Episode 22: Who is at your decision making table impacts your insight
What you’ll learn about in this episode:
Research indicates that the majority of employees in accounts receivable are female and more likely to be people of color than their peers in other industries. Likewise, many of the consumers contacted by accounts receivable representatives are women and minorities. Additionally, recruitment is a huge issue in the ARM space (indeed, in all industries) today, and yet a large talent pool is underutilized. Having diverse voices at the table brings better insight into both employees and consumers. With an audience in the thousands, our guest Stephanie Eidelman Meisel’s mission is to use her platform to get more women – especially women of color – to these decision-making tables.
How a focus on diversity and inclusion broadens insight and improves business results
Identifying and building core values
The role perspective plays in changing our legacy mindset
Guest: Stephanie Eidelman (Meisel)
Stephanie is owner and CEO of The iA Institute, a certified woman-owned media business in the consumer finance space. Their latest initiative is called Women in Consumer Finance, a one-of-a-kind conference and community that helps women lead inspired careers, creating value for themselves and for their employers. They place a particular focus on what’s needed to get more women – particularly women of color – to the decision-making tables where products are designed and policy is set. They build confidence, they ensure everyone leaves with meaningful new connections, and they provide inspiring career examples to which all can relate.
LinkedIn Personal: linkedin.com/in/stephanieeidelman
Collector Job stats: https://www.zippia.com/debt-collector-jobs/demographics/
Lex Patterson 0:11
kindred force media a lot has changed in the consumer finance space. But as we’ll learn in this episode, there are still some major challenges to overcome to get us to a better level of understanding and empathy. In this episode, I’m joined by a longtime friend and mentor, Stephanie Eidelman Meisel, founder of Women and consumer finance, and an advocate for diversity and inclusion. settle in for some interesting perspective and insight. Here we go. Welcome, Stephanie. Good to have you on the podcast.
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 1:05
Thank you, Lex. I’m so excited to be here. I know, we started talking about this a long time ago. So finally arrived.
Lex Patterson 1:11
Me too. I’m so excited. So tell us I like to ask all the guests. Where does this podcast find you?
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 1:18
Well, I am now in my home office, which used to be a playroom where the kids played ball. But now the kids are older than that. And I had been paying for my office for a couple of years during the pandemic, finally, the lease ended. Nobody wanted to go back to the office. And surprisingly, even me, I used to really like going to the office and getting out. But I’ve really just loved the flexibility that I gained being at home. And it’s worked out well. So that’s where I am.
Lex Patterson 1:52
Yeah. And it’s so cool. Because we can connect, like we’re connecting and see each other. And we reclaim so much of that time that was spent in a car or on a bus or on the train and, and commuting and all that too. So it’s it’s really our world shifted a lot for sure.
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 2:09
Yeah, it’s just so much better to accommodate what you need to do in life. You know, I’ve, I’m a walker. I was walking before the pandemic, but definitely, you know, it’s like, good six days a week. And, you know, when I’m in the office for a structured period of time, I can’t really do that. You know, I don’t want to come back sweaty. Yeah. Yeah. You know, maybe dark, you know, when I get home. So now, based on the weather, or based on my schedule, or whatever, I can go do it in the middle of the day and come back, and I wouldn’t have done that before. So
Lex Patterson 2:42
yeah, so nice. Yeah. Well, Stephanie, we’ve known each other for so many years, and I’ve learned so much from you. And I’m just so grateful for you coming on the podcast. Let’s maybe start our conversation out today by I know, you’re so well known in the industry. And but but I think maybe let’s start it off by asking you tell us something about you that maybe we don’t know about you?
