Daisy magazine September/October 2016 - Page 13

Janice: I remember once in an interview talking about how I ended up here. I was always good at math and I was picked on a lot as a child at school. One of the reasons I gravitated towards math is because as a perfectionist, I knew one plus one is always going to be equal to two. I could say that is a blue sky and you could say no, it is actually grey. I was always going to be right when it came to math. So I just gravitated towards it and I also think that my grandfather pushed me that way as well. He established the value of money for me. My grandmother stayed home and took care of the home. But I learnt from her how to stretch a dollar because before he brought the pay check home on a Friday, he might go out drinking with his friends, so whatever he gave her had to last until the next pay check. Between the both of them, I got very good financial lessons. At one point I wanted to be an Attorney but I was always good at math. One of my relatives said I should have been a teacher. But I do not think I can handle the classroom of children but I can make sure to break it down for them to understand. Maria: You gravitated towards math from an early age. Many studies have been done which says, women do not do well in math and science like men. So what was it like for you growing up and having that knack for finances? Janice: Sometimes I just do not pay attention to it even when someone calls attention to the fact that you are one of the few women doing this. At NYU, whether you are an accounting major or finance major, you kind of got thrown into similar classes. So it never occurred to me then to look around to see how many of us were accounting major or something like that. A part of that came from growing up as if I was an only child and having myself and my books for company. I did not give in to peer-pressure. Back in the day on the playground; if someone said “if you do not do so and so, you can’t hang with us.” I would Say “ok.” It was not until I was an adult at my old job did I realize that I was a little different from others because I was more advanced. Even now at my present job, I try not to speak up. Many of my colleagues, they are career changers and have not been in the financial field before. When they talk about certain financial topics and concepts, I am already familiar with it. Once someone said “I don’t know the answer but I am sure Janice does.” So I tone it down. Not that I dumb it down because I do not need speak up. I do not need their approval so I just sit there in the class and listen. Maria: That is one of the problems we have as women. We do not want to be seen as a little know-it-all, so for the sake of getting along, we just let it ride. Janice: Not as much because recently I was talking about work and saying that a lot of the women do not reach out to help me. They do not tell me things to help me avoid some of the pitfalls they went through. When I first started out there was this Asian guy, another NYU graduate who would help me by telling me what to do and what to be careful of. But the women were not so forth coming. I am terrified about feeling rejected, so when I do ask I am sensitive about the person’s attitude. I also did not go and ask any of the women for help and advice. Maria: In your field of work, what percentage of them are women? Janice: The industry is still mostly male dominated. I do not know the percentage but there was a statistic that says that when they look at the new hires, every new class of Agents that come in for training, more than fifty percent are women. But then in the insurance industry, there is only about fifteen percent retention. Even though more women come in; you could still loose most of them. There was an article I read which said that more minority women are opening their own businesses, still it is the white male who is getting the venture capital money. Where a white male would get a million dollars an African American woman would get thirty six thousand dollars, even though she might have a better business plan. It is not necessarily racism, but they have a commonality. He looks like me therefore I will fund him. I am not sure of the percentage in my industry but I know it has been growing in the last three or four years. Maria: How easy is it to rise through the ranks? Janice: There are two parts to it. I started out as an Agent and a career changer; but there are women who start out their career on the agency side. They prove themselves as being good sales people and can bring in hundreds of clients a year. They might get invited to come over to the management side. 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