March 22, 2023

Life as a Venn Diagram

In Wealth Strategy, Women and Wealth

Contributions from: Anne Marie Stonich, CFP®, CPA

Our Wealth Strategy Group recently held a Women and Wealth networking event at our Bellevue office location. We gathered together to share stories, further develop relationships within the firm, and foster a better understanding of the path women face in developing their professional careers. We invited Heather Redman as our featured guest and asked her to share the story of her unique path to success as a female entrepreneur, member of Coldstream’s Board of Directors, and key player in Seattle’s venture capital community.

Heather detailed some of the reasons behind her decision to join Coldstream’s Board, described the skills and diversity she brings, and what she hopes to accomplish as she serves in this role. She also shared some valuable insights and important lessons she’s learned throughout her career. She welcomed our questions, and provided guidance and suggestions we could incorporate into our own respective journeys.

The feedback we received from this event highlighted the impact one person can have by sharing their personal stories. In an online survey, we asked our attendees what they found compelling or interesting and their key takeaways. Here are some of the responses we received:

  • “That no matter what stage of your life/career you are in – you never really have everything figured out. You are always needing to juggle and balance – there’s comfort in that. Also, to follow what inspires you, the rest will fall in place. Not to undervalue yourself and have something that motivates you to push on, that is external from yourself.”
  • “I liked hearing how women still do struggle and need to work hard in this industry. It made it seem real and that not everything is perfect.”
  • “Her general outlook on being close to the money/revenue and not stopping in your career/needing more women to advance in leadership in an ambitious way.”
  • “I appreciated Heather’s humility and willingness to share that as successful as she is, she still has times when she has doubts or feels like she did not do well, but in the end, she looks ahead to what is next and puts that behind her. Also appreciated her hippie/ lawyer background note – good reminder for those with kids that where you came from and what you study in college does not determine where you end up in life.”
  • “The most compelling thing I learned was that being able to identify and acknowledge that women often have more of a difficult time in male-dominated industries is important to address so that we can overcome it. By being able to realize the truth behind this, we can actively work towards continuing to diversify these roles/industries.”
  • “Heather’s reference to a Venn diagram and the efficiency of involving yourself in <multiple> activities that help you to be more successful across the board.”
  • “I felt compelled by Heather’s approach where most actions she takes in her life accomplish two things. I’ve already begun to look at responsibilities with this approach and it’s something I’ve never considered before. I’m curious to see if I start to see if I have different outcomes with this mindset.”

Recognition of the challenges that women face in male-dominated industries resonated with the attendees. Despite the progress we’ve made as a society, there is still a sense that women must come to the table with more in order to be treated as equals. Heather provided actionable advice to help address this.

  • Seek designations and specialized training that give you an advantage and highlight your expertise in a technical field.  “Women have to overachieve in a lot of ways. The women who do succeed tend to be pretty amazing in order to get to where they are.”
  • Stay close to the revenue.  “When you think about your career as a woman, think about how you can get close to the money or revenue…the ability to create money for your business can help boost your career. If you can be generating revenue, that will give you a great platform to create value for yourself.”
  • Approach life like a Venn diagram. Chose opportunities that help you further both your personal and professional goals. Heather shared the example of serving on a board as an opportunity to give back and volunteer, which met one of her personal goals. It also became an opportunity for her to grow her professional network and gain knowledge that she could use to help better manage her business. Her approach to seeking out opportunities that can serve you in multiple ways was a breath of fresh air and a unique outlook for more efficiently pursuing your goals.
  • Don’t underestimate what you can accomplish. Heather recounted some advice she’d given recently to a woman who was seeking an operating role : “Everything you’ve told me shows that you are ready to be CEO of something, don’t minimize your opportunity. Go be CEO.”

We are grateful that Heather took the time out of her busy schedule to share her story and insights. Through sharing our stories, challenges, and successes, we hope to strengthen our relationships and better support each other along this career journey.

If you would be interested in sharing your story with our Coldstream Women and Wealth team, we’d love to hear from you.

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