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 3:04
Well, what I would say is that so many people in this industry have been in the industry for decades. And that’s that’s actually kind of true of me too. But I did have a totally different career before. In fact, I started out in live entertainment. I was the stage manager. And that was my original passion and my career. And but, but an interesting thing that I will share is that my career really started professionally as a stage manager at Opryland, USA, which is in Nashville, and I was on the general Jackson showboat, which was at the time. Well, Opryland has since closed, I understand but at the time, it was a brand new attraction is a boat, literally. And we were the first cast to be on the ship. We got to go to Jeff boat was the place I don’t know why I remember that in Kentucky where the boat was being built. And we got to ride in on it to Nashville and they had this whole big city wide, you know, celebration where there were 10s of 1000s of people at Riverfront Park and, and we, you know, put on a show and as the stage manager, I had my clipboard in the day, it was a clipboard, and I was in charge. And I was very, very excited. It was all extremely exciting. And that was really the launch of my entertainment career and what made me love big events and things like that. Wow.
Lex Patterson 4:42
Yeah, that’s very cool. Yeah, thanks for sharing that. Yeah, I want to start off geeky guy is a Japanese concept that means your reason for being iki in Japanese means life. And gai describes value or worth Your Ikigai is your life purpose. Your bliss is what brings you joy and inspires you to get out of bed every day. So tell us about finding your Ikigai, Stephanie. And what gets you out of bed every day?
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 5:14
Well, gosh, it has really evolved. And what’s interesting about it, as I have, I’m in my mid 50s, I’ve been thinking a lot about this. And I didn’t used to think as much about it. And now, what I would say that I’ve discovered about my purpose is that I, I’ve been so taken with the efforts to bring more women to the decision making tables in business. But, but sharing what I’ve learned, The Good, the Bad, luck, lots of lessons. Yeah, it’s so satisfying. And you know, and finding each time I learn about a new organization, or learn more about this mission about women and gender equity, and I just, I’m just really empowered me, I’m excited and motivated by it. And, you know, sometimes it’s like, you just know when you find it. Yeah, yeah. So I’m sort of going with that, because I really just love it. And all the things that I’ve done before, I’ve sort of led to the thing I’m doing now, but, but that’s really new, I would say it’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve started to kind of discover that and, and find a time and a place in my work that I could focus on it. But before that, it was difficult, I didn’t really feel like I had a purpose that was so well defined. When I look back on my previous jobs and careers, and I think well, what, what was most satisfying, it was those times where I felt like I really had an impact on someone I had the opportunity to grow for me to grow, but for to help other people grow. And the thing that I think the most professionally satisfying job that I had before what I’m currently doing was in Allied Signal, it was a manufacturing plant, we make parts for airplanes, and I did this just after business school, and well, the culture of the place was not it was ironically, very male dominated, very white, very quota driven, which gives me a little insight, I guess it’s a collection agencies as well, but it was a it was not a great culture at the time in you know, in manufacturing, but, but I loved it, what I loved so much about it was that there was so much I learned so much. And I was able to help other people learn so much. And so from a growth standpoint, it was the, you know, just the most satisfying experience that that I had had. So cut two years later in, in my company, my current company, and we’re doing mission and vision work and trying to identify your core values and all those things. And I have to say, Well, what’s, you know, what’s my mission? What’s my purpose for, for having company? And, you know, I could say, well, I’m going to be the best at this. And the biggest at that, and none of that really excited me all that much. But what, what did always excite me was to say that we would deliver the best professional experience that people who engage with us have ever had, and whether that was an employee, or a reader, you know, or a client, whatever that meant. For them. The best professional experience is different for everybody, you know, and I don’t know if I’ve achieved that, and I’m sure I haven’t, in all cases, I’m sure there are employees who have left and you know, maybe didn’t feel that way or clients, but, but I really do. I am motivated by by being able to do that for the, you know, for those that I can effectively do it for and who sort of the right match with what we do and what we can do and the way we do it. And I find that to be satisfying. This is my opening monologue. Yeah,
Lex Patterson 9:40
yeah. No, it was great. I mean, I love those stories about connecting dots. Right. And I think it was Steve Jobs that in one of his speeches talked about, you know, you can connect the dots going backwards, but you can’t really connect them going forward. So it’s just always interesting to me to hear stories about these experiences that At somehow it later on, they connect back to what drives your passion and what’s going on. And I remember I remember Stephanie, that there was a post that you put out that really touched me, I think it was called the worst day. And you wrote in that post what I’ve learned in the many years since and I think you were referring back to that even that job that that you were talking about it, as the stage manager may be in in drama. And maybe it was a school, I can’t really remember, you can probably tell tell the story better than me. But the quote that I wanted to share is that what I’ve learned in the many years since is that being ambitious and independent is important. But needing help is inevitable. So it’s also important to have a support system you can turn to when you need it. And I was I was touched by that. I’m thinking, tell us more about what you meant there and maybe speak to that article in general a little bit.
