There should be more of an effort for financial literacy in the workplace. Employers should offer financial literacy courses with financial advice as a benefit. It’s a great way to improve financial literacy and teach employees how to make the most of their paychecks. Studies have proven that employers who prioritize financial literacy have a workforce with increased employee retention, higher productivity and increased profits. They also benefit from lower absenteeism and a decrease in health care costs.
As a part of my series about strong female finance leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rebecca Weizenecker. Rebecca is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for FundThrough, North America’s fastest-growing automated, tech-enabled invoice factoring company. Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, she’s led the sales and marketing team since 2018. Her passion to support and help the people around her combined with a reputation as a natural problem-solver has helped her build scalable, revenue-generating departments for various startups during the last decade. Rebecca feels that open-mindedness, being a good listener, and having a sense of humor all go a long way in building a successful team.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to Banking/Finance?
Finance has always interested me. Ever since graduating from school, I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in the industry. Helping people and companies with money has been something I feel very passionate about. Supporting small businesses is important to me, and I love that FundThrough gives me the chance to have a real impact on so many lives.
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
I was running a product demo for a pitch competition judged by a panel of Fortune 500 companies. It was a huge honor to be included as startups don’t often get these sorts of opportunities. I had to do a double-take when I realized that there were over 20 presenters, and I was the only female. I think it reflects just how important it is to empower women in the tech and finance fields.
That’s why I’m so proud to be a part of the team at FundThrough, which employs more women than the industry norm, especially at the management level. It’s important to me to be at a company that supports women, and to see so many women in management is a wonderful feeling.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Our engineering department is working on several exciting innovations right now. Soon, we’re going to be launching an exciting new platform that uses automation to help businesses free up cash flow quicker than ever. We recognize that access to capital is crucial for a business to be able to scale and we’re continuously working on developing products to make that process more streamlined and efficient.
What do you think makes your company stand out?
Diversity really is one of our strengths, as our team has cultural representation from all over the globe. Having the ability to work with individuals from such a diverse set of experiences and backgrounds means we’re strategizing ideas and thoughts with people who think differently from one another. This collaboration of fresh perspectives is one of the key reasons we are able to consistently remain innovative and ahead of our competitors.
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview.
Wall Street and Finance used to be an “all-white boys club”. This has changed a lot recently. In your opinion, what caused this change?
I think there’s certainly a lot of pressure for Wall Street to appear as though they are actively working toward diversity, but I can’t say I actually know of companies who have been able to come close to 50% or less male representation. There have been incremental changes but we’re still a long way from where we need to be. Many of the key players on Wall Street are beginning to set goals toward actively making a change, which is encouraging.
According to this report in CNBC, less than 17 percent of senior positions in investment banks are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a) individuals b) companies and/or c) society to support this movement going forward?
1.Remember that you have options. You deserve to be treated with respect and fairness, so if you find yourself in a toxic situation where you aren’t valued — leave. Don’t makes excuses for behavior that is inexcusable. It’s important to proactively look for a work environment that supports you.
2. People also need to know how to spot diversity (or a lack thereof). This means asking the right questions during an interview. Corporate culture matters, and employees need to remember that they’re interviewing the company just as much as the company is interviewing them. When you ask questions like, “How many women work here?” and “What percentage of the management team is made up of women?” you’re learning a lot about a company and how it feels about diversity. If they’re having trouble answering these questions, it could indicate that they’re not the right company for you.
3.Companies need to decide for themselves if they’re going to tolerate the status quo or do something to change it. One way to do this is by having a “no jerks” policy. FundThrough is fortunate in that we’re a diverse workplace, but more than that, we’re all nice people. It’s important for companies to look past the resume and also focus on hiring the right people.
According to this report in Fortune, nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t pass a basic test of financial literacy. In your opinion or experience, what is the cause of these unfortunate numbers? If you had the power to make a change, what 3 things would you recommend to improve these numbers?
Financial literacy is so important, and an example of something where you really need to walk the walk. It’s far too easy for most people to find credit cards or loans without having to think about the consequences. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t realize this until it’s too late. Much of it is a lack of awareness. People leave school or enter the workforce and they’re unprepared because no one took the time to teach them how money works. This goes back generations and now it’s catching up to us.
1. High schools and colleges need to take a larger role in teaching financial literacy at a young age. The earlier people learn good financial habits, the more likely they are to stick with them.
2. There should be more of an effort for financial literacy in the workplace. Employers should offer financial literacy courses with financial advice as a benefit. It’s a great way to improve financial literacy and teach employees how to make the most of their paychecks. Studies have proven that employers who prioritize financial literacy have a workforce with increased employee retention, higher productivity and increased profits. They also benefit from lower absenteeism and a decrease in health care costs.
3. People need to be more comfortable talking about money. It’s considered inappropriate to discuss, but because we don’t talk about it, there’s very little opportunity to learn. Getting people comfortable talking about saving and investing could help a lot.
You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about financial literacy, what would you say?
1. Stay away from impulse buys and late-night shopping. It’s become so easy to make online purchases and we have a tendency to make thoughtless snap decisions (especially when we come across a great deal). You can always put items in your online shopping cart and sleep on it. You may find the excitement fades by the morning.
2. Pay yourself. It’s important to save and be financially responsible, but you also need to treat yourself. Find the things that bring you joy and use them to reward yourself. I love traveling, so I’m sure to make room in my budget so that I can afford it and enjoy traveling guilt-free.
3. Don’t underestimate the value of a good coffee machine. Think about how much money and time the average person spends buying coffee at a coffee shop. Making a delicious, luxurious cup of coffee at home is a great way to save yourself time and money. It’s also better for the environment because you’ll cut down on disposable cups and straws.
4. Trust yourself. Advice from family and friends is helpful, but their situations are very different from yours. You know best what works for you and what you need to do.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Early on, I was really fortunate to have a terrific manager that believed in me and felt that I had potential. He gave me honest, but constructive, feedback and treated me like an equal. I really felt like my manager actually cared about me as a person, instead of just an employee. Those kinds of people can be rare in business, but I’ll never forget the impression it made on me. It’s a big reason I’ve advanced as far as I have, and I try to bring that same approach to my own team.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it,” by Henry David Thoreau. It’s important to think critically and decide things for yourself. To grow as a person and as an employee, you need to be your own person and think independently. Anyone can blindly follow rules. It takes someone special to ask “Why?”.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
Education means a lot to me. If we invest in education, we’re investing in future generations. We need to pay teachers more and encourage people to enter the education field. This sets up our entire society for success and has a positive impact that affects everyone.
Thank you for all of these great insights!