26 October 2013

Miss Southlake "Scholarship Organization"

I'm about to soap box like a champ right now... so don't say I didn't warn you. Anyone who has ever been in or been a part of a pageant, just go ahead and stop reading now. See you next blog post, you're not going to like what I'm about to say.

Today I had the misfortune opportunity to volunteer at the local "Miss Southlake Scholarship Organization." I tried to approach the situation with an open mind. I worked the Silent Auction.

Background: I have never been to a pageant or known anyone who was in pageants, with the exception of a girl I knew in high school who was Miss Texas the year after I graduated. I'd seen "Toddlers in Tiaras" maybe twice and thought it to be obnoxious. Past this I have no experience with pageants except for having known the startling fact that the very first Miss America pageant was held the year after women in this country were given the right to vote... (Coincidence? Doubtful.) I've never even watched Miss America on television, I don't think.

The Miss America pageant, and all pageants which are a part of that program (Miss Texas, etc.) are Scholarship Organizations. Great, love that. Who doesn't need a scholarship? It was announced at the beginning that every girl who is in the pageant receives a scholarship. I think that's great.

I sat in the back at the silent auction table listening to the girls get introduced. They were each asked a question about something political, worth 5% of the overall score. Then on to the swimsuit competition (15%), the talent portion (35%), and then finally evening wear (45%). All of the girls were beautiful and very talented.

That being said, nothing inside of my heart can find a reason why there should be a swimsuit competition inside of a scholarship organization. As the girls were introduced in their bikini's, they walked around as the emcee talked about each girl's platform and what she hopes to do if she wins Miss Southlake. How in the world am I supposed to take anything they say seriously, when they're not only willing to walk around in that little clothing, but EAGER to do it!! I just cannot make those two things match up in my mind. Those girls work hard, they have good heads on their shoulders, they want good things for their futures and the world around them, they want to make a difference. I get all of that. I just can't understand why it requires a swimsuit competition. It degrades the pageant as a whole down to no more than a PCB Spring Break swimsuit competition, just more expensive to enter, and guess what! The scholarships that "each contestant will receive" is sometimes as little as FIFTY bucks.

I just can't wrap my brain around it. The neo-feminist in me just wants to scream: ladies, you're worth so much more than that! The financial adviser (yes, I passed my test!!!) in me wants to sit the parents down and show them how they could use the money they spend on dresses and hair and make up and interview coaches etc. to go towards college so that these girls don't have to be paraded around like objects. I know I complain a lot about my student loans, but I'd take them any day over being looked at the way that some of the men in the room were looking at those poor sweet girls.

Alright, I'm still getting too worked up and I'm sure I've offended someone, so I'm going to get off my soap box. I tried to be open-minded, and now I am even more convicted. And my heart hurts for these girls.

Jesus is a real man. Thanks be to God for that.

Our Lady, Queen of Modesty and Peace, pray for us.

16 October 2013


Last weekend I went to Nashville and to Cumberland Gap (TN/KY/VA) to see some sweet friends tie the knot.

The wedding was so much fun and it was great to catch up with some favorites.

Nashville in the fall was the best! I just love it so much! I got to meet new friends, pray a lot, and play good music. All my favorite things!

I've been there many times, but for some reason I have Nashville built up to be so glamourous and romantic in my head. I'm not sure why. But even after spending time there last weekend, my perception hasn't changed. I'll probably be moving out of Texas within the next 2 years, and Nashville is definitely on the list of possibilities.

The Lord did a lot in my heart that weekend. Sometimes its hard to believe that He always has good plans for us, especially when we don't feel like we're getting what we want. It's especially difficult when I think I know what He wants for me, but it's not happening now and I don't always know what to do to get to that point. So I have to make decisions based on what I do know for sure, and that is that He wants me to be holy. So I'll do what I can to be holy and to be His.

I feel really encouraged to be bold in my prayer lately. God is glorified when we ask big things of Him. He is the God of all creation, of course He can answer my tiny prayer (even if it seems huge to me). If He chooses not to, I am humbled by the awareness that He knows, better than I do, what is best for me. If I had faith the size of a mustard seed, I would tell the mountain to hurl itself in the sea, right?! If the Lord provides for the birds of the air, how much more for each of us?!

Jesus is the Savior. My idea of how my life should be, my thoughts and hopes and dreams for the future? They don't mean anything without the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. If I have Him, and nothing else, I have everything.

In other news, lately I have been studying hard for the Series 66. I take it on October 25th so that I can start my new job on October 28th! Also, I've made a list of new hobbies that I want to take up. The list includes learning to quilt, play golf, and play piano. I had my first piano lesson this week, and it was so fun! I already know how to read music and which keys are where so I get to skip the first few months of very elementary piano. I'm learning finger placement and scales. It's not as intuitive as I'd thought, and I love the challenge.