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 10:55
Yeah. So the experience that I was referring back to specifically was actually neither of the ones that you said or that I mentioned. It was it was a different one that came after the manufacturing plant experience. It was up so I was working for one of the original Internet startup companies.
Lex Patterson 11:17
Oh, that’s right. That’s right.
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 11:19
Any good company? Yeah. And we were I was on the new markets team. It was our job to travel and live in a city for a couple of months and open an office and start the business there. And ironically, we were starting an Internet City Guide company. And there really almost even wasn’t internet yet. Like people still had dial up. And, and so we literally, we were selling vaporware, you know, you hear people talk about that. And that too, was an amazing time and incredibly challenging and exciting to be living through that start of the internet. I think we even knew it at the time that it was groundbreaking. But okay, so what I meant by by the growth and, and the the learning and the sports system is that I started as a Director of Operations, it’s my job to do, you know, the operation stuff of opening and operating the office. And that was definitely my comfort zone is it turns out, in retrospect, stage management was all about operations. And then I went to business school and I, I learned that it was operations because I took operations classes, and I and I thought, Oh, this is really cool. Like, one of my favorite books of all time is the goal, which is so geeky, and but it’s all about a guy going through in a manufacturing plant and figuring out what the bottlenecks are and how to break through is like, oh my god, I love that. And so I said, Okay, operations is for me. And then I went into that job, it Allied Signal because it was an operations job and, and then I was in operations in starting the internet. But I was ambitious and growing. And, you know, and, and also on the team was sort of the team leader of the traveling, we called it the rollout team was the general manager. And, and I said, Oh, I, you know, I want to be that, that’s the next job that I want. And I so I raised my hand and I made it known that I want to be in that position. And ultimately, I Okay, I got what I asked for, and I just completely fell apart because the job was so out of my comfort zone, it was much more really of a sales and marketing job. And I had no experience at that. And clearly, at least at the time, I had no natural ability or just nope, nope, you know, no resource to go back on. And I guess I felt like I didn’t have anybody to ask that I could be vulnerable with and say how, you know, helped me how do I do this? And so it was very uncomfortable. And I, you know, professionally still remember how I conducted myself and I’m not proud of it. And but it was it taught me that well, okay, so nothing wrong with raising my hand and being ambitious and you know, getting to that next level. But the, you know, you want to be prepared. You want to have some scaffolding when you get there for with mentors or friends or colleagues or whatever, that can sort of help you in the areas where you’re not not so strong.
Lex Patterson 14:30
Yeah. Yeah. Well, and so it sounds like you’ve had this, obviously, this journey, right? And I mean, you’ve done so many different things throughout your career. And, and then recently, it sounds like you found this Ikigai of inclusion, diversity, getting women especially to the tables of let’s let’s dive into that a little bit for a minute. Because I think it’s fascinating and this is coming off of research I’ve done prior For the podcasts that when you think about this, if I remember right, and I’ll post this in the show notes, the links that I found this on that 60% of the employees in our industry, in particular, are women. And also, the other thing I was thinking when we were talking about this in our prep call a little bit was that there’s a large amount, I’m sure of the consumers that are being contacted by our industry are also women, single moms, so let’s speak to that a little bit. Like I know, that’s a passion. I know, that’s where you’re going. You’ve got the women in Consumer Finance Conference. It’s something that you built to a large, I mean, I don’t know how many you had at the last conference, how many? How many attended the last conference? You had?
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 15:44
Yeah, we had about 250 At the last conference, and then another few 100 online?
Lex Patterson 15:49
Yeah, so it’s growing, you know, it’s a growing movement. And so let’s dive into that a little bit. Stephanie, tell us tell us about what’s going on with that. And that transition?
