome back! How are things with you? I hope you’re well and enjoying some nice, warm weather, wherever you are. On this week’s episode ofWomen Rocking Wall Street, I have the pleasure of chatting with Andrea Waltz, co-author of the best-selling book “Go For No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There.” Andrea wrote the book with Richard Fenton, and together they own Courage Crafters Inc.

Today she’ll teach us all about the Go For No concept, which is based around letting go of the fear of rejection. Whether you are going for a raise or trying to get a new client, you’ll never hear a yes unless you conquer the fear of hearing no. In fact, when you overcome this fear of no, the yeses that you do receive will likely be grander in scale. It may seem strange to intentionally increase your failure rate, but in reality, it’s a sign that you’re really putting yourself out there and taking chances!

I encourage all of you to try hearing no for even just a week. Once you’ve gotten used to the idea, work your way up to a 30-day challenge. As Andrea says, practicing Go For No can be as simple as asking the restaurant waiter if you can move to another table closer to the window. See how many nos you can collect!

Imagine what your professional and personal life would look like if you decided to take a chance each day and put yourself out there. Think about how it would feel to embrace rejection with open arms and recognize it as a sign that you’re on the verge of something courageous and bold.

Here’s a preview of the five levels of failure, which Andrea explains on this episode:

  1. the ability to fail
  2. the willingness to fail
  3. the “wantingness” to fail
  4. failing bigger and faster
  5. failing exponentially

I hope you enjoy Andrea’s insights and they inspire you to face your fear of failure! To learn more about Go For No, visit Andrea and Richard’s website, or the book link on Amazon.

Remember to subscribe via iTunes if you can. Or head over to Stitcher Radio you can also listen in there.

Next up is Susan RoAne and some great help on How to Work a Room!

Rocking a TED Talk

Episode 21: Rocking a TED Talk
Guest: Cathey Armillas

On the latest episode of Women Rocking Wall Street, I’ve invited expert marketing strategist Cathey Armillas to share the elements of a successful TED Talk. Cathey has created an audio coaching program, “How to Rock a TED Talk,” where she covers how to get invited to a Talk, as well as how to prepare and deliver it. The tactics Cathey presents can be applied not just to TED Talks, but also on a larger scale for corporate communications.

From having a universal theme to providing supporting evidence, Cathey talks us through how to be an effective presenter. Imagine you’re pitching an idea at work—rather than just focusing on convincing your own department, think about how the concept will benefit departments across the board. How do you get everyone behind your idea?

No matter where or what you’re presenting, it all goes back to the TED Talk format. It’s about finding a useful idea and supporting it with data, whether it’s for an ad campaign, a presentation to your team, or any idea at work. It’s about appealing to both logic and emotion.

And for those interested in being invited to a TED Talk, Cathey says to remember that everyone has a good idea; it’s about uncovering that idea by asking yourself questions like:  “What was the most traumatizing experience in your life?”

“Who has been the biggest teacher in your life?”
“When have you felt most at peace?”

I hope you enjoy this episode and it encourages you to find your next idea!

For more information about Cathey and her audio program, visit and And check out her favorite TED Talk of all time with Ash Beckham, who discusses empathy and openness.

And be sure to check out Cathey’s own TED Talk about how helping others can bring happiness. Oh yes! And here are links to the super treats she’s given to the Women Rocking Wall Street crew:

Stay tuned for next week’s episode with guest Andrea Waltz, co-author of the best-selling book “Go For No!”

See Do Get

Episode 20: See Do Get
Guest: Catherine Plano

Have you ever despised a boss and found yourself expending energy thinking about it? Well, Catherine Plano—this week’s guest on Women Rocking Wall Street—wants you to remember this: Whatever you focus on will grow. Catherine is an executive coach, life coach and founder of the I Am Woman Project, a program designed to help women realize their purpose, power and potential. On this week’s episode, she shares techniques for finding purpose, as well as tips for changing our mindset rather than our environment.

The “bad boss” case is a common one, in which Catherine advises clients to think of one good thing that can help them connect with their supervisors. If your boss is a mother like you, for example, you can focus on how kind she might act at home with her children. Even if you decide to find a new job, at least you’ve become more positive about the situation.  Remember that change starts within. So often, people want to change their partners or their environment, but it just doesn’t work.

