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Mindset Matters Diana Greshtchuk on Transformative Financial Literacy



Diana Greshtchuk (She/Her) is the CEO of Fan Your Flame LLC, a financial literacy coach, and your best financial friend. She is passionately committed to guiding entrepreneurs, businesses and individuals to achieve a wide variety of financial goals. Diana utilizes pioneering methods rooted in practical financial concepts, business acumen, and mindset work to educate and empower her clients to achieve goals of financial independence, transformation, and abundance.

 

Diana is a Certified Master Mind Magic Practitioner™ and is a Certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner. By day, she is a VP of Fund Accounting & Finance at a private equity/venture capital firm based in Los Angeles, and holds an active Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation in the State of California. She’s a seasoned investor, venture capitalist, and angel investor for aspiring female entrepreneurs with 20 years of experience in the financial services industry.

Diana gives back to the community by volunteering as a Board Member for the Point Foundation, a non-profit organization that empowers promising lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential – despite the obstacles often put before them – to make a significant impact on society.

 

Listen to the full episode here.

 

LINKS


ON THIS EPISODE

[00:02:16]        Diana Greshtchuk on what she’s most passionate about

[00:03:33]        Diana Greshtchuk on her childhood

[00:06:21]        Diana Greshtchuk on being an LGBTQIA+ woman in finance

[00:07:10]        Diana Greshtchuk on her path to becoming the VP at the equity firm

[00:09:30]        Diana Greshtchuk on when she got involved in investing herself

[00:12:49]        Diana Greshtchuk on how people can start investing

[00:12:49]        Diana Greshtchuk on it never being too late to start investing

[00:16:37]        Diana Greshtchuk on what she looks for when investing

[00:18:44]        Diana Greshtchuk on the film Show Her the Money

[00:19:47]        Diana Greshtchuk on the different perspectives in the film Show Her the Money

[00:22:13]        Diana Greshtchuk on how a venture capital firm works

[00:27:37]        Diana Greshtchuk on investing in a company because of its mission

[00:30:28]        Diana Greshtchuk on an investment not needing to be a unicorn

[00:31:34]        Diana Greshtchuk on founding Fan Your Flame

[00:34:27]        Diana Greshtchuk on her success stories and The Point Foundation

[00:36:32]        Diana Greshtchuk on getting financially naked and her Money Date Handbook

[00:38:43]        Diana Greshtchuk on the most under discussed component of a healthy money mindset

[00:40:34]        Diana Greshtchuk on how redefining success impacts your financial and emotional bottom line

[00:44:27]        Diana Greshtchuk on how people can cultivate a sense of self trust when they're making financial decisions

[00:48:03]        Diana Greshtchuk on tips for small business owners looking for angel investors

[00:51:00]        Diana Greshtchuk on how women can make connections with potential investors

[00:52:35]        Diana Greshtchuk on the one lesson she’s learned that sticks with her

[00:53:42]        Diana Greshtchuk on her female role models

[00:54:56]        Diana Greshtchuk on her fiancé Jen Rafferty

[00:56:22]        Diana Greshtchuk on how to work with her

[00:57:25]        Diana Greshtchuk on how to find out about Show Her the Money screenings

[00:58:07]        Diana Greshtchuk on her dream for women

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Passionistas: Hi, we're sisters Amy and Nancy Harrington, the founders of The Passionistas Project. We've created an inclusive sisterhood where passion driven women come to get support, find their purpose, and feel empowered to transform their lives and change the world. On every episode, we discuss the ways in which each woman is following her passions, talk about how she defines success, and explore her path to breaking down the barriers that women too often face.

 

Today, we're talking with Diana Greshtchuk, the CEO of Fan Your Flame LLC. A financial literacy coach and your best financial friend. She is passionately committed to guiding entrepreneurs, businesses, and individuals to achieve a wide variety of financial goals.

 

Diana utilizes pioneering methods rooted in practical financial concepts, business acumen, and the mindset work to educate and empower her clients to achieve goals of financial independence, transformation, and abundance. Dianna Diana is a Certified Mastermind Magic Practitioner and a Certified Emotional Intelligence Practitioner.

 

By day, she is a VP of Fund Accounting and Finance at a private equity venture capital firm in Los Angeles, and she holds an active Certified Public Accountant designation in the state of California. She's a seasoned investor, venture capitalist, and angel investor for aspiring female entrepreneurs. With 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, Diana gives back to the community by volunteering as a board member for the Point Foundation, a non profit organization that empowers promising lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential, despite the obstacles often put before them, to make a significant impact on society.

 

If you're joining us live here today, please feel free to drop any comments or questions for Diana in the chat, and we'll do our best to get them answered.

 

So please welcome Diana Greshtchuk.

 

Diana: Thank you for having me, ladies. Great to be here.

 

Passionistas: We're so excited to have you here. We love to start our, our conversation with the question, what are you most passionate about? You have so many things I can imagine.

 

Diana: I do. It gave me chills the second you asked it. And really, I'm most passionate about Holding the door open for other women and non binary folks to have a seat at the tables where decisions are made that affect them. That is so important to me.

 

Passionistas: Why?

 

Diana: Those always come back to opportunities we had when we were young and the things we didn't have, and I think that's where it stems from. You know, Often decisions were made about me, about my body as a woman, and I'm not at those tables weighing in with my thoughts and my feelings about it. And so I think it's really important for everyone to have a voice and use it and have access to be able to use it and engage in those conversations.

 

Part of what I love doing with Fan Your Flame is sparking these conversations, talking about things that don't get talked about. And one of those big things is money, and it's super taboo. People don't talk about money enough, and I love talking about money.

 

Passionistas: That's excellent. So tell us about your childhood, where some of these things came from. What was your childhood like, and how did it inspire

this work that you're doing?

 

Diana: I mean, I could bounce all over the place, but every time there was a club, I wanted to be the treasurer. Every time we played Monopoly, I wanted to be the banker. My favorite color is highlighter yellow, so I knew I was destined to be a CPA, I think, at some point in there.

