Women Leading The Finance Industry: “Gratitude cultivates relationships and opens doors that money can’t buy” with Felicia Kelly and Jason Hartman

Start your day with gratitude and prayer. They may not seem directly connected to finances, but I’ve learned that gratitude cultivates relationships and opens doors that money can’t buy. I had the pleasure of interviewing Felicia Kelly. Felicia is the founder and president of Cyrus Anointing Consulting, a lifestyle development company that provides customized solutions […]

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Start your day with gratitude and prayer. They may not seem directly connected to finances, but I’ve learned that gratitude cultivates relationships and opens doors that money can’t buy.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Felicia Kelly. Felicia is the founder and president of Cyrus Anointing Consulting, a lifestyle development company that provides customized solutions and financial education to small businesses. She is a speaker, consultant, and money management expert primarily known for her faith-based brand, Coaching Christians to CoinsⓇ.She has seen first hand how money affects life, business, and every area in between so for over a decade, she has been helping clients to make strategically powerful decisions that increase revenue and cash flow to ensure they operate their lives and businesses at the highest level possible.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Banking/Finance field?

I used to say that it was an accident, but I believe it was destined. My initial goal was to become a prosecutor, but in college, I made some unfavorable decisions that caused me to take a different path and leave college altogether. A few years later, I was down on my luck, looking for work and was finally hired by a car dealership for sales. That turned out to be my saving grace. After multiple promotions into finance, management, and eventually corporate finance and insurance, I realized I was exactly where I was destined to be. That led me to building a vast network and starting my consulting company.

Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occured to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?

When I was in corporate, I was given an assignment to train a group of finance managers at a large dealership. I happened to be visibly pregnant with my daughter at the time. When I arrived to the initial meeting, one of the trainees noticed my growing belly and asked if I was the trainer. Once I confirmed that I was, he said, “but you’re pregnant.” I responded “No I’m not.” I enjoyed the look of horror for a few minutes before politely letting him know that my abilities wouldn’t be negatively impacted by my pregnancy. For me, the lesson was that no matter how much good you’re doing in the world, there will always be someone that has something irrelevant to say. It reminded me to keep going forward

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am! Studies show that financially strained employees spend anywhere between 14–20 hours per month being unproductive in the workplace. So in the past year, I’ve put a lot more energy into speaking and training outside of the clients to come to us directly. It allows us to not only help impact larger groups, but also help companies to ensure they don’t lose money due to lack of productivity.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We pride ourselves on eliminating poverty as a whole, not just budgeting. For this reason, we design solutions for our clients based on their desired lifestyle. We’ve realized that customers seek us out for this very reason, as many tend to associate budgeting with restriction and the inability to live life on their own terms.

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?

Great question. I believe it’s simple. Women, primarily women of color, are tired of it. Since the beginning of time, we’ve seen the white boys club mentality consistently fail. They often make decisions from a place of entitlement and studies show that it simply doesn’t work. If nearly 50% of women are successfully making the financial decisions in the household, and we are, it should be only logical for Wall Street to follow suit.

Of course, despite the progress, we still have a lot more work to do to achieve parity. 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?

I believe in personal responsibility. Yes; society and companies could be more receptive to women stepping into positions of power. However; we can’t control how others respond to our desires for equality. According to World Economic Forum, men are FOUR TIMES as likely to ask for a raise than a woman. So that leaves it up to us- the women. We have to demand the equality with our level of asking. Ask for the raise. Ask for the contract. Ask for the promotion. And if no one gives you an opportunity, create your own.

Let’s now turn to a slightly new topic. 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?

Unfortunately, we often emphasize generational wealth, but many times we gloss over the generational poverty that plagues so many communities. People often fail because they simply don’t know how to succeed. Not only do they not know, but they don’t know how to find out. If I had the power to make a change, I’d recommend the following:

Require a basic understanding of budgeting, taxes, and business in the public school system

Offer state funding for financial literacy in all US counties, and advertising for its availability in low income communities.

Allow financial counseling and education for major life changes to be covered by insurance, as this directly ties to mental health.

You are a “finance insider”. If you had to advise your adult child about 5 non intuitive things one should do to become more financially literate, what would you say? Can you please give a story or example for each.

I’d like to advise my children of the following:

Determine the life you want to live and base your financial decisions on the ability to have that life. When I was younger, I only made decisions based upon how I felt at the time, without considering how it would affect the ultimate life I desired.

Start your day with gratitude and prayer. They may not seem directly connected to finances, but I’ve learned that gratitude cultivates relationships and opens doors that money can’t buy.

Leverage your credit without amassing a heavy debt load. The most successful companies use credit lines to build their empires. Once I learned to leverage credit to produce cash flow, it created more opportunities than I ever imagined.

Never use your investment income to purchase a depreciating asset. I saw customers do this many times when I was in the auto industry so that they could “pay cash.” Unfortunately, even when I would show them the math, they didn’t realize how much money they were losing.

Embrace the “money talk.” People perish because of their lack of knowledge. It’s important to make discussing money normal. If I would have set my pride aside and asked more questions sooner, I would have not only began building wealth sooner, but I would have been able to avoid some of the bad financial decisions I made early on in life.

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?

Outside of my Lord & Savior, I credit my husband, Patrick. When we met, I was in the middle of becoming the woman I am today so my current businesses were only goals. There are some men, who find it challenging to support a woman with such a large vision, but he has always been willing to assist and support in any way possible. He is a firm foundation as well as a sounding board for the millions of ideas I get daily.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Money is not the root of your issue; it is the fruit of your issue.” This has rang true in my life because I have been on both sides of the poverty line. Early in my career, I went from making minimum wage to making five figures per month, but the lack of money management skills I had back then caused me to find myself homeless. Having more money didn’t solve my problems. It only amplified them.

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. 🙂

I would love to inspire communities to come together for a 100% debt free challenge. They would organize in small groups to learn and master money management, then work together to ensure each group achieves 100% debt freedom.

Thank you for all of these great insights!

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