On this episode, Catherine also offers tips for finding purpose. Connecting with purpose can help you understand what you really should be doing, and help you discover your passion. To set your purpose, Catherine suggests asking yourself questions such as:

  • Why am I here?
  • What do I want to be?
  • What do I want to do?
  • What do I want to have?

Finding purpose is important for men and women alike, but women in particular tend to neglect finding their purpose because they are so focused on caring for friends and family. This selflessness can cause them to lose sight of who they are and want they want in life. “I think we are born mothers … even if we are not mothers,” she says. “We are born to help and nurture other people.”

I hope you enjoy this episode of Women Rocking Wall Street. To learn more about Catherine’s coaching business, the I Am Woman Project, or the magazine, visit Quantum Co-Creation, I Am Woman Project, I Am Woman magazine, and Catherine Plano.

Be sure to tune in later this week when I invite Cathey Armillas to the show to discuss how to rock a TED Talk. And, be sure to subscribe to the podcast via iTunes. It is such a help with making it ‘visible’ to more women.

Just Breathe

Episode 19: Just Breathe

Guest: Jill Knouse and Michael Knouse

We’ve all experienced workplace stress. No one knows this better than Jill Knouse, who left her job in financial services in 2005 to focus on nourishing her mind and body. Although Jill was making great money at her corporate job, it came at the cost of sacrificing her health. Her office hours were long and tiring. She felt withdrawn from her community. Simply put, she was depleted. So she bought a bungalow in Portland and left San Francisco to refuel and refresh. Today, she’s the owner of Jill Knouse Yoga, where she helps others find Zen. She even teaches onsite corporate yoga classes.

Jill’s husband, Michael Knouse, found himself in a similar situation. He worked in tech for about 14 years before also branching out on his own. His reality check came when he was told to relay a message to a bank—a message he disagreed with. When he confronted his sales manager, he was told in so many words, “As long as we’re writing your check, you’ll do the things we ask.” That’s when Michael began to think about what type of work environment would bring him the most satisfaction. He recalled his days at startups and realized he thrived most in an independent environment. Today, Michael is the founder of The Startup Sessions, where he works with burnt-out employees and emerging entrepreneurs to help them craft a meaningful business, and bring structure to their ideas.

Michael and Jill have created a partnership not only personally, but professionally; together, they collaborate on projects such as Jill Knouse Yoga’s Elevate Your Yoga Business, a 6-Week Program For Designing Your Dream Yoga Business. The upcoming session begins June 3. Michael says the goal is to help teachers switch their mindset from fixed to growth, and to think like entrepreneurs. (For more about fixed vs. growth mindset, see Episode 14: Keeping An Open Mind).

My hope is that this episode inspires you not only to take care of your body and mind, but also contemplate what career path would bring you the most happiness. I want to stress this to all of our listeners: Making time in your day to reflect and take care of yourself is so critical. Remember that rest equals success. Looking back, Jill says she wishes she would have gotten into yoga while working in corporate to help manage her work stress. Corporate clients often tell Jill that yoga has added happiness and clarity to their lives. They are less reactive through the day, and their energy is steadier. The ability to stop and just breathe is critical for creating space—and perhaps in that space, you’ll have room to discover your true passions!

Also, be certain to check out Michael’s podcast at The Startup Sessions, visit

Join us next week with guest Stay tuned for next week’s episode with guest Catherine Plano, executive coach and founder of the I Am Woman project. Please share this podcast with your friends and colleagues -hey even share it with your Starbucks baristas!! Thanks for listening!

Toughing it Out

Episode 18: Toughing it Out

Guest: Alice Tang, BPG Wealth Management

I’m pleased to welcome my friend Alice Tang to this week’s episode of Women Rocking Wall Street. Alice started her career as a financial advisor after moving to Portland in 1994, and today, she’s vice president of BPG Wealth Management LLC. Alice’s mission is to help people become financially independent and retire with confidence. As she tells us, getting to this point in her career was no easy feat. She describes her first year in the business as cold-calling people and setting up meetings nonstop. She was exhausted and made only $2,000 in year one, but was determined to press on. Alice’s dad ran a successful business himself and once told her that no matter what happens, it’s important to remember that she planted a seed that could one day become a plant. And in time, a plant most certainly did grow for Alice.