 

But really when I think about it, you know, part of my credentials is emotional intelligence practitioner and mindset. And a lot of what forms when we're children, we're like walking video cameras from like zero to seven years old. And we're just absorbing everything and learning about the world and how we fit in it.

 

And we're forming beliefs and our neurons are firing all over the place. And we're making meaning about the world and our place in it. And so at that time, you know, I was an only child. I was growing up in San Jose, California during the dot com Silicon Valley boom. You know, my dad worked at Intel. He started there in 1979 and I think I was born in 1981.

 

And so it became this frontier, living in Silicon Valley and living in San Jose. And at the same time, a lot of my dad's work was project based because after Intel, he started implementing management information systems for large companies. Think like SAP and Oracle for large corporations. And that's very project based and you would be in a job and then you wouldn't.

 

And you would have money and then you wouldn't. And it would be feast or famine. And my mom also had a job in the corporate world. So it was a double income household, but we never seemed to have enough money. And they argued about money. And so kids see that and they make meaning. And the meaning I made was I never want to argue about money, like ever.

 

I want to have enough. And so I remember filling out my college application where they ask you to declare a major. And I was like, I guess finance. And then I loved finance. And as part of that, I took a business class in accounting, and I got an A plus in it without even trying. And that's how they rope you in, because the next accounting class is harder and everybody gets C's.

 

But I will tell you that that's sort of where it started. And where Diana came from is, you know, that that space. And because of that, I feel lucky to have been on the frontier in Silicon Valley, to be. Hi, I'm your host, Emma Zarek. And for being part of what was the grassroots of venture capital, of funding these companies, of tech, of everything exciting.

 

Passionistas: That's amazing. That's a great story. Um, so what were the, what are the challenges for you as a not a white straight man in this world of finance, which is what I picture when I think of the world of finance.

 

Diana: Yeah, you know, I think I encounter a lot of strong personalities, a lot of neuroses, a lot of guys who are And I think these spaces where we get people used to being able to speak and people want to hear them, and they will do so at the cost of speaking over me, or cutting me off.

 

So I have learned to operate like a man in these spaces, and I think I can bring a very masculine energy because of that but, uh, yeah, that's where I'm at. I like to be very clear, like, I, I am not that masculine energy. I think I like to bring the feminine energy to it and sometimes it throws people off guard but sometimes you have to bring it and slam it on the table to get their attention and if that's what I have to do to be heard, so be it.

 

Passionistas: Yeah, absolutely. So tell us a little bit about your path to becoming the VP at the equity firm where you are now.

 

Diana: Yeah, I mean, um, in college, you know, after declaring finance and accounting as a double major because I'm a big old dork. I loved that stuff and being there for five years instead of four because I just really wanted to learn.

 

I started in the ranks at a big four accounting firm, PwC. And I was with PwC for a total of 12 years. Um, I could have become a partner there and I chose not to. Um, it was a bit catch 22 because I think they needed people like me there but the environment was not conducive to keeping people like me there.

 

You know, there were times when it was a hundred hour work weeks. My weekends were gone January to April and that was hard. Um, but I really earned my stripes. I learned a lot. I got to practice in San Francisco, um, and that was super exciting, you know, during 2008 when Obama won and when. Marriage was on the docket, all of it.

 

It was wonderful. And then I actually moved to Sydney, Australia, and I worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Sydney, Australia. I got to found their LGBT group from the ground up and really helped them develop in the diversity space, as well as work on major financial services clients and banks down there too.

 

And you know, it's really funny connecting that to now because the private equity firm that I'm with works in sustainable agriculture, renewable energy. so much for joining me today, and I will see you in the next video.

 

Bank ended up selling the almond farm to my current employer that I didn't even know. So they are connected. And so I had that experience in history and that almond farm, we actually just sold at this firm probably last year and, and realized that property. So it all comes around full circle and I know I'm exactly where I'm meant to be.

 

Passionistas: Yep. Those are the signs from the universe, right? That's amazing. What are the odds? That's, that's incredible. Um, And when did you first get involved in investing yourself?

 

Diana: That was a college endeavor. That was, I interned with a financial advisor, um, who was based in Chico, California, a little small college town, um, who also actually grew a lot of almonds in that area too, believe it or not.

 

And, um, That financial advisor, uh, I actually took the Series 65 exam to follow in her footsteps and, you know, assist her firm and do that and instead, uh, what ended up happening was she got Lyme disease and I ended up having to pivot a little bit. So as part of the work that I was doing for her, you know, I was taking on projects and, and, you know, auditing her files, making sure they were complete.

 

But part of being a financial advisor is you are actually designating investments for your clients. And so I was helping her in the investment research space and the tracking. And so in following these stock ticker is that her clients were invested in. I began seeing the movements in the markets and just learning how the stock market works.

 

And so I actually ended up starting to save parts of my income, which was very little during college, but I was working, you know, 28 hours a week and doing full time 21 units at school. And I was a powerhouse. And so I just started putting money away and I opened up at that time. Um, a TD Ameritrade account, and I just started day trading and practicing and buying a few stocks here and there.

 

You know, now, nowadays, they have things like Robinhood where you could have gotten partial shares, you know, but we won't go into GameStop. Um, but with that, I actually got to practice the buy low, the sell high, and the very basics. And so that started in college, and then when my my aunt saw that I was making some money, um, She gave me 8, 000 and was like, help me allocate this and invest this.

 

And we ended up taking the proceeds from that and the gains and actually going on a fabulous vacation with it. So that was great.

 

Passionistas: Wow. That's really fun. That's a great story.

 

Diana: It's really accessible to everybody. Everybody could go open up a TD Ameritrade or an E Trade account. You know, I'm not paid by them. I want to be clear. I get no kickbacks for naming them, but go open up an account and just start. Buying what you're used to consuming. Like, if you drink a lot of Starbucks, go buy some Starbucks stock, you know? Whatever it is where you put your money, that's where you want to put your money.

