confidence

Nevertheless, She Persisted

By the members of Berkeley Women in Business

As a community of young women, we reject the misogynistic notions that females should be quiet. We stand in defiance to the messages telling us that women are incompetent or weak. We are a body of powerful, intelligent and successful women who would like to share a collection of personal experiences. These are our stories of persistence.

 

I was told that I’m incapable of managing a company, because I’m a young female. Instead of being valued for my intellect and experience, I was told that I’m “too pretty”. I prove those people wrong every day by continuing to grow my organization and create more success. I’d like to show the world that I am capable of any obstacle, through my strength, wisdom and courage.

#NeverthelessShePersisted

-Ana Mancia

 

As a woman pursuing a career in startups/venture capital, I've personally encountered sexism from male colleagues in the workplace who still inherently possess the notion that this industry, while traditionally male-dominated, should persist to be so. I prove these people wrong every day through my drive and passion to learn everything I possibly can about the industry, specifically my particular interest in financial technology, and my insatiable work ethic and persistence, whether that is generating as many startup leads as possible, speaking with entrepreneurs about their business models, or advocating for a particular deal from start to finish.

#NeverthelessShePersisted

- Anonymous

I have been diagnosed with mental disorders since my freshman year of high school. I battled anorexia then, and I battle depression and bipolar disorder now. But I know I am not defined by my illness. I continue to pursue my passion in technology, challenging the barrier against women in STEM. Now, I am an entrepreneur coach, a writer, and a contributor for Product Hunt. Without my past, I would not be the resilient and empowered woman I am today. I have, and will, continue to persist for passion.

#NeverthelessShePersisted

- Kat Nguyen

 

Though I have grown up with a supportive family, encouraging teachers, and affectionate friends, I’ve always been timid and afraid to step outside of my comfort zone. Every day, I see a new case of rape, gender inequality, abuse, illness, and terror whether I want to or not and every time, I am reminded of the egocentricity within me for not already having made a difference. I am an advocate for the quote “everything happens for a reason” and believe that I was given an eye for social issues for a reason. I know that things are a lot easier said than done, but I plan on making my words, ideas, and plans come to life no matter what serpentine path life takes me on... because that's what leaders do. What I am coming to realize is that me wanting to make a difference outside of my world is actually making an even bigger difference within myself.  

#NeverthelessShePersisted

-Suhitha Kosuri

 

I was interviewed for a intern position at a startup and very quickly, I realized that I was the only female in the office. My interviewer was very direct and the impostor syndrome started to set in. It was very intimidating at first, but I ended up being hired after I persisted to show them examples of my work. It ended up being one of the coolest groups of people I have ever worked with.

#NeverthelessShePersisted

- Angie Mejia

Growing up, I always felt pressured to look a certain way. This pressure led to years of self doubt, low confidence, and an obsession with weight loss. But eventually I realized that my value is not rooted in the way I look, but the way I think. Today I always try to focus on living a healthy lifestyle--for both my body and especially my brain.

#NeverthelessShePersisted

-Leila Mohaddes

As I was growing up, my mom was often forced to put her career on hold to help raise my brother and I. Especially in the fast paced world of tech, this put her goals at odds with family life. Over the years, she really emphasized to me the value of communication, and it was these skills that allowed her to strike a great work-life balance with the help of her superiors and colleagues. Her hard work has really paid off recently as I have gone to college, and I am so proud that she is able to pursue her passions in tech even more. I feel so lucky to have been brought up by someone that is so dedicated, kind, and a great role model.

#NeverthelessShePersisted

- Deeksha Chaturvedi

How to be a Financially Independent Woman

By: Ana Claire Mancia

I will never forget the moment. I was 13, and chatting with a friend’s mother, who also happened to be the wife of an extremely wealthy, powerful Hollywood executive. We were sitting in her beautiful home in the LA Hills, as her personal manicurist scrubbed her feet. She looked me straight in the eye. 

“Don’t EVER depend on a man for money. Do you promise?”

I nodded, in shock.

“Promise me you will make your own income, start your own career, and never let your husband control all your finances.”

“Okay, I promise.”

I looked around her magnificent house; the sparkling marble tile and never-ending rooms. I watched all the maids scuttling around, making sure that lunch was prepared and nothing had accumulated dust in the past hour. My gaze turned back to the woman, as she examined her soapy feet. Everything made sense now.

I never forgot her words, and still keep them at the forefront of my brain. I am determined to create my own financial success and never be completely dependent on a man. The freedoms that come with providing for yourself are indescribable. You do not have to ask for permission to spend. You do not have to worry about creating a financial burden for your partner. You can feel 100% in control of your life, economically. With that, I have devised 5 guidelines for women seeking financial independence. 

1. Educate yourself in financial literacy. Understand your cash flow, and track your income and expenses. 

A financially independent woman knows exactly where her money is coming and going. She is extremely knowledgeable regarding money management and can make informed decisions with her financial resources. She does not overspend, and she documents her monthly cash flow. 

2. Identify your goals and set your budget. 

A financially independent woman has clear goals in mind. For example, perhaps the goal is to buy a new car. She sets her budget around those goals and manages her money accordingly. She takes responsibility, and understands that some sacrifice may be involved in order to reach those goals. 