Building a successful practice is challenging and takes time. Alice had to tough it out for years to see results; this is why in her own practice, she’s a believer in essentially creating apprenticeships where recent graduates or newbies to the finance industry can have a place to grow and be surrounded by the right people and resources. She also makes sure to pay a reasonable salary to those just starting their careers. Both Alice and her business partner came from a similar background—enduring years of difficulty before seeing results—so they both keep this in mind when hiring. People need to pay their bills, she says. We can’t make it impossible to break into the industry. After all, there are many benefits to grooming newcomers. For one, younger people can bring new ideas to the table, Alice says. And two, when an advisor retires, the firm has a strong replacement for the client. Sounds like a win-win situation!

Join me next week with guests Jill and Michael Knouse. Yep! We’re going to have a man on the show!!  Thanks for listening to this week’s episode of Women Rocking Wall Street!




Registered Representative/Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through Signator Investors, Inc., Member FINRA, SIPC, 138 River Road, Suite 310, Andover, MA 01810, 978-689-9303, a Registered Investment Advisor. BPG Wealth Management powered by Business Planning Group is independent of Signator Investors, Inc. 103-20150518-233718

Finding Your Authentic Voice

Special Guest:
Anita Stryker

Episode 16: Finding Your Authentic Voice

Welcome back! This week’s guest, Anita Stryker, is here to tell us all about the “authentic voice” and how it can benefit us in the workplace. Anita got into the voice-training business by first learning about her own vocal patterns. With help from Linda Brice, founder of the Transformational Voice method, Anita recognized vocal tension that was ultimately connected to fear and shame. Through breathing and posture techniques, Anita was able to reshape her vocal tone. Today, she helps others do the same through personal development workshops and speech coaching.

So what does it mean to have an authentic voice? “It’s about starting with breath, and then turning that breath into resonance,” Anita explains.

The authentic voice refers to aligning vocals with posture and diaphragmatic breathing. Much how a singer fine-tunes her voice for song, it’s equally important to sharpen the speaking voice. When the voice and breath are aligned, the result is a smoother, less choppy sound. It’s a voice that exudes confidence and authority. In the business world, women can benefit from finding their authentic voices in three major ways:

1) Making their messages more succinct through thoughtful pauses;

2) Identifying patterns of tension in others people’s voices, which  can help improve relationships with clients and colleagues; and,

3) Linking communication to both the mind and body, creating a more powerful voice.

The second point is particularly important for financial advisors. Conversations about money inevitably create tension. If advisors could sense this stress through their clients’ voices and address their concerns, the client/advisor relationship could become that much more powerful.

[For tips about how to create more commanding body language, check out the Women Rocking Wall Street episode, “Confidence Is Contagious.”]

For more information about Anita’s training and workshops, visit her website at Anita will also be teaching a course called Ignite Your Voice from April 17-19, alongside Audrey Steele and Amy Terepka.

The Getting Along Paradigm

Special Guest:
Dr. Solange Charas

Episode 15: The Getting Along Paradigm

Getting ahead or getting along at work—which approach is best? Well, according to Dr. Solange Charas, getting along in turn creates a successful team-oriented environment where companies are, in fact, getting ahead. Solange is the CEO of Charas Consulting, providing advisory services to boards and C-suite executives. She’s also a member of the Thirty Percent Coalition (see podcast: Let’s Get to 30%).

According to Solange, women by nature focus on getting along at work, whereas men tend to place importance on getting ahead. But in the long run, cultures that promote teamwork rather than individual gains are going to win. “We shouldn’t be asking women to change who they are to fit into organizations,” Solange says. “That’s a losing strategy.” Rather, companies should change to adopt this getting along mentality.

Millennials, in particular, see value in this type of cordial team culture. Solange has found in talking with this generation that both millennial men and women prefer working at small companies to avoid the distinct hierarchy at large corporations. If organizations don’t adopt this culture of teamwork, Solange says, they may face serious recruitment issues.