 

Passionistas: And why is that?

 

Diana: Those are brands you know. So, like, let's use Starbucks as the example. You know they're going to get your money every day, every week. They're going to be around for a long time if they're going to keep getting your money. So, as an investor, you want that brand to be around. You're seeing how easy it is for them to convert your shareholder capital to cash that comes in the door and revenues and shareholder value.

 

And so then that becomes a really easy way for you to invest in what you know, for you to sleep at night, for you to understand what you're investing in. You get Starbucks, you get it, right? Like. Yeah. So, and I think a lot of people, myself included, like don't even can't even fathom the concept of that.

 

Passionistas: Like, so you go onto this app, how much money do you need to invest? Like, where do you start? How can you start small and build it?

 

Diana: Yeah, and that's exactly what you do. So maybe you start, you know, right now everyone's getting their taxes together. If you're lucky, maybe you'll get a tax refund. You know, people get that check in the mail sometimes and it's, it's already gone.

 

But designate a piece of your tax refund and, you know, make a commitment to yourself. Make a promise to yourself. I'm not going to spend it all as soon as I get it. I'm going to save it. And I'm not only going to save it, I'm going to invest it. I'm going to open up an account somewhere. If I don't already have one, I'm going to put a hundred dollars in, put 200 in whatever, and then when you start, you know, the other tool that's super helpful, if you get direct deposit for your paychecks, you can carve out, like have 10 percent automatically go to that brokerage account once it's open, then every paycheck.

 

You don't see it and it's going into your savings and then you can invest with that. So this is about slow growth and time value of money because when you're putting that away suddenly in five years you've got a nest egg that's huge that you didn't even pay attention to and you weren't really missing out of your, your paychecks.

 

And look, I get it. Everyone has tight budgets too. So this is all depending on a budget and if you are making enough money to cover your expenses. So I would even take this to a place of you need to be aware of your holistic financial situation. You need to have a pulse on, you know, What your assets are, what money you owe, what money you have coming in, what your expenses are, and think about a budget and how you can operate within that to carve out money to save and to invest.

 

Because I will tell you, the trick to building wealth and sustainable wealth, you're not going to make a ton of money in your lifetime just saving and putting it in a bank that pays 0. 01%. That's never going to happen. You need to invest to build the wealth. Full stop.

 

Passionistas: Yeah. And you know, a lot of the women in our community are kind of in the second, their second wave, right? So they're empty nesters who are finally getting to start their own business or they're women in their 60s who are looking to kind of have, you know, one new adventure. Um, is it ever too late to start investing?

 

Diana: It's never too late. I see those things about like, Oprah got fired from her journaling, journalist job, and she started building her empire later in life too.

 

Like, yes, I can't wait to be the 60-year-old empty nester who like gets the second chance and the second win because you're now coming at it with experience. You're not that 20 year old who's just like la la la and just, you know, you really know. What makes you happy by that point in your life? And if you don't, start there.

 

Find it. What makes you happy? So part of what I do with investing is I check in with my higher self. I, I talk to myself. It's great. Staff meetings in public, fantastic. But talking to yourself, you figure out what you're passionate about. Maybe it's education, maybe it's health and wellness, and then you go invest and put your money there, where your mouth is.

 

For me, I'm passionate about female entrepreneurs, so I invest in a lot of female entrepreneurs. You know, the, the film, and we'll talk about that, has moments in it where it talks about all the inventions that have been created by women. And we wouldn't have things like chocolate chip cookies or refrigerators without women.

 

And so we need you to have those ideas. We need you to be passionate about them and fight for them and bring them into this world to make it a better place. And that can happen at any age. You're never too old to do this.

 

Passionistas: What do you look for in a, um, in a woman owned business when you're thinking about investing in it?

 

Diana: Yeah, I think number one, what need is it meeting? What problem is it solving? What is it really doing? I love disruptors. I love people that take the status quo, especially if that status quo has been developed by a man and turn it on its head. And really, I'm passionate to support disruptors in that space.

 

So, for example, one person I invest in is a pranic healer. She does energy healing. And it really is a whole new way to look at medicine. But when you blend that with, say, doctors and actual Western medicine and Eastern medicine, You get a holistic treatment for a body that's total disruption because we are all walking balls of energy and healing that energy and, and looking at that energy and focusing on it and prioritizing it just isn't heard of in this neck upper male dominated society, for example.

 

So I look for disruptors. I look for things that are meeting needs and solving problems. You know, in the film as well, I invested in a couple of the folks who pitch in it, Hustle Up and Zapper Boy. Those are bringing, you know, Hustle Up is sort of, I think of it, and this is going to be not fair to it, but like a LinkedIn for LGBTQ and non binary folks in the entertainment industry.

 

Because historically, the click of all the casting directors and the people who staff the films is all a bunch of white guys sitting around a table. And no one ever had access to just being a part of that and being part of the arts. And so Investing in Hustle Up brings more voices and more perspective to what was previously a white male dominated space.

 

Dapper Boy is bringing gender neutral clothing to people. We don't have to have men's deodorants and women's deodorants and men's toothpaste and women's toothpaste. We don't need all that. We don't need the clothes either. Are you comfortable? Wear that then.

 

Passionistas: Yeah, great. Let's take a step back and tell everybody what the film is. I'm glad we're talking about it because we have lots of questions, so.

 

Diana: Yeah. So the film is called Show Her the Money. Um, it is, it is just fantastic. It highlights on the statistic that 2 percent of venture capital funding that's out there goes to women owned businesses, women led ventures. And that is just staggering. That means 98 percent goes to male dominated ventures. Absolutely. I think they're, I forget the statistic that's in the film, but there's so rare to have a Black female led venture that gets venture capital funding that it is just ridiculous. It's unacceptable, frankly.

 

Passionistas: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So in the film, you, um, go out and you, you follow, uh, a series of women who are, What I like about it is on both sides of the journey, right? So you have women who are looking for investment, but you also have investors. So talk about the, talk about the investor women first.