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 15:58
Yeah, so a few things led to this. And what I’ll say, first, is that, through my work with the Consumer Relations Consortium, which is compliance and regulatory advocacy group that we that we modeled for anybody who doesn’t know, we, we started that in 2013, to offer a seat at the table, literally, with the CFPB for their rulemaking activities, and which ended up taking seven years. We didn’t know that, but we formed that group. And not to go too deeply into that. But as part of the mission of that group, we called it the Consumer Relations consortium. And so as part of the mission was developing relationships with consumer groups, and really, really engaging with them in dialogue, not necessarily in public, because that’s where everybody has to be on their their talking points, but but behind the scenes and generating a better understanding among consumer groups have really how debt collection works. And just as a, for instance, you see on a lot of consumer boards that they right, oh, well, they hung up, and that shows that their crop? Well actually, turns out, it could mean that but it also could mean that they’re following the law because they can’t really leave a message that’s meaningful. Or if they asked me for my social security number, and oh, that proves their quote, well, actually, that shows that they’re following the law to verify your identity. Yeah, that’s a super uncomfy law. But anyway, so we thought it would be helpful to be able to talk at a granular level about things like that, yeah, one side would better understand the other and vice versa, you know, that, that consumer advocates could could explain to the industry, the types of situations that they’re facing the consumers that they see, and here’s what’s going on. And so it was an in increasing of understanding mission. And so, through the years and the relationships that we’ve developed, I have learned a lot that may have seemed obvious, but I didn’t really internalize it. That, yes, a large majority of the consumers that certainly the recoveries industry contacts are single moms of color. Not all, of course, but a lot, a lot. And, you know, collection agencies want to communicate with people by text and email and whatnot. And, okay, yes, and there are many, many that I know argument there, it should, but there are also people who don’t have a smartphone, right? Or share it with their kids. Or you could just be whatever, you know, I might say, but just those nuanced, you know, explanations and such an understanding really, with empathy, the situation that people are in, and it’s hard to really understand that deeply. If you haven’t come from that background, or if you don’t have someone on your team who has that background, or know someone that background or looks like the same people or you know, you have to represent that audience. And so also when we say that there are 60% of the industry is women, and a significant percentage is also probably of color, yes, but not at the senior level. And it’s at the senior level, that we’re setting policy and determining how We talk to people in what mode we talk to people, what we offer to people, what we say to them. And, you know, you need those voices at the table. And the same thing on the lending side, you know, this expands beyond just collections to all consumer finance, the products that we’re offering, the way we’re marketing them, the language that we’re using to market them, the way we try to attract diverse candidates to work for us. How do we do that? What do they see when they get to us? How do we retain them? How you know this? It’s a, there’s so many questions and pieces to it. And, and I’ve gotten excited about that, the more I learn about it, the more aspects of of it that I find. And the more that I learned that I have something to share, the more excited I get about spending my time that way.
Lex Patterson 20:54
Yeah, yeah. And the thing that jumps out at me, Stephanie, is that insight, okay, or insights are always so critical in business anyway, they’re, there’s, they’re probably the most difficult to get to, you know, because we’re, we’re a data driven industry, we look at data, we look at all this stuff, but these are insights into behaviors into, you know, psychographics, I think is a term used on the marketing side, you know, you said, you know, kind of where they live, who they are, what their day looks like, what their iki guy is, you know, what gets them out of bed in the morning, those types of things, because it’s people helping people all the way along. But but it’s fascinating to me that, and it was an aha moment for me to think about that, that a lot of the decisions are a lot of those areas that are impacting the decisions, let’s put it that way. Or not. There’s no representation of any of that insight there. And so you’ve taken that on as a mission. And I watched recently, and maybe we can even put a link or something, Stephanie, in the show notes on this to of your work with lift in particular, I know you did a, you’ve done quite a bit there. And one of the pieces that I watched was these, a group of women that was really trying to share those insights. And it was really, it really touched me, you know, because you’re hearing that story from them about the challenges of raising kids and trying to get jobs and especially to the pandemic and all that, you know. So I mean, what are the biggest challenges and maybe just you said lessons learned, but speak to those lessons learned some of the challenges some of the victories? What, what can you tell us about that?
