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“Women’s stories need to be heard in order to make a change” With Anjali Pradhan

Women’s stories need to be heard. I talk about my own because people need to hear my journey so that the underbelly of the industry is exposed. Women are often gaslighted when we speak up about our experiences. In my live free class, I speak openly about my career struggles as a woman of color […]

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Women’s stories need to be heard. I talk about my own because people need to hear my journey so that the underbelly of the industry is exposed. Women are often gaslighted when we speak up about our experiences. In my live free class, I speak openly about my career struggles as a woman of color and show women that they too can be investors and grow their wealth.


As a part of my series about strong female finance leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Anjali Pradhan, CFA.

Anjali is an investment coach to women through her business Dahlia Wealth. She teaches women to invest their money so that they can grow their wealth & live their best lives. Her services are offered through a unique online program called “Investing for Boss Ladies”. She started her career in London, England working for many of the big established banks like Goldman Sachs & HSBC. Her goal is to financially empower 5,000 women in the next 5 years. Anjali holds a B.Comm and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).


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 started Dahlia Wealth despite my best efforts to remain in the traditional banking industry. I was laid off in the crash of 2008 working for a global financial institution in London, England. At that point I decided to move back to Canada. I knew that it might take some time to get back on my feet given the dire economic situation but I did not expect what was to come. I sent hundreds of resumes and attended dozens of interviews but to no avail. This made no sense as I had worked for some of the biggest names in banking. When I left the UK, I was at a VP level position at the age of 28.

Finally, I realized what was happening: I was being shut out by the boys club. Being an ambitious woman of color with a stellar international resume, I proved to be a threat to their hegemony.

I realized that although I had suffered setbacks during my job search, I was fortunate that I didn’t need to worry about paying for rent and food; I had saved and invested consistently while working. This offered me the freedom to travel, study for my charter, and finally start my own business. I wanted to afford this same opportunity to every woman out there.

After much reluctance on my part, I finally decided to follow the advice of an acquaintance who suggested that I teach women to invest. She herself had some money to invest but could not find the resources she needed to make decisions for herself. The financial advisor she ultimately fired, refused to listen to her wishes and treated her with outright disrespect. This is a story which is unfortunately all too common.

My goal is to give women a piece of the pie that they’ve helped bake, to give them a life of opportunity. There is no empowerment without financial security. Fortunately, investing is an equal opportunity game. It doesn’t matter who you are. It’s by far the best way to gain lasting wealth, and to make up for stubborn inequalities like the pay gap.

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 had recently moved to London and had bought some new fancy high heeled shoes to go to an interview. I did like on TV where I left the house wearing the shoes. I quickly realized that I wouldn’t actually be able to tolerate the pain of my chosen footwear to get to the interview and back, so I went into the first shoe shop on the way and bought a pair of flat backless mules.

On the way back from the interview, as I was boarding the train in the famous London Tube, I lost my right shoe and I quickly realized why the announcers tell you to “Mind the gap”! The funny thing is that I don’t even remember what job interview I was heading home from.

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

We recently launched an exciting online coaching program. My goal is to make investing literacy accessible to as wide an audience as possible. The online program fills the gap that has been left vacant by the traditional financial industry. There are very few resources for younger people who are starting out in their investing journey, and even fewer designed with women in mind. I’ve recently started giving free online classes to make my coaching accessible to a wider audience.

Our aim is to give women the skills and confidence to manage their investments on their own. The program helps students with retirement planning, as well as investing towards other life goals. While they are certainly going to be better off financially, the biggest change is the student’s mindset. The confidence that comes with being in control of one’s financial destiny is a game changer. When women take on an abundance mindset, they start making decisions that are in line with their long term goals and aspirations. When you start living your life from a position of power, it changes the way you live your life.

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

We’re about empowering women, which has two distinct parts: growing wealth and feeling in control of one’s financial situation. You can’t fully feel in control about something if you don’t understand it.

One of my first students, Emma, used the coaching we provided to truly change her life for the better. She started investing with my coaching. Later that year, she had enough confidence in her financial situation to quit her 9–5 job which was not allowing her to live her potential. She then embarked on a five-month trip rock climbing around the world. When she returned, she founded an outdoor adventure company where she runs women’s rock climbing retreats, with the aim of empowering even more women.

Emma said the following about starting her investment journey: “I felt empowered the day I met you. It’s then that I realized it is possible for me to grow my wealth and become financially secure.”

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?

Startups like ours may well be the disruption that the industry needs to increase its gender parity. We are actively working to change the face of money for people that have historically been ignored by the financial industry. It is putting pressure on the established firms to improve their diversity game.

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?

Individuals

Women’s stories need to be heard. I talk about my own because people need to hear my journey so that the underbelly of the industry is exposed. Women are often gaslighted when we speak up about our experiences. In my live free class, I speak openly about my career struggles as a woman of color and show women that they too can be investors and grow their wealth.

Companies

Employers should have clear and unambiguous hiring and promotion criteria. There should equally be unconscious bias training for employees. A requirement for a diverse slate of candidates would help diversity in hiring.

My own goal for my coaching services is to make them more adapted to black women’s needs. The resurgence of the Black Lives Matters movement has made me realize just how black people are disadvantaged historically when trying to grow their wealth. As a coaching business, we need to better understand the financial trauma faced by these communities in order to better serve them and help them succeed financially.

Society

We as a society should support women led businesses and initiatives. Entrepreneurship is what allowed me to circumvent traditional career routes and help other women. By running my own business, I make the rules and set company culture. It has allowed me to hire a staff of predominantly other women of colour.

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.

  1. Learn how to invest! This is the most sustainable and easiest way to grow your wealth. If you don’t know where to start, I give free online classes a couple of times a month, that gives you the basics of DIY investing, so that you can be in the driver’s seat of your money game.
  2. Don’t listen to investing advice on the internet. Most of it is unhelpful to the average investor and only serves to overwhelm us. In my monthly free class, I debunk some myths that keep people from investing.
  3. Get unbiased paid advice. You want help from someone who is as vested in your success as you are. Get yourself a money coach to avoid disappointment and for better, faster results. Coaching should result in a healthier relationship with money, as well as more confidence and sense of control over your life.
  4. Don’t look to reduce your expenses obsessively. Instead, raise your money game to match the life you want. Look to increase your income through your job and investing. There is only so much you can cut back but the upside is unlimited.
  5. Go to therapy, meditate, do what you need to make yourself whole. Your relationship with yourself manifests itself in your behaviour with money. Poor money decisions are the symptom, not the cause.

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?

Dahlia Wealth employs predominantly women of colour. Many of these women started off as students in the course and understand its value first hand. I owe these women a lot. Having a team that is fully committed to our mission has been crucial in our growth.

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

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, not our Darkness, that most frightens us.”

— Marianne Williamson

We see this in our students, they are full of hope and aspirations for their lives. Often the only thing holding them back is the confidence that things will work out if they take the leap. Seeing women taking risks that lead them to long term happiness is one of the most satisfying things for me to see as a coach.

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. 🙂

When women feel in control of their money, we become more confident in other areas of our life. We have the freedom to make choices that best suit our needs, desires, and values. We’ve seen this happen time and again with students in the course. When women are financially empowered, we can change the world.

I hope this movement has a ripple effect, with my students, who we call ‘Boss Ladies’, encouraging their sisters, mothers and women friends to start their investing journey and to wield their financial power.

Sign up for your free class here: www.dahliawealth.com

Instagram: @dahlia_wealth

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