 

Diana: Yeah, so it actually, you, you brought up two of them. There's actually, I think, three perspectives there. So one of them is the founders. It's the people that create the businesses, like you guys started The Passionistas.

 

You know what it's like to be a founder. I founded Fan Your Flame Financial Literacy Coaching. I'm a founder. Anyone who has an idea and starts a business. And sometimes that business needs funding. So these are founders who are looking for funding, and the film follows a few of those around. I think Archer Roose, who created, you know, my favorite, Champagne in a Can.

 

It's got a woman who saw her, her grandmother's experience after breast cancer needing to get fitted for prosthetics and it being so uncomfortable and, and, You know, the people in the stores being unable to help them and assist them with, with undergarments. And so it follows these founders around that are passionate about these ideas and their need for funding to get their ideas out into the world.

 

And then it also follows the funders, the investors like me. So I'm also an investor. Um, and I love having that perspective too, but the people that are out there, the venture capital funds, you know, it follows Pocket Sun and Dawn Lafreeda, Pocket started SoGal Ventures, and she was so young, she just came out of college, and she's a Chinese woman, and she's a lesbian.

 

And so, when you think about, you know, the statistics that are out there, she's not ever going to succeed, is what they would have said. Dawn Lafreeda, you know, Denny's, she is a franchisee of Denny's, and she has the most Denny's, she's based in Texas, and she's like all these men dominated conferences for food service, and then there's Dawn Lafreeda.

 

And so, these investors are also powerful. And the film also then follows the institutional points. So like the funds, the institutional funds that allow people to come in and be investors, to invest in the founders. And so that perspective is there too, which I, in my day job, work at a fund too. So I have all three perspectives and I love that.

 

That this film makes it approachable for people who aren't well versed in the language of finance, who don't speak money and aren't confident about it. Because watching people come out of this film is something else. They walk out inspired. They're like, what's the next step? How do I invest? What do I need to do?

 

Passionistas: Yeah. Describe for people who don't know what a venture capital firm is and and how. Investors work with them.

 

Diana: Yeah. So in, in the investing space, there are lots of different levels of investment. Okay. So I'm going to, and this isn't intended to be condescending. I want it to be educational. I'm going to start at the very basics.

 

So when you look at investments, you know, a basic finance class in college taught me that. There's debt financing and there's equity financing. So you either, you know, if you need an asset, like if you need to go get a new laptop for your business, you need an asset, you would finance that asset either by money you have, AKA equity, or by going into debt.

 

Borrowing using the credit card, right? So there's debt and equity investment. When you invest with debt, that's a lot less risky because it's an agreement that you will definitely pay someone back. And not only will you get your money back, you'll get a stated interest rate too. And so maybe it's periodic interest payments.

 

Maybe it's a lump sum at the end, but it's usually a typically small interest rate, right? Compared to what's out there. When you start getting into equity investing, and this is like, For example, the stock market. The stock market in the long term might return 12 to 14 percent. So folks are always like, invest in the stock market, index funds, ETFs, you know, you'll get 12 to 14 percent in the long run.

 

So when you start thinking about the risk return trade off, which is what investing is all about, you are taking a risk, putting your money somewhere, and you may or may not get it back. With debt, you are guaranteed to get it back if they don't default on the debt. But your interest rate might be, for example, 6%.

 

But if you go equity, you might get 12 to 14%, but you also might get nothing back. So that's not guaranteed. You might put all your money in equity and it might tank. Ask me about my investment in Peloton stock. I'll happily take that journey with you.

 

But I digress. And so then when you're in the equity investing space, then suddenly you look at different tiers of equity.

 

So there's like publicly traded equities. There's I mentioned index funds, those those return over the long term, right? But when you get to venture capital funding, and when you think about businesses in the venture stage, there's a whole lot more risk there. You're not investing in a Starbucks that's already established and bringing cash in the door.

 

You're investing in a company that may not even be bringing money into the door. It may not have the ability to generate cash flows for years. So it can feel like a vacuum, like a sunk cost, and it's just taking more and more money and capital. And so for these founders that create businesses that need money They are going to do everything they can to exhaust all their personal financial capital, put their own money into the business before they go out and look for investors.

 

But in the venture capital space, because it's so risky, because you may not see returns for years, instead of it, you know, being a 12 to 14 percent over the long term, venture capital investors are going to look for a lot higher returns. So they want to see sometimes 25 to 50 percent returns. So the venture capital space, it's not for the faint of heart.

 

It's not for those who can't sleep at night when their money is tied up doing something. It is risky. There are real risks. And these companies are so early stage, statistically, they may not be unicorns and they're probably going to fail, right? Like if we're honest about it, and the film does a great job of breaking this down and, and using a horse race methodology and, and a unicorn example, but not every business is a unicorn.

 

So if you put your money into that, You could lose everything in the venture capital space and then you're not getting 25 50 percent returns. You're out all the money you put in.

 

Passionistas: And so how do you try and mitigate that? Do you invest in a number, uh, do you have a portfolio of investments that offset each other?

 

Diana: Yeah, and I think that's where this whole concept of even investing in a venture capital fund in the first place is, is that fund then goes out and picks the investments, and that fund might have, let's say, ten investments. All you need is one of them to be a unicorn, and nine of them might be losers. And so there is a portfolio, and that lessens something that's called concentration risk.

 

When you have all your eggs in one basket, that's concentration risk. So for me personally, yes, I am invested in funds, but I also know that I'm of an age right now where, you know, I'm not ready to retire. I don't need my money to retire for maybe another 20 years. But in theory, you know, I do want to retire early.

 

So maybe it's not that long. But, you know, I've got time to lose my money and make it back again, so I can take risks. I can go out and put my eggs in a basket like Dapper Boy or Hustle Up and be invested in one company and take that concentration risk on and I can sleep at night, but that's not for everybody.