3. Eliminate any debt. 

Eradicating debt should be a top priority. A woman cannot be financially independent until all debt is paid off. 

Further reading: http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/10-easy-ways-to-pay-off-debt

4. In your relationship, maintain a level of equality in terms of financial responsibilities. 

Chances are, one partner will earn more than the other. That is completely okay. The most important thing is for both people to contribute what they can, and not to let the relationship be one-sided. Be honest and open with your partner, and split up the living expenses in a fair way. Find a proportion that works for both of you (ex: 60-40). However, there is an equal level of control. The most important concept is to avoid being completely dependent on someone, to the point where you are helpless without them. A financially independent woman holds herself accountable and is a valuable contributor. 

5. Learn to save and invest – early!

Plan for the unexpected by starting an emergency savings fund. Learn about the different securities you can invest in such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs. Ask someone you trust to help you understand savings vehicles and how to save/invest intelligently. 

The more comfortable you become with these terms, the easier it will be to achieve financial independence. 

Resources: 

http://reachfinancialindependence.com/

https://www.womenandmoney.com/2013/02/01/financial-independence-for-women

About the Author:

Ana Claire Mancia is a UC Berkeley student planning to major in Business Administration and Political Science. At Berkeley Women in Business, she is on the Communications Committee and regularly writes blog posts for the organization. She is extremely committed to gender equality and the elimination of violence against women. 

How to be Taken Seriously, as a Young Female Leader

By Ana Claire Mancia

I am nineteen years old and manage a swim lesson company in Los Angeles. For the past several years, I have helped develop the company and watched it grow into a large organization with thousands of clients. I currently handle many of the company’s operations, especially in the summer when our work schedule is extremely busy. We have about 10 employees who teach swim lessons, and I supervise our program.

Learning to be taken seriously as a young female is one of the hardest things I’ve ever learned. I remember attending my first business conference, to network and speak about the company. I didn’t entirely know what “business casual attire” meant at 17 years old, since our company’s uniform was a swimsuit. I put on a regular, colorful dress and drove to the conference, not expecting that I would be the only person under 25 and clearly not dressed for the occasion!

When I spoke about our organization to a large room of people, I knew they viewed me as a young, inexperienced kid who was in the wrong place. It was definitely a cringe-worthy morning. What bothered me the most however, was the amount of professional men who sat next to me afterward and said things like:

“You’re very pretty.”

“How old are you?”

“Do you actually run a swim company?”

“Are you single?”

I left the conference embarrassed and angry that I hadn’t been taken seriously. Meanwhile, I was watching my company expand and our revenue nearly doubling each year. I quickly learned from that experience, and vowed to always be taken seriously.

Three years later, I know that as a young female, you must always be 10 steps ahead of everyone else. When people question you, you must be ready to prove how knowledgeable you are and convince them to trust you. You must exude capability and confidence, until people actually believe you.

"You must always be 10 steps ahead of everyone else."

Unfortunately, there is very little room for mistake in my role. If I do something incorrectly, it is much harder to recover from it. I have learned to be twice as careful as a man would be, to always make sure there are zero errors.

Our staff respects me because I value them and treat them with respect in return. I try very hard to always treat them as my equals, by taking their suggestions into account and giving them freedom and flexibility in their teaching style. I see my role as just making sure each day runs smoothly, because I trust them to deliver good service to our clients and do their job correctly. Our mutual trust has been crucial in terms of maintaining a strong relationship.

My job has gotten significantly easier as time goes on. Our clients and partners have learned to take me seriously and respect me. The amount of times my authority is questioned has drastically decreased.

This shift in attitude occurred because I am now extremely conscious of how I present myself, and how I speak. As a young female in charge, it is important to know every detail of your company because skeptics will almost certainly quiz you. They are searching for proof that you are capable of being a professional leader. Learning to shut them down has been thrilling.

"I am now extremely conscious of how I present myself, and how I speak."

I am proud of how much the company has grown, over the past five years. In the summer, I usually work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, because there are so many clients and not enough employees. We continuously need to hire more staff, and obtain more pool space. After teaching swim lessons, I am at my computer for hours, processing invoices, sending emails, calling clients, booking people, and creating schedules. Though this sounds like a nightmare, I sincerely enjoy it because we have taught thousands of children to swim in LA County. Drowning is still the leading cause of death for children in California.

In conclusion, young female leaders must always be ahead of the game. With the odds stacked against us, we are forced to overcome distrust, skepticism, objectification, and disrespectful treatment. I pushed through it by becoming as educated as possible. I am not afraid to show my authority, and prove my ability to operate a company. I pay attention to every detail, and search for errors. The company requires an enormous investment of my time – but I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

 

Dress Profesh

Ladies, we all know how hard it can be to dress well in the workplace and still be taken seriously. A woman has to be conscious of so many different factors, that shopping for professional clothes can be discouraging. Our goal is not to give women more rules, because we have enough rules already. This is just meant to be a guide on how to be your best self and succeed in your professional life. We are here to give you 8 empowering rules to abide by when dressing profesh.

For more tips on how to dress to impress, check out Berkeley Women in Business on Pinterest!