Women have a different working style than men, and corporate America traditionally is geared toward a man’s leadership style and accountability. This is why Solange believes change is needed at a systematic level. The female working style should be embraced and used to drive a culture of teamwork.

If you work in a culture of “me, me, me,” there are ways to turn things around. To begin, you can change what’s valued and rewarded in your company. It may be impossible to transform the overall company culture, but you can at least start in your group. In a nice way, call out the bullies who are showing “power” behavior and not working well with the team.

On an individual level, Solange says it’s important for women to ask each other for help. Women, she says, are generally afraid of asking for a hand because they are so used to helping others.

For more information about Solange’s work, visit her website at

Join us next week with guest Anita Stryker, who will tell us all about how to get the “authentic voice.”

Let’s Get to 30%

Special Guest:
Charlotte Laurent-Ottomane

Episode 14: Let’s Get to 30%

Welcome back! On this week’s episode of Women Rocking Wall Street, I’ve invited Charlotte Laurent-Ottomane to speak about the Thirty Percent Coalition. I first heard about Charlotte in an article and was so excited to learn more about this organization, which was formed to encourage gender diversity in boardrooms.

The Thirty Percent Coalition has several committees, including Institutional Investor, Corporate Leaders and Public Sector Initiatives. The Institutional Investor committee is the most active and has sent letters—signed by state treasurers and institutional investors—to major public companies that do not have women on their boards. The impact of these letters has been profound, with about 20% of these companies adding women to their boards.

Meanwhile, the Corporate Leaders committee encourages CEOs and board chairs to also add more women to their boards, and the Public Sector Initiatives works with government and public officials to aid the efforts of gender diversity. Such great stuff!

Charlotte says the Thirty Percent Coalition enjoys a diverse membership base, in which every member is dedicated to making the mission possible. Although it’s going to be hard work to reach 30% in the next couple years, Charlotte says interest in the idea is definitely growing.

Once boards start looking at the gaps they need to fill, they will see that adding women is a wise business decision. I encourage everyone to examine their boards’ diversity. You can also look at your retirement plan investments and determine whether you are supporting funds from companies that embrace gender diversity. Ask yourself if you’re invested in organizations that align with your personal mission.

The Thirty Percent Coalition has a list of members and resources that may be of interest to women who want to learn more about these issues. These women are actively involved in coaching and working with women. Dr. Solange Charas, president of Charas Consulting, is an individual member of the Thirty Percent Coalition and happens to be next week’s guest on the Women Rocking Wall Street podcast. For more information about the Thirty Percent Coalition, you can also call 561.395.4581 or email Charlotte at Stay tuned next week for Solange’s insights on getting along in business, versus getting ahead.

Keeping an Open Mind

Special Guest:
Ana Melikian

Keeping an Open Mind

You can imagine my excitement when a fellow podcaster agreed to be this week’s guest on Women Rocking Wall Street! Ana Melikian is the brains behind Mindset Zone, a podcast designed to help us all cultivate a “growth” mindset that fosters learning and new possibilities. The concept of fixed vs. growth mindset comes from psychologist Carol Dweck. In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, she explains why people succeed or fail based on a closed or open frame of mind. Ana says it’s particularly important for entrepreneurs to keep a growth mindset. For instance, some business owners may say to themselves, “I’m not good at sales. I just wasn’t born with that skill.” But having this fixed, limited way of thinking can be detrimental to a business. Even if you aren’t selling products, you’re still selling your services as a business owner. So don’t sell yourself short!

Our beliefs can determine who we are and what we achieve, so remember never to limit them! If you assume you won’t be good at something, then you’re closing the door to a possible opportunity in your career and life. Let’s say you tell yourself you’re bad at art, even though you’ve never really tried to draw. How do you know you’re bad? You may not become a famous artist, but you could pick up a new skill or hobby with a little effort and expand your mindset. Viewing it as “I was born with this skill/I wasn’t born with this skill” doesn’t foster growth. Rather, changing your mindset to “I have a choice” can help you find unexpected opportunities. To quote Viktor Frankl: “Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.”

To get in touch with Ana and learn more about her podcast, visit

Looking forward to meeting with you next week! You’ll learn more about the power of 30%.