 

Passionistas: Yeah. And I love how earlier you said something, you know, we asked you what, what you look for in investments and you didn't talk about you didn't talk about the value of the company and the worth of the things we hear on Shark Tank. And, you know, you talked about. The mission of the company and, and what they stand for. And so I think that's a really powerful message to women who are looking for investors is to understand that there are people out there that will invest in your mission and your idea and, and in you. Talk, so talk a little bit more about that.

 

Diana: Yes. Thank you for bringing me back to that. I also do something that's super unheard of. I invest in my friends. I know them. It doesn't mess up my friendships either. I know they want to do everything to pay me back. If they go out there with my money and they lose it, there is no one who wants to make it back for me more than them. So, I invest in my friends. I also invest in myself. On the other hand, we have a lot of people out there taking the time to invest in themselves.

 

And this is key because you too, you are an asset worthy of investment. So develop yourself. You know, somewhere in our lives, after high school, you know, we go to college, for example. That's a typical track. You're investing in yourself when you go to college, right. Whether you take out student debt or your parents help you pay for it, you are making a bet on yourself that I'm going to get this degree and then I'm going to use that degree to generate future cash flows.

 

But somewhere along the line, usually after college, that falls off. We get into the rat race hamster wheel and we forget. We still get to develop ourselves. We're worthy of investment. So like you can go get another credential like CPA, like, uh, an emotional intelligence practitioner. You can continue to develop yourself and generate more cash flows from that.

 

And investing yourself doesn't even have to generate future cash flows. It's a mindset game too. So I invest in women. Who are actually investing in themselves too because they see themselves as worthy of investment and that's, that's a mindset play right there because there is no one, like, if I want someone to invest in my business, I have to have invested in me too.

 

I'm the pro at investing in me, so I have to convince others to invest in me too, and I've been doing it so long, I know it's a sure bet. It's going to be a sure bet for you too. And nothing sells an investor like that. So I also look for women who realize they are an asset. It's not just about how expensive is this? I can't afford that. It's how do I pay for this to invest in myself to get there? Because I know I can do this.

 

Passionistas: Oh, I love that.

 

Diana: Do you need a cigarette? No, I'm just kidding.

 

Passionistas: Seriously. Um, no, but I think no one says that. You know, I mean, it's, it's exciting to hear it. And I think. You know, in the film you talk about the unicorn and to me the unicorn is that, that, um, business that just explodes and is the next big thing. Women who don't necessarily have that unicorn idea but have a great business and a great, um, something to contribute, It may not become the next billion dollar company, but it's still worthy of investment on some level.

 

Diana: It doesn't have to be a unicorn. There, it never has to look the way your brain wants you to make it look.

 

And that's how you start encountering resistance and then you don't take your idea out to the market. Then it doesn't get heard and then you don't change the world and then the world is not a better place because you kept that idea in and that's not okay. It doesn't have to look like that. You don't have to be a unicorn.

 

You don't have to be a billion dollar company. There are plenty of ways to start a business. And find an exit strategy. Sell it to a bigger business that gobbles it up. You know, let them take your idea further if you're older in life and you're just tired and you just want to hang out with your family and enjoy the good things.

 

Take it as far as you can carry it and then find a partner that you trust to sell it to who can then take it further. That's the best part is that you can do whatever part of this you choose and it doesn't always have to look the same way.

 

Passionistas: I love that. I love it. So you had mentioned Fan Your Flame. Tell us why you founded it, how you founded it, what your mission is.

 

Diana: Yeah. So, you know, COVID was a trip for everybody and, uh, for me it was no different. You know, I found myself in early 2020 working from home at that point and unexpectedly my mother got sick and went to the hospital not with COVID and she ended up passing away in May of 2020.

 

That's great. Very unexpectedly. And my dad had passed away seven years prior and I was an only child and so I had this real come to Jesus or whoever you believe in moment of, what am I doing with my life? I don't have any kids. I have three cats though. And um, but they're not, they're not gonna do anything as far as the legacy plays goes.

 

You know, they're, they're certainly my employees of the month but they don't contribute very much. Except to joy and happiness but I digress. But I will tell you that having those moments where I really got Honest with myself. I got financially naked with myself and looked at myself in the mirror and was like, what are you doing?

 

What is your legacy play? What are you leaving behind on this earth? And my answer at the time was, I don't know. And so then shortly after that is when I started investing in myself and working with a mindset coach, realizing that I'm worthy of investment. And I realized that I had 20 years of financial stability.

 

So much for joining me today and I'll see you in the next video. Whatever your dream is, go get it. And that's what I wanted my legacy to be. So I wanted to work with women, people of color, minorities, those in, in difficult circumstances, and really democratize access to opportunities for them. And we don't get taught financial education in school, elementary schools, middle school, high school.

 

Only if you major in it in college do you learn about this. And that's where I got it. And that's, that's also not right with me. So there's a whole education piece to my passion of Fan Your Flame. And it really, you know, it could have been about financial coaching. It's not just that. It's financial literacy.

 

It's speaking that language and feeling comfortable to speak that language yourself so that you can set yourself up for success, get wealth and achieve whatever dream you have. Whether it's having three ginger cats or going on vacations or starting a business in your 60s, you know, whatever it is. And that, that was my legacy place. So when I framed it that way for myself, I couldn't not open this business.

 

Passionistas: That's incredible. So what are your some of your success stories so far?

 

Diana: I think probably my favorite one is I created some content, uh, called Purse First, and it's actually named for Bob the Drag Queen from RuPaul's Drag Race, where every time Bob the Drag Queen, Queen walks into a room.

 

She holds her purse out in front of her and lets the purse speak for her first. But I wanted that to be the confidence of any woman walking into a room and having her own finances in her mind and knowing where she sits and where she's going and leading with that confidence through life. And I took purse first and I actually taught it to some of the scholars who get scholarships through the Point Foundation.

 

So the Point Foundation helps those who have been marginalized, aka Kids that have been kicked out of their homes and otherwise wouldn't get to go to college, they get bull ride scholarships, they get community college scholarships, BIPOC scholarships. And I taught these kids a three-part course around financial literacy, and it was such good conversations.

