When you think of Warrior Women, who springs to mind? Emmeline Pankhurst, the organizer of the British suffragette movement? Amelia Earhart, the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic? Or possibly Rosa Parks, whose story is familiar to us all. These women have been pivotal in women’s history all for the right reasons. Sometimes it can feel like its left to the men to carry the flame of defining history but it is events exactly like Warrior Women that prove to me that this is so far from the truth as all of us women really are a force to be reckoned with.
Hosted at the creative hub that is Tramshed Tech, women from all corners of Cardiff gathered for WW’s first event of 2020 and focused on a topic we all too often avoid - Money, Money, Money. I’m not a fan of going anywhere by myself (I’m working on this!) and the idea of walking into a room of business owners, social entrepreneurs and highflyers left me more nervous than usual. What I turned up to was far from that. Warm, inviting and with a strong sense of community. No airs and graces or uncomfortable cliches - just encouragement and an eagerness to feed off each other's positive energy. Immediately, I understood why these events sell out on a monthly basis and how the WW team have created such a loyal following.
With our proseccos, raspberry vodka and tonics or just the tonic for the ‘Dry January’ participants amongst us, we sat eagerly waiting to be inspired and to spend a few hours with like-minded women indulging in some well-deserved me-time. The panel was made up of 3 women who spend their day to day talking all things money. Incredible really as 90% of us avoid even saying the “M” word. Each speaker had an honest, inspiring story to tell of their journey of how they got to today.
Lauren Harvey, Founder of Full Stop Accounts, Chartered Accountants.
Lauren resonated with me immediately, talking of former days as a student and that ‘buzz’ feeling you’d get spending money on your credit card to fund your student lifestyle. She honestly spoke of having a great job in London, a great mortgage and earning great money but within a day circumstances can change and subsequently, your goals change. Lauren talked about money no longer being the main goal and how she wanted more time. I can relate to this so much. I’m sure we’ve all experienced the constant tussle between working hard and having a money mindset but then not having the time to put the kids to bed, to spend time at the park with them, or even enjoy spending the hard-earned pounds we’ve sacrificed so much to have. This works both ways too, if you don’t have the funds to reach your goals right now, that’s also ok! Why? Because you’ve got the time. “Money is an enabler of your goals but shouldn’t be the goal. What are your goals?” Lauren touched on being the breadwinner in her family. A term that’s so often associated with the male figure within the family but as we all know, times are a-changin. How dads experience the odd look from other mums on the school run and how a woman chairing a board meeting can ignite the exact same look. Lauren's honesty was so encouraging; a story of how success takes time and that your success and goals are defined by you and only you.
Talia Loderick, Journalist and Money Coach.
Bubbly, relatable and radiant. Talia bought the feel-good factor, who knew that could happen when speaking about financial education? When asking the women around me to raise their hands if they were taught about money as a child? 4 people raised their hands. In a room of 100 women. It’s no surprise to anyone, I’m sure. Talia spoke of the curriculum in schools and how it lacks topics such as mortgages, taxation and even how to manage money on a day to day basis. I'm sure we can all agree there's a lack of financial education in schools.
As a money coach, Talia works to understand what you do with your money and why? Why do people have the spending habits they have and where they originated from. She spoke of how we learn how to manage our money from the adults around us, and how ages 0-7 are the most fundamental years.
“You can learn all of the money management tips but you need to put them into practice”.
The words ‘Money Shame’ flicked across the slides and like so many others in the room I’m sure, I could relate - the desire to keep up with the Jones’. Talia detailed the importance of overcoming the barriers of money management, understanding money your relationship with it, where to go for financial help and or understanding and having the confidence to live within your means and prioritise what is financially important to you.
Michelle Pearce-Burke, Co-founder of Wealthify.
Wealthify is an investment platform for everyone. Michelle finds herself at the top of the innovative tech scene but has a down to earth, girl-next-door persona. Talking of following her family traditions to become a Doctor and then deciding to follow her dreams of becoming a stockbroker and fine-tune the skills she’d developed on NeoPets as a child. The frustrations of being a stockbroker ultimately pushed Michelle to start Wealthify. The technology used to sell stocks and shares was clunky and inaccessible to the masses. In a constant atmosphere of the rich getting richer and the lavish dinners and social events hosting clients, Michelle decided start Wealthify where her and her team now host over 25,000 customers and have received investment from the likes of Aviva. Michelle was fearless in her pursuit to achieve her goal of being a stockbroker and then when she achieved that, she powered on setting a new goal to fundamentally change the way that people invest every day. No hidden charges and a strong focus on getting more women involved in a traditionally male dominated market. Out of every 4 people that choose to invest only 1 is a woman. This is surprising considering women have been found to actually be better investors than men. Having medical experience and previously being a doctor, it's no surprise that Michelle also talked about the effect money can have on our health and some experiences she’d come across in her days as a doctor “There is such in importance when it comes to looking after your financial wellbeing - we talk of our mental health and physical health daily - almost as if its a trend, but we never seem to add the third aspect of financial wellbeing.”
Reflecting on the event now a few days later, I’m humbled to have been able to listen to such incredible and personal stories. It’s the boost my soul didn’t know it needed. The takeaway from 3 hours of being surrounded by new like-minded faces has been much more than imagined. I’m redefining the term ‘Warrior Women’ and what it takes to achieve this title. A single mum of 2, a student in the midst of exams, a female small business owner attempting to break into the market, a stay at home mum, a newly appointed female director stepping into a room of all-male colleagues. These are all Warrior Women too - you don’t need to be the first woman to fly by jetpack to the moon or to be top of the female Forbes Rich List (although that would be nice) it’s the big and the small achievements, the everyday pursuit to make today better than yesterday and to leave a home/workspace/the world better than we found it.