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 22:33
Yeah. And it’s so powerful to hear directly from people facing the issues, isn’t it? Than to hear even an articulate representative? It’s not as No, it’s not the same? Yeah. So yes, so I found lift, first of all through, because we added a community impact component to the to women and consumer finance, we wanted to also be giving back to women and girls, and, you know, just seems so obvious to support those kinds of organizations. And so, lift is an organization that I was introduced to along the way that would be a good match with with our mission, and I loved the executive director, we fell in love with each other. And that led me to join the board, and just to be super active with it, and I love their mission, which is to break the cycle of poverty to generations at once. So it’s while there are so many amazing organizations that do that provide food and housing, and you know, all kinds of important things. What I loved about lift is that it uses a coaching model to help people identify ways that they can improve their financial stability on their own, for instance, getting a certificate in something, you know, or we’re climbing the ladder and, you know, getting past an entry level job and, you know, having a path to do that, and, and it also supports them along the way with you know, it’s hard to do that if you don’t have childcare or right there are all kinds of pieces that have to come together to make it possible to do that. And I guess the it’s those types of things that I really learned that were the learnings to meet how interconnected so many things are. This may sound frivolous, but I don’t know if you’ve watched the Netflix series made. Yes. And yeah, it’s fiction, but it’s God, it was so instructive, you know, and it’s about this young woman who was smart and quite capable, who ended up in an abusive relationship and she gets out and she has a young toddler, you know, a baby and
Lex Patterson 24:57
literally in the middle of the night too. In the middle of the night, you know,
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 25:01
with, with the baby and nothing, you know, and how does she make her way, and I don’t want to give it away for anybody, but it’s, it was it, you just learn the little micro things like the all the barriers, that student she wants to work, okay, she could so she gets a job as a maid, she has to buy her own supplies, okay, she literally has like, $18 to her name, and these supplies, cost $12. And now she has $6, you know, and that she has to buy gas, she, you know, she has to pay her own way, right. So, just even little things like that, you think, oh my god, you know, I’m so lucky that I have a car to get in. And, you know, just getting to work is not a problem for me. But if every little if I had to buy my own supplies for work, you know, you have to invest, you have to, as we all know, or but you have to spend money to make money and the more money you have, the more money you can make. So when you put it down, even at that level, and it’s the same thing, you have to spend money, you know, it’s like, you can’t get an apartment without first and last month’s rent, we, you can’t even get a job without money to buy your own uniform or supplies or that sort of thing. So those are the details that I guess I would have known if I really focused on it, but but to, to know that it’s one thing to know it from watching me but to then to really know it because you’ve been there that yeah, would be, you know, and there. And what I’ve learned through the Women’s Conference, actually, is that there are quite a few women in the industry who who actually do have experiences like that they maybe had a child when they were very, you know, 18 and didn’t get to go to college and then started at a collection agency, and they sort of worked their way up. And, and so actually there if we could get these women into decision making positions, they have a lot to add, oh my gosh, yeah. To these, you know, to the companies in the industry. And it you don’t have to have gone to Stanford Business School, you know, to be to have brilliant insights and make maybe you have some, but there are others that you don’t have. Yeah, so those are some of the things that I’ve really been internalizing and learning and oh, my gosh, you know, take that, across the world. And another organization we support through my colleague, Shelley who sits on the board of for the good, which is an organization that’s based in Colorado, but operates in Kenya. And their mission is to make it possible to keep girls in school through through secondary school, many have to drop out, because they’re married off, because they don’t have the ability to deal with their menstrual cycle on it. They don’t have a tampon, or, you know, you can imagine how many there’s no clean water in the village that there’s literally if you see barriers here, well, yeah, there’s barriers. And literally, the problems that could be solved by educating girls have the potential even to solve some of our worldwide food issues and climate change issues. Because you have, you know, I could go, I could go on and on. But I’ve learned so much about how these things are all connected. And it’s I think it’s so interesting. And when I have when I now arrived in my 50s, and I say, How do I want to impact the world? Or what should I be working on? Okay, you know, maybe I’ve impacted people through the work I’ve done in the collection industry. Not sure, but but I feel like I could be doing things that are different than just sort of running my company that that would make an impact on a larger scale. And these things have.