 

These kids are so lucky in that they're getting these scholarships and they're not going into debt for their schooling. And they are the ones who are going to cure COVID, who are going to take all the plastic out of the oceans. Like this next generation, and I get chills and I know my voice is going to start cracking.

 

They are the future. That is the thing that really just drives me and makes this so worth it. And so that to me is my biggest gain is sharing that education with the people who need it.

 

Passionistas: You are just fabulous. I know, you got me.

 

This is the first time an interviewee has made me cry. That is so beautiful.

 

Yeah. Um, you mentioned financially naked a little while ago.

 

Diana: Oh yeah, that's one of my favorite things to do.

 

Passionistas: Talk about that term and what you mean by that and how it helps you in your success. Yeah, so being financially naked is about getting really financially honest with yourself. So I have a freebie that folks can get from one of my websites, and it's a Money Date Handbook.

 

What I love to do is a lot of people, because they're afraid to have conversations about money, involving money, and I think that's really important. Part of it is you need to, you need to be able to talk about money and be honest with yourself. Some people avoid going online and checking their bank balances because they don't want to see what they have in the bank.

 

They avoid looking at their credit card and they're just like, I'll figure it out. I'll keep making my payments. I'll buy this now. I'm not even going to think about how I'm going to pay for it later. And that's really not the way to operate. So getting financially naked means setting yourself up to have a money date.

 

Put it in your calendar. Get a glass of champagne, whatever helps the medicine go down, right? And sit there, and I've got this handbook for people who don't like Excel or maybe Excel doesn't speak to them, and it lets you put it into a bunch of worksheets so you can take an inventory of where you are right now and basically create personal financial statements that reflect where you are right now.

You know, what assets do you have? What cash do you have in the bank? You know, do you have a car? Do you have a payment associated with that? What's your mortgage? Bringing all of that into one place, looking at your sources of income, looking at where you're spending your money, and then you generate a balance sheet and an income statement and you know where you are.

 

When you get financially naked with yourself, you can then look at that and say, wow, okay, Sometimes that avoidance puts up a wall and you don't realize what you don't realize. You might see, actually, I am pretty comfortable. I've got, you know, two to six months saving in the bank, but I have these goals.

 

You know, I really want to buy a home or I want to retire early or I want to vacation in Europe every year. So maybe then you've already figured out point A of where you are. You want to figure out point B and what you need to get there. And then that becomes your power because then suddenly you're going places.

Getting financially naked with yourself shows you what you have and where you need to be, where you want to be so that you can start to work backwards and get there. And that's not going to happen if you lie to yourself.

 

Passionistas: Right. So what's the most under discussed component of a healthy money mindset?

 

Diana: Great question. These are good questions. The most under discussed is, I think, part of what I do is I'm a trauma informed financial literacy coach. So what does that mean? I come from a place where I realize and acknowledge that Every single person out there, you and you and me, we've all endured trauma.

 

We don't know whether it's big T trauma like war or murder or little t trauma, like you just didn't have all your needs met as a child. And so it can so much for joining us today, and we hope that you are enjoying the rest of your day, and we'll see you next time. And not make money decisions from that trauma.

 

For example, having guilt or shame or regret around money, how you're spending your money, retail therapy and going out and buying something to make yourself feel better and get those dopamine serotonin hits, you know, being angry or aggressive or full of rage when you have to pay your bills, there's real emotions that come with money.

 

So for me, part of that is, You don't completely divorce yourself of emotions when you deal with money, but you need to acknowledge them, move through them, feel what you feel, heal what you can of the trauma to make informed decisions and be able to use money as the tool that it is.

 

Passionistas: That's awesome. We talk a lot on The Passionistas Project about redefining success. So how does redefining success impact your financial and emotional bottom line?

 

Diana: You know, after being at a big four accounting firm and hearing everybody be like, I'm the head of this company, and that's what success looks like to me. And, and I'm, I'm this important and I do all these things. I realized that's all based on some arbitrary measure of success that is somebody else's.

 

For me, when I really get down to it, if I'm successful, then I am spending as many hours of each day in my lived experience feeling the way I want to feel. That doesn't always sit well with what everybody else calls success because then I don't need to be the head of this company. I don't need to have made billions of dollars to be successful by other people's measure.

 

It's just, did I want to feel, and you know, I choose feelings for the day. They're like, Labels are stickers and I put them on. If I need to be brave today, I'm going to slap on brave. If I want to choose to be brave today, then I'm going to make choices that make me feel brave. And if I spend 24 hours of the day, if I'm not sleeping, feeling brave, then that was successful to me.

 

And for me right now, the words that I've chosen are passionate. Grateful and limitless. And I love this combination because when I come from a place of gratitude, when I recognize all that's already there and available to me, the gratitude for the Point Scholars, the gratitude for the women that are opening these businesses and bringing new ideas to the world.

 

When I sit in my gratitude, I realize how much there really is already. That fuels my passion. That passion takes me to make my contribution and then like an infinity symbol, that gratitude fueling the passion makes me limitless because it doesn't stop. I refill my cup and I pour it.

 

Passionistas: Can you just come over here and I'm not trying to move in Jen or anything. I'm just saying, you know. Hang out with us.

 

Diana: I think feeling, feeling the way you want to feel because life is so short. Yeah. Nobody wants to feel bad unless you just have some unhealed trauma or needs that are being met by choosing to feel bad. But most people don't want to feel that way.

 

Passionistas: Yeah. And there's just so much stress. Yeah. Around money. I mean, we talk to women every day and we're, our community, the women that are listening are mostly women from marginalized communities. They're solopreneurs, they're activists, they're artists. And we'll talk a little bit more about that in a little bit. But so much for joining us today. And we'll see you next time. Bye, guys. Pretty much a daily conversation that we have with people.