I'm about to make some changes in my life, I think. Like learning to play the piano, none of the changes will be done over night, but everything worth doing is worth working for. Bring it on, life!

Mary, Queen of the Future, pray for me!

02 October 2013

100th Post

Today is a very important day. This is my 100th blog post!

Lately I've been thinking a lot about professionalism and what it means to be a business woman, and let me tell you: I don't think I'm cut out for it.

Background story:
My manager at work is one of the best people. I've known him for less than six months but his leadership style and passion for what he does make it an absolute joy to be on his team. I have encountered this feeling towards a boss just one other time in my (short) post-college life in the beautiful and talented Katie O'Donnell. (And let's be real, she's amazing, I love her.. I don't exactly "love" my manager, but you get the point.) (I digress.)

John (my manager) has been coaching me and getting me ready for my next career move. From the time I passed my licensing tests and became a stock broker, I've had my eyes fixed on going into our investment and guidance team. John was on this team a few years ago and his passion for the role has definitely rubbed off on me. As a member of this investment and guidance team, I would be responsible for giving investment guidance to our clients and helping them choose the investments that are going to make their portfolios work for them most effectively, while minimizing risk. It is a sales role, so in addition, I would be responsible for bringing over 4.76 million dollars of new money per month into the firm. (It sounds high but the numbers are pretty realistic.) John has allowed me to take as much leadership on our team as I can handle and he gives me great feedback every week in our 1:1 meetings. He's the kind of guy who could tell you that you were the ugliest human he'd ever seen, but he'd say it in a way that you not only agree with him, but also think it's a brilliant thought. (But of course he'd never say anything like that.) He's constantly asking why we do the things we do and how we can get better, which I like to think is something he and I have in common.

Fast forward to about 3 weeks ago:
John and another manager, Chuck, pulled me into a room and invited me to be a part of our "High Opportunity" team. Basically as a member of that (invitation only) team, I would be doing the same job I do now (read: no more $) but I would be encouraged to do some more digging into our client's accounts, backgrounds, etc. to see if they have outside assets, and if they'd be interested in consolidating to one place.

I struggled with the decision for a few reasons. First off, it's a great opportunity to be a part of an invitation only team. On the other hand, it'd mean more responsibility for the same amount of money. Second, it'd mean leaving John's team (and the teammates I've grown to love) and moving to a new manager on a new team (and you know how I feel about change). Third, I had heard through the grapevine that our investment/guidance team would be hiring soon, and it'd be weird to make two transitions in such a short time frame.

Ultimately, that week I decided to go to the H.O. team because I thought that if the investment team did hire soon, it'd look bad for me to have turned down an invitation to a team that is geared to prepare people for a sales role. I was in training last week and I started the new team Monday of this week.

Meanwhile,  the very next week the investment/guidance team DID post a job opening for 10-15 spots. Ahh! Stressful! John stopped by my desk just 3 days after I agreed to go to H.O. and told me to have my resume ready and polished, and sure enough, that Thursday they posted. Interviews were last week, decisions were made Monday.

Over 40 people applied, most of whom were much more tenured than I. Since I was in training last week, I was able to talk with a bunch of people right after their interviews. It was almost unanimous that when asked "how'd it go," people said, "good, I guess, I don't think I got it." This made me extremely nervous because all of these reps had been on H.O. teams for months and here I was, brand spankin new.

I say all of this to say:
I had my interview on Wednesday. I was pretty stressed just with training and leaving John's team and everything, and I literally cried the entire way to work on Wednesday. I think the idea of competing with all of these people for a few spots just really stressed me out. I can't really even describe it except to say that I just really felt like being in the middle of the hustle and bustle, the rat race if you will, was not where I am meant to be. I know this is ridiculous, but I was crying about the idea that if I got the position, it meant that someone else didn't. I wanted to take a break from climbing that corporate ladder and just enjoy the view for a minute. There's something so masculine about competing for a job and it just really overwhelmed me. When I'm at work, I do my best not because I want to be better than everyone else, but because that's what our clients deserve. My leadership on my team and my desire to be better are a direct result of that, not the other way around.

Regardless, I am thankful for my time on John's team. He inspired me to be better and to always put our clients best interests first, he encouraged me to make my job my own, and he gave me the resources I needed to be successful. Everyone who knows him says that they're really good friends with him, and most people either say that they and he (grammar? ah!) are alike (wishful thinking) or that they try to emulate him. I hope that, if I'm ever in a position where I'm managing people, I can be as inspiring as he is.

Also, it's hard to be a woman in this industry. I'm not a "go-getter," I'm not competitive. I want to succeed but I don't want to step on other people's toes to get there. I'm a team player, looking out for "number one" is just a waste of time. Take care of those around you, they'll take care of you, you know? Men can sometimes be so callous and cold.

But alas, the reason that today is a very important day is because today is the day that I got my first promotion. First big kid job: Success. Second big kid job: let's see what you got!