Women in Finance: Interview with Farnoosh Torabi

„Men always try to keep women out of business so they won’t find out how much fun it really is“ claimed renowned industrialist and feminist Vivien Kellems last century. However, with currently only approximately 23% of women in senior office positions, despite women representing 54% of the labor pool in the finance and banking industries, this seems to still be the case.

Yet there are plans for a rise of female representation by 2020, with major banks announcing plans to improve gender diversity such as Lloyds Banking Group, who plan to have 40% of women in senior roles. However, which women have so far managed to make it to the top and how are women planning to get there? Who are the financial Carrie Bradshaw’s of each city and how are they doing it? That’s what Lendico’s finding out in our brand new feature – `Women in Finance´.

Every week a woman working in finance will be interviewed to provide a peek into the success behind the financial industry’s elite and showing the truth and hard work behind the glamour. We’re finding out what it takes to make a senior position and you’ll get insider access to the success stories of leading professionals for as IMF director Christine Lagarde stated, „If Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters, today’s economic crisis clearly would look quite different“.

To start off our feature, Lendico have spoken to renowned Money Strategist, TV/ Web Host and Best-Selling Author Farnoosh Torabi. Torabi has previously written chart-topping books such as ‘When She Makes More’ and has previously been a recurrent guest on shows such as CBS MoneyWatch and The Today Show. Torabi’s advice has also been in leading publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post. Lendico finds out more from the finance expert herself about making it in the finance industry and the challenges within.

Personal finance author, expert, entrepreneur, television host and mum. Multi-tasking at its best. How do you find time managing it all at once?

I believe in having it all, but not doing it all…especially not all at once. I’ve definitely become more efficient with my time since becoming a mom. You want to maximize your hours during the day so you can really be present with your child and spend as much time with him as possible. Fortunately a good bit of my work blends together, which makes multitasking easier. My TV segments and presentations often stem from my own writing. I also outsource some things and prioritize my work agenda by the „must-do“ tasks that are income-generating. I reserve the „nice to do“ things for the end. I work from home, too, which helps tremendously in terms of being able to take breaks to be with my son throughout the day. I’m very lucky in that way.

You have previously written a variety of books such as: When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning women; You’re So Money: Live Rich Even When You’re Not; and Psych Yourself Rich. What inspired you to start writing books? Have you always been good with money?

I didn’t always think my professional career would include book writing. But in my early 20s, I worked under a few great mentors in the news business who were also successful authors. They inspired me to pursue publishing. I like to think I’ve always been relatively good with money. Of course, I’ve made rookie mistakes with credit cards. I will say that I’ve always been really curious and interested in how to manage money well.

What did you find the reception to be like when you published the books?

Within the target audience for each of my books I’ve received really kind and generous feedback. While personal finance isn’t as entertaining as other book genres, readers seem to really appreciate how I present the information, my story telling and my voice. The media has also been really receptive. My first book, You’re So Money, landed me on the Today Show and thanks to that appearance my work in broadcast and daytime TV has really grown over the years.

In your books, you delve into being the Breadwinner in your family. Yet, the amount of women at senior positions in banking firms according to recent studies is still minimal. Why do you think this is? Do you think this will change soon? How can it be changed?

I don’t think this will change much until institutions start to offer employees more flexibility so that they can be better involved at home. The life of a banking executive I imagine involves lots of travel, endless hours and not a whole lot of time off. For women who want to have families – and actually spend quality time with them – this can be an undesirable job. It’s not very encouraging to women – and men, frankly – who want to have some sort of work/life balance.

In 2003, you started off as a researcher and reporter at Money magazine. What got you interested in the financial sector? What previous experience had you had?

I studied finance in college and later journalism in graduate school, so I felt really ready to dive into financial reporting. I think, too, that being raised by parents who spoke openly about money gave me the confidence and desire to pursue this path. It feels good to know I can help people in such an important way.

Best piece of advice to women wanting to work in finance?

Remember that all industries need smart and talented finance pros – not just banks. You have a world of options in terms of where and how to apply your skills. And if none of those options suit you – become your own boss. A foundation in finance is a great asset when starting your own business. And as a woman who may want to have more control over her schedule and work/life balance, becoming an entrepreneur is sometimes the best way to accomplish that.

To learn more about Farnoosh, please visit her website: http://farnoosh.tv and follow her on Twitter @Farnoosh.

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