Lex Patterson 29:09
Yeah, well, you’re very humble. I mean, I know you’ve impacted me as a debt collection professional many years in the making of that, and you’re, you’re someone I looked at as a mentor, you know, but I can tell there’s an underlying this why has really just resonated with you. So is Stephanie. Is there something, though, that with this work that you’ve you’ve in it sounds like it’s a journey, and it’s transforming, and you’re learning more and more, and that’s part of the journey, and it’s part of what’s cool about it, because you’re gaining more and more insight into this as you as you hear more and more stories, like what we’re talking about right now. But was there something that maybe that you didn’t expect as you dove into this? Is there anything that pops out that was like well, I was prepared for this, but man, this this came out of nowhere and I well, I didn’t expect
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 29:58
it. No, no, I guess just How interested I got in it is one thing and and just, maybe this isn’t really what I didn’t expect, but, but what I’m glad I learned, you know, all of the pieces that I’ve started to pull together for myself only lead to, of course, a million other pieces that I didn’t even know existed. And, you know, learning, like, look because of lift, I’ve been learning about systemic racism and what caused it. And I don’t know if I would say I’m surprised, but I’m definitely my eyes are opened in ways that I didn’t know before, I couldn’t have articulated before, how, how it worked, and how far things go back, and how, again, how everything is interconnected. And you know, the power over the school systems and the power over where you can buy a house or rent and how long lasting the structural inequities have been. And it makes a lot of sense, you know, I, I am not someone who is protesting with with signs, and, you know, that’s not necessarily me, but I, I really have learned a lot. And, and I think, I think there’s a lot of work to do.
Lex Patterson 31:25
Yeah, yeah. Well, let’s talk about that for a minute. Well, you mentioned you know, how you were you were trying to get this group together to hear the consumer voices. And that kind of led into some of this other stuff. But do you have a roadmap? Or do you have things in mind? Are there things opening up? Tell us about what the future looks like for your work?
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 31:43
Well, I do find so at first, we just started with the organizations that were most obviously related to collections, you know, consumer groups that knew about collections or worked in that field. And, you know, that that was important, of course, because those folks have the ear of the regulators. And, you know, so that that’s important. Yeah. And but but as it’s gone on, I I’ve, you know, there are so many organizations that do great work around the area of financial inclusion and financial stability, that aren’t involved with regulatory matters quite as much, or, you know, they’re not in the CFPB on a weekly basis. And, but, and those are almost more interesting, because they’re, they’re really doing work on the ground. You know, with consumers, that’s not entirely true. Some, some of the ones who do talk to the CFPB are doing that as well. But the the scope of who we are talking to, is while widening. And I think that is very interesting, and I think it offers more opportunities. For instance, through lift, we uncovered that one of the things that they’re trying to do is create a more direct pipeline for their parents or members, they, you know, they’re their parents, they’re all parents, it’s part of the definition of who they serve a more direct pipeline to good jobs. And so they, they want good jobs. And by the way, they want flexible jobs. And in many cases, now, jobs they can do remotely, which is, you know, new and great. And I know, lots of people in the industry can’t find enough people to do the jobs. Right. Right, exactly. So these people want jobs, and these people need people to do jobs. And, you know, we could, if we could create a pipeline to each other, that would be super helpful to both, you know, both sides. And so that’s one opportunity. They also are interested in educational opportunities where members of our industry can do, you know, webinars and trainings and things like that to teach their constituents about, you know, how to deal with debt collection, and had it, you know, and maybe bad credit and, you know, additional topics. Yeah. So, it just expands those opportunities.