 

Diana: Thousand percent, yeah. And sometimes there's not room in the budget to carve out a little bit here or there. So then it really becomes a how do I finance this magic carpet ride question.

 

Passionistas: Right. And especially when you're trying to do something good for other people, you know, you don't wanna, you don't want to let everybody else down if you can't make it happen, right?

 

Diana: So these are the you don't want to let yourself down, right? I think letting other people down, that's a lot of people pleasing too. And I think at the end of the day, you just need to be you. And that's it. That's wonderful and bring that to the table and contribute that if that's what you have to give. Keep making your art, not because it makes you money, but because it brings you joy.

 

Passionistas: So how do people cultivate a sense of self trust when they're making financial decisions?

 

Diana: So, for me, and this is where I read a book that I absolutely loved by a world series of poker player, um, her last name escapes me, Annie, but she was actually on The Apprentice with He Who Shall Not Be Named, and she wrote this book, uh, Thinking in Bets, Making Smarter Decisions When You Don't Have All the Information, so I highly recommend that book.

 

And part of it is there are tools that you can have to build and cultivate a stronger sense of self trust in your decisions. One of those I'll give you as an example is I like to time travel. I have future Diana and I have current Diana. So temporal discounting is what she calls it in the book. But if I go to future Diana, who is sitting in that decision that I've already made, does that future Diana, does she feel any regrets?

 

If so, what you wanna try to do is bring any emotions that you're gonna feel after you make that decision to, before you make that decision and feel those emotions. If you make this decision to make an investment, let's say. So let's say I'm considering investing in a company and I fast forward to future Diana and future Diana has lost.

 

Sitting in that and thinking how future Diana feels is going to help me make a better decision right now because if she is so sensitive to that money, then maybe she shouldn't be making that investment. And that's going to allow me to feel those emotions now that I would have felt and avoid feeling those emotions.

 

But if I look at future Diana and she's riding high even though she lost all her money, Because she's got this and this and this and this and whatever, you know, it's all about how I want to feel because that's my measure of success. And so if future Diana isn't feeling good, then I'm not going to make that decision. I'm going to look at framing that differently. Does that make sense?

 

Passionistas: Absolutely. I love that. I have that philosophy a lot about facing fears. You know, it's like, what are you afraid of? What are you afraid? What's the worst possible outcome that can happen from this situation? And envision that. And can you live with that?

And if you can, you can. If you can live with that, then get through your fear. Just, just do it. You know, so it's the same kind of thing.

 

Diana: And in mindset circles, you know, whenever you don't trust somebody else, the reality is you don't trust yourself. You are seeing a version of yourself in that other person.

 

Like I had a financial advisor guy from my aunt who just passed away. You know, she had a financial advisor and I just got the heebie jeebies from him right from the outset. And I knew it wasn't a good fit. And I kept him on. I ended up having to fire him later. And I wish I had done it sooner, but if I had listened to my intuition and to that feeling, then I would have made the better decision sooner. I didn't trust him, and I didn't trust myself when I didn't. for picking him, even in the short term. So all distrust is some sort of not trusting yourself. So when you start trusting yourself more, you actually trust other people a lot more too. It's wild.

 

Passionistas: Yeah, so a lot of our Passionistas, as we said, are small business owners or growing their business. What tips do you have for them if they're looking for angel investors?

 

Diana: Ah, so this is a big one and this is also about mindset. Um, I made a social media post not too long ago about dropping the damsel energy. So for me, if you are an entrepreneur and you're looking for somebody to invest in you, you have probably put all your money into this and you're probably all out of money and so that's why you need somebody else to put money in this.

 

There becomes this air of desperation and investors can feel it. They can see it coming. And so when you start bringing that damsel energy of, I need rescuing, where is my white knight? Where is the person who's going to save me? That is heavy. And we feel that as investors. And so instead, what you could do is let's go back to what I said earlier.

 

You've sunk all your money into this investment and you wish you had more because you would put more of your own money into this. You don't need saving. You don't need this money. You want it. That's different. Walking in the room with that vibe, pitching to investors. Totally different than needing it and being graspy and clutchy.

 

You can feel that desperation. It smells like a cologne a mile away. So shifting from needing it to wanting it and being the pro at already investing in yourself and really pitching why they should invest in you and why this product, that's going to be what connects you. And the other thing is, If you walk into a room and an investor, let's make an example, only invests in the tech sector, and you've got a dog walking business, that's probably not going to be a good match.

 

So, forming long term relationships, finding out if you're both aligned, because making, getting investors, you're not both. Pulling the wool over somebody's eyes. You know, you're building a long-term relationship and ultimately it's so that you can get them their money back. And so you're in this together.

 

It's not a one-night stand, it's, it's a long-term relationship. So in any long-term relationship, for it to be successful, you guys have to be on the same page. You have to be aligned in what you're trying to do. So if you have a dog walking business, maybe you want someone who is passionate about animals in the impact investing space for like SPCAs or volunteers there and that's going to be a better fit for you. So don't waste your time with the ones who aren't aligned. Find the people in the room that share the view that you have and those are going to be your investors and then your, your money.

 

Passionistas: And so for the women who don't have connections, who don't know people, who are in a world where everybody else is kind of in the same boat and not necessarily able to say, oh, well, I have money, I can invest in your company, how do people make those connections?

 

Diana: Funny you should ask. I heard about this little thing called The Passionistas. They're a network of females who invest, who are entrepreneurs. I'm fully joking right now, but I'm also serious.

 

Passionistas: You know, it is fine. It will happen. That will, that will be That will be a part of this.

 

Diana: Yeah, so like I joined something called The Bra Network. It's the Business Resource Alliance and that is also for female entrepreneurs in this space to network, to find community because we don't grow in isolation. We as a human species, we grow as community by finding other people who support us. You know, they, they say out there, you're the sum of the top five people that you interact with.

 

So if you don't like how you're being or who's around you, Change that up and grow your network and put the people around you that make you feel good about yourself, that support you in your wild idea that no one in your family believes in. Like, go do that.

