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Trends in Fashion & Finance 06.08.2016

"This week's blog is the first of a three-part series of posts dedicated to the topic of Mentorship. I will be sharing the advice and lessons learned that have shaped my career and my success."

Introducing: The Mentorship Series

When the idea to start Rich Women Rock began to percolate in my head in 2015, one of the foundational goals of the blog was to help women of all ages learn to talk to one another about money. Talking about what our goals are and how we are trying to achieve them is often the hardest part. That’s not something that only women experience – it’s something that all humans experience.

Whether we choose to stay at home or climb the corporate ladder – there is no question that we are capable, smart, and strong. While every woman defines what having it all means to her, every woman can have everything she wants. We are earning multiple degrees, managing companies, running for office, and raising babies. We are increasing shareholder value while encouraging our children to share – sometimes at the exact same time. We are energy-filled and fearless.

And yet, with all we accomplish, sometimes we forget the power that lies in sharing what scares us and the importance of opening up to a Mentor who can give us the advice that we crave. We shoulder the burden of our struggles all on our own. Sometimes what scares us is our relationship with money, or workplace politics, or our plans for the future, or the price of putting our careers on hold to raise a family. We act as if we’re the only ones who have ever struggled with plotting our course.

“The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself,” said Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The man wasn’t wrong.

Which leads me to this series of blog posts on Mentorship. I will be spending the next weeks talking about the importance of Mentorship in all of our lives. A Mentor is someone who looks out for you, advises you, and is passionate about helping you achieve your mission. Conversely, a Mentor is not someone who merely likes the sound of his or her own voice. In other words, don’t confuse a Mentor with a know-it-all.

There are three men who I have been lucky to call Mentors over the course of my career in financial services. I recently sat down for dinner with these gentlemen at Morton’s Steak House. We all enjoyed talking about the good ol’ days – but we also took some time to talk about the lessons that we’ve learned from one another and shared over the years. It was an enlightening evening. Even after all of these years, these gentlemen reminded me, once again, how the advice that they have given me has made my career more successful.

My Mentors:

Marv Rotter
30 years, Retired President of AXA Financial, Midwest Region

Marv was, and is, larger than life. Most people I worked with feared Marv, but I came to have the utmost respect for him. He was a straight shooter and succeeding in his eyes was simple. If you had integrity, worked hard, and were honest, then he went to bat for you every time. (If you lacked these qualities however, then look out!)

Quote: “The people who you choose to Mentor need to crave their own success. If you care more than they care, then you can’t help them even if you want to.”

Bob Greulich, Regional Vice-President, 29 years, 7 months with Equitable Life/AXA

Bob hired me at AXA and was my direct report. He often refers to me as his “first born”. Bob motivated me every day and taught me a handful of simple principals that, if executed with consistency, would help me make my goals.

I still heed Bob’s advice and it has proven itself to be evergreen.

Quote: “I look back at my Mentors, and they all created the environment whereby those who wanted to succeed, could succeed. The really great people are always working for themselves.”

Joe Galvin, CLU, ChFC 1963-2006

Joe found me a mere 4 years into my career and ended up transitioning his book business (that he had been growing since 1963,) to me when he retired. Joe searched for his successor tirelessly, and I was the only woman he interviewed among many men. He chose me because he admired my work ethic. Joe’s stalwart advice and leadership has helped me immeasurably throughout my career.

Quote: “I worked with Annette on how to connect with and sell to anyone, regardless of age or gender. Annette mentored me in some ways too. We both were always on the same page that the client always came first.”

Next week, Marv, Bob, and Joe will be mentoring all of us with some of their favorite words of wisdom for navigating the business world.

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