Lex Patterson 34:13
And it’s so cool the opportunity of the work to because you’ve got people that want to work that need to work, but also not just, I mean, they’re, they’re people that have insight, empathy, understanding into the situations. I mean, what an awesome connection that could be, I think, you know, into the whole thing. So well, I just think that’s so cool. Well, let’s talk about the inclusion and and I’ve just got a question I just, I want to ask you, which is if you had the opportunity to speak to a hand selected audience on this topic, who would be in the audience? And what would you say to them?
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 34:55
Well, I was thinking about this question. I’m never great at that. question of like, Well, who would you invite to dinner?
Lex Patterson 35:05
You don’t want to leave anybody out, obviously.
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 35:07
But I don’t know, you know, nameless person, I don’t know, I want to talk to my dad who passed away many years ago, and you know that he’s not going to be a game changer on this topic. You know, what I what I have also learned recently, I have never done up until recently, much philanthropic work or been involved in, in boards, meaning philanthropy boards. But as I’ve gotten more involved, I see that it’s sort of like, the you need money to make money, the more influential people that you can have in your circle, the more influence you can have. And so I guess, what’s interesting to me going forward, is, is to meet as many and I think in the past, I would have been maybe too intimidated, you know, to do this, but now I see that people are just people, and you probably, I probably could talk to them like a human being. But I would love to be able to develop collegial relationships, you know, in friendships with people doing really interesting work in this space. And maybe they’re famous, maybe they’re not. But the more and more of those folks that I can be engaged with, the more access that I have to ways to have influence. And that’s something that I’ve just learned is really important. practical matter?
Lex Patterson 36:42
Yeah. And the further the the word will spread. And so that’s, you know, I just, I just was wondering, you know, if there’s someone that would listen to our conversation here, this podcast, you know, because it’s all about you, right? It’s all about getting that out there. And in the world we’re living in right now. It’s just so interesting how we can have this kind of a conversation, you put it out there, it’s on these different platforms. Who knows? I can’t remember who I was talking to about this. But it’s so it’s organic, you know, in the way that it just sits out there. And you may be ahead of the curve right now. But later on, someone downloads this podcast, and they hear this thing and it and it resonates, you know, and so you just never know,
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 37:22
well, I’ll say in that spirit. I’ll mention two people, I guess. So one is, I came across a I’ll give a shout out. Stephanie Villanueva who is a young woman who I met through the Washington area, Women’s Foundation is a whole other story, I won’t tell but, and she, we sponsored her to come to women consumer finance in December and share her story. She’s an impressive young woman who is graduating from college now, and but she’s already started a nonprofit. And you know, one of those wonderful, and she posted on LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago that she was speaking on a panel at an open house in DC this past weekend for an organization that was opening a building, and it’s called Vital Voices. And apparently it was started decades ago, I didn’t even know by Hillary Clinton and Madeleine Albright. And it is basically a global women’s embassy. And they’ve been doing really terrific work for 20 years. And but they never had a building a physical space where stakeholders could gather and you know, this, this would be sort of their mission. And they they could bring people to talk about this mission. And so they got the money. And you know, they opened this building, and this weekend was the grand opening. And there was an open house day. And I took my daughter, we went together. Yeah, it was really cool. It was it was very cool. We talked to the people about getting her an internship and how I could get involved, you know, and so that was really neat. And so I guess, in that spirit, I would say, oh, my gosh, I didn’t realize this was going on and and I’d be happy to talk to Hillary Clinton. You know, what she’s done in this area. And you know, and the people that she’s met because I think it’s it’s really exciting. And I did give kudos to Stephanie because I watched her she may be president one day as an impressive young woman. So that’s that’s one I guess, or one organization, one woman, Hillary Clinton. The other person I would say is in my LinkedIn stalking of people for you know, people that I would want to connect with. I came across a woman named Samantha Saperstein who is a JPMorgan Chase. I had a girl crush on her job. It’s she is head of women on the move. Oh, wow. She gets to spend her whole job that’s not like it’s not. She’s not the head of some product unit and she’s also this woman you Oh, this is her full time job. She gets to travel around, I guess the world I assume, you know, but certainly the country and, and highlight and lift and you know, sponsor a be a sponsor for for women and how Chase shows up that way. And and I think I just think that’s really cool of JPMorgan Chase to have that role. And I think it’s exciting for her that she has that role. And you know, and she’s certainly someone that I would want to have speak at our conference, or, you know, just to get to be in that sphere. So, there you have, yeah,
Lex Patterson 40:33
yeah, that’s cool. Yeah. How about how about words of wisdom to share? As somebody who’s been in this industry and had this journey? And that words of wisdom for from Stephanie?