 

Passionistas: Absolutely. So what's the question that we should be asking you that we're not asking you?

 

Diana: Ooh, that's a good one. I don't know. I'm usually prepared for every question, but that one caught me off guard. I think the question is, what's next? And my answer is, who knows, but let's go.

 

Passionistas: Love it. Um, is there one lesson that you've learned on your journey so far that really sticks with you?

 

Diana: Yeah. You know what I'll tell you it is, when I was sitting there in 2020 after my mom passed away and I was like, what is my legacy? What am I doing here? And I really started focusing on myself, knowing that my mother would want me to be happy, knowing that I was worthy of being happy, of of being invested in, of changing and learning new things.

 

The second I started focusing on myself is actually when I met the love of my life. I wasn't even looking for it and it just bopped me on the head and dragged me back to the cave. You know what I'm saying? Like it just When you're least expecting it and when you're so focused on yourself and your own happiness, you never know what's going to find you and what's out there and who you've been in the past is no indicator of who you could be in the future.

 

Passionistas: That's so great.

 

Passionistas: So you mentioned your mother, who were some other important female figures in your life growing up?

 

Diana: Wow. Um, I had a college professor, the one that was the financial advisor. That I, I worked for and she, you know, she was super influential. She was a professor in finance too and so it opened the door and was an expander role for me to show me that women could be in finance.

 

They could teach classes about finance. They could teach others, they could be in the community and be out and openly gay and it was okay. You know, I think that's something that I, I really honor in people and I call it an expander. Kamala Harris is an expander because now suddenly there's a generation of little girls who are, you know, of color or dark skinned and they see themselves in the vice president.

 

They show what's possible and so Kamala Harris is an expander for me. My fiancée is an expander for me. Oh, by the way, fast forward, love of my life is now my fiancée. You know, she's an expander for me and shows me what's possible every day. I think you can always surprise yourself and there's a lot of role models out there that don't look like the typical role models you'd expect, but they can inspire and influence you.

 

Passionistas: Tell everybody a little bit about Jen and what she does.

 

Diana: Ah, so Jen Rafferty is the founder of Empowered Educator. Empowered Educator is a wonderful organization that brings professional development for teachers in classrooms and the adults in classrooms. Social emotional learning, you know, it's Teaching teachers how to make time for themselves to go to the bathroom in the day or eat a meal or, you know, they get activated in the classroom too.

 

So it teaches them tools to regulate their nervous systems because a dysregulated teacher When it comes to the next generation, those teachers are just under the microscope for the kids and every parent has an opinion. Every principal is trying to adhere to what's being done by the district or whatever.

 

However, it's structured, but What She Brings is a revolution and a movement to help teachers. And when you think about what teachers have been through, you know, there's COVID where they had to suddenly shift and teach on Zoom. There are active shooter drills at schools. It's ridiculous. Teachers are leaving the profession in droves for a reason.

 

And so What She Brings is so needed to that population.

 

Passionistas: Absolutely. So how can people who are listening get in touch with you?

 

Diana: Ah, well, uh, please check out my website, fan-your-flame.Com. Uh, I did not invest in the unhyphenated website because I have much bigger and better investments to make than a domain name. So, uh, you can check me out there. I have coaching packages.

 

We can work together ad hoc, financial emergency room sessions, term engagements for three, six or nine months. I've got a VIP day. You can also get my freebie, The Money Date Handbook, where you get really honest with yourself. That's available on www.disruptinginertia.com because what do we like to do? Inertia will keep you the same. You have to disrupt it and make a new choice. And it starts with you. Getting your head around your finances and being able to actually make better decisions to get you where you want to go. So start there.

 

Passionistas: That's great. And people can find out about screenings of the film near them at ShowHerTheMoney.com, right?

 

Diana: It's ShowHerTheMoneyMovie.com. Okay. So Screenings, and I know you lovely ladies are also sharing all of the screenings that are there in your calendar and network, so also please check out The Passionistas calendar and they'll keep it updated as well. We're trying to get on a 50 city tour in 2024 and there's some lovely locations.

 

Passionistas: Well, you're doing it and you're going international, you're going to Dublin

 

Diana: and Singapore. Yep, and Canada, all kinds of places. Australia.

 

Passionistas: Amazing. Um, so one last question. Yes. What is your dream for women?

[00:58:07] Diana: My dream for women is to truly have a space of equity and equality. Rather than just pretending or, you know, being 51 percent of the population, but having all the men make decisions for us. I don't hate men. Like, that is not a thing. Men are wonderful and they support the women in their lives and men have emotions and feelings and are deserving of so much.

 

Diana: So I don't want to make them the bad guy, but I feel like I want to promote women so they can truly be the 50 percent that they are, because there's a lot that's not getting out there because that's being stifled.

 

Passionistas: Thanks for listening to The Passionistas Project. Since we're not only business partners, but best friends and real life sisters, we know how unique and truly special our situation is.

 

We know so many solopreneurs, activists, women seeking their purpose and more, who are out there doing it all on their own. They often tell us that they wish they had what we have. So we're creating a space for them and you to join our sisterhood, where trust, acceptance and support are the cornerstones of our community.

 

By joining, you become part of our family. We'll give you all of our CIS tips on building meaningful relationships through the power of sisterhood and all the tools you need to thrive in three key areas. Business growth, personal development, and social impact. You'll learn from our panel of Power Passionistas who are experts on topics like transformational leadership, following your intuition, the power of voting, and so much more.

 

You can join us virtually and in person at storyteller events and meetups to connect with other members of the community. And you'll be able to participate in our online forums with other like-minded women and gender nonconforming, nonbinary people who share your values and goals. Be sure to visit ThePassionistasProject.com to sign up for your free membership to join our worldwide sisterhood of passion driven women who come to get support, find their purpose and feel empowered to transform their lives and change the world. We'll be back next week with another Passionista who's defining success on her own terms and breaking down the barriers for herself and women everywhere.

 

Until then, stay passionate.

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