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 40:45
Well, I guess there are, there are two things that I would share that I’ve learned. One is, you can’t make people go faster than they’re ready to go. And I think that applies to so many things, it applies to your, your kids probably, you know, it applies to clients, like, you know, it may be your agenda to get them to sign by the end of the month, but it may not be theirs. And you know, so patients, I guess, the life is a longer game than maybe it seems sometimes. And so that’s, that’s one thing. And then the other thing, I’ve realized over time, as I’ve worked on core values, and mission and things like that is that you don’t create core values, you have them, and you just identify what they are based on, like how you already show up as a company or as a person. And I think they can probably evolve over a long period of time that to sort of a long game. But but when you’re thinking about, for instance, what you know what core values are, you can’t really get in a room and whiteboard it and say, you know, these, these should be our core values, you have to sort of recognize that these are our core values. And if we don’t like them, then there’s a journey. Yeah, but But you can’t just sort of they’re not aspirational. Yeah.
Lex Patterson 42:16
Yeah. Yeah. Well, I think I think people can influence core values for sure. You know, but you’re right about that. That’s an aha moment is it really has to come from inside. And it’s, it’s magnified? Obviously, throughout the organization. I think it starts with the leadership, obviously. Sure. Yeah. And which is, you know, but yeah, that’s very cool. Well, what? What’s your favorite pastime? And why? I mean, you talked about walking, I think, maybe I don’t know, is that are we under something without wrapping back to the start?
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 42:52
No, well, I do. I hate most other exercise. And I’ve never been able to manage to do it consistently. But I do love to walk and I and I can do I can double task. While I’m doing it. I’ve listened to Audible. And so I love that. Yeah. I’ve made my way through so many books. And it’s been amazing. But I would say if not for walking and listening, my favorite pastime? Well, I guess I’ve two really, one is organizing i The functional way to me have a have a well organized closet, or home is so satisfying. I love for because to me, I guess it’s about control. And I feel like I’m in control of my space, when it’s organized. And in the you know, and that has to do with my desk and my computer and the files and the way they’re organized and spreadsheets, and all of that but, but I do love a good closet cleaning. I it sort of puts me in the flow. It takes me out of you know, whatever I might be worried about. Yeah, yeah, I do. I do love that. The other thing I found that I really, really enjoy it sort of came about during the pandemic, but didn’t start there. I love to be creative. And I’m the CEO of a company and I have to spend my time doing a lot of things that are important to you know, moving the company forward. But what I really, really love to do is like, get on Canva and design a brochure, or, you know, make a website and it’s not that I’m necessarily so fantastic at it, but I really love doing it. And I just I just really enjoyed I enjoyed learning about how to get better about it. And I sort of discovered that so like, you know, I am the Shutterfly girl in my family. I make photo albums, you know, go Yeah, I love that. So
Lex Patterson 45:01
yeah, that’s cool. That’s really cool. Okay, well, I think we’re gonna wrap on that. Excellent, then, you know, yeah, it was great having you on on the show, Stephanie, I appreciate you joining me.
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 45:13
It was a pleasure. And I’m sorry, that took me so long to get prepared. But I really did want to think through a lot of the things that you asked and just, you know, preparing for this was also a satisfying experience to crystallize how I think about a lot of these questions. So thank you.
Lex Patterson 45:31
Yeah, well, it’s such such a cool topic. So yeah, good luck with it. And thank you. I know I’m dead serious about the mentorship too
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 45:41
really sweet, thank you. Thank you, back at you
Lex Patterson 45:46
have a great day. And we’ll talk again soon.
Stephanie Eidelman Meisel 45:49
All right, you too. Bye. Bye. Take care.
Lex Patterson 45:58
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