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International Women’s Day: Advice from the Mydoh Leadership Team

While everyday can be a chance to celebrate young women, March 8 is recognized as International Women’s Day It is a global celebration of girl’s and women’s social, economic, political and cultural achievements, that goes back more than 100 years (the very first celebration was in 1911!) The theme for IWD 2022 is #BreakTheBias, whether those biases are in our schools, our workplaces, or our communities. Bias can make it more difficult for girls to move ahead. We asked some of the incredible women on our Mydoh Leadership Team to share their advice on money, career, and life in honour of IWD 2022. 

Here’s what they had to say: 

Angelique de Montbrun, Head of Marketing 

If you could go back to your 13-year-old self, what advice would you give her? 

It was a weird and hard time to navigate so I have a lot to tell her, but I think the biggest thing would be, trust yourself, and keep fighting for what you believe in, and who you believe in.

Also maybe try not to be so hard on your mum. She is doing her best too.

What’s one thing you weren’t taught about money but wish you’d known?

How to invest money at an early age. I would have loved a crash course when I was a teenager so that I could have been prepared to start as soon as I was able to. A lot of times you are taught to spend and save, but no one really teaches you that you should do something with your savings, and what to do with it.

What’s the best money advice you’ve received? 

Always save enough for first and last month’s rent. When I was younger it was good framing for how much I should have in savings, and ensured I felt prepared in case I needed it (whether that was for rent or something else).

What would you say to young women who are thinking about starting their career? 

Your path doesn’t need to be linear, don’t be nervous to pursue your interests. Take your time to discover what you want to do every day and who you want to surround yourself with every day.

This year’s IWD theme is #BreakTheBias. What does that mean to you?

I appreciate the use of “break”—for me it represents the critical action that both institutions and individuals need to take to break systemic barriers for underrepresented people. Systems and institutions are some of the biggest contributors to upholding oppression and need to actively break and rebuild meaningful, informed and inclusive systems. For me, #breakthebias is a call to take action.

Sammer Haq, Head of Data and Analytics 

If you could go back to your 13-year-old self, what advice would you give her?

Have faith in your abilities! You are capable of so much more than you think. Trust your gut instinct and listen to your inner voice; your inborn truth. You need to trust yourself first, before others can trust you.

What’s one thing you weren’t taught about money but wish you’d known?

Understand compounding returns. As long as you keep investing, your returns can compound. Over time, compounding interest helps your money grow faster.

What’s the best money advice you’ve received?

Never invest in something you don’t understand. Whether it’s a startup venture or a sophisticated financial instrument, learn the risks first.

What would you say to young women who are thinking about starting their career?

Oftentimes you’re going to be in a position where you question yourself before sharing an idea, or speaking up or taking a chance. Just take the moment—don’t let thoughts like “I don’t feel like I’m ready” get in the way. There’s never going to be a precisely right moment to speak, share an idea, or take a chance. 

See if you have the main things but don’t let the opportunity pass you by. Don’t let perfect get in the way of really, really good. The reality is that in chaos, there is also opportunity. Major career accelerations can happen when someone steps into a mess and makes a difference. If you are sure there is an opportunity or a cause you’re passionate about and strongly believe you can make a difference, then you need to believe wholeheartedly in it— because when you do, everyone else will follow.

This year’s IWD theme is #BreakTheBias. What does that mean to you?

As someone who identifies as a visibly Muslim woman and person of colour, I’d like to see a work environment where everyone respects and appreciates differences, so that women like me don’t feel that they must adopt certain behaviours to succeed.

Lisa Hong, Head of Design

If you could go back to your 13-year-old self, what advice would you give her?

I would tell her that her story and her culture are just as valid and important as the ones she sees every day in the media and in school.  

What’s one thing you weren’t taught about money but wish you’d known?

When I was in Grade 7, I took a business course and was only taught the concept of active investing. I wish we had instead learned about passive investing. The power of compound interest and a regular cadence of “un-emotional” investing could have paid incredible dividends by now. 

What’s the best money advice you’ve received? 

Seek contentment over wealth. 

What would you say to young women who are thinking about starting their career?

There is something incredibly unique to how you see the world and how you solve problems. So stay true to that part of you that makes you you and find a place of work that honours and respects that part of you. 

This year’s IWD theme is #BreakTheBias. What does that mean to you?

#BreakTheBias means to understand that a person is an amalgamation of their gender, race, class, and sexual orientation. And if we are to create an equal society, we cannot focus on just one of these issues, but all of them together.

Faria Rahman, Co-founder and Head of Revenue & Brand

If you could go back to your 13-year-old self, what advice would you give her?

Be open to trying new things. Like that strange smelling, weirdly textured vegetable or that art class you hesitate taking, thinking you’d be bad at it. We aren’t always aware of our potential. Trying new things broadens our outlook and can help build that confidence and resilience in ourselves!

What’s one thing you weren’t taught about money but wish you’d known?

That money is a medium of exchange that shows our willingness to pay for something. That’s why it means different things to different people. Should you run out the door to buy an item because it’s on “sale” or buy it in bulk because it costs less? It depends. What’s important is knowing YOUR willingness to pay based on YOUR perceived value of that item, not how it’s marketed.

What’s the best money advice you’ve received? 

Growing up in a family of entrepreneurs, this was ingrained in me: Buy low, sell high. You can pretty much apply it to anything in life, especially with your savings and investments. Another is the time value of money. Should you take $500 now or $550 a year from now—what’s the difference? This concept applies to savings, investments and purchasing power. It can help you build your wealth. 

What would you say to young women who are thinking about starting their career?

Dream big! Dream the most outrageous dreams. Our realities are only as big as our dreams. Passion, hard (and smart) work will get you there, but we can only go as far as we set ourselves to go. Be a generalist and gain all sorts of skills at the start of your career. You can always specialize in something over time. We live in a super interconnected world and having a broad background at the start can really help make you an integrated thinker. And don’t ever be afraid to speak up! 

This year’s IWD theme is #BreakTheBias. What does that mean to you?

To me it means creating an environment where everyone’s thoughts are valued, where people feel free to speak up, and where you aren’t judged based on your gender, colour, language or background. #Breakthebias is active, not passive. We don’t wait and react. We think ahead and build systems to question and prevent, so that we and our future generations can live in a more equitable world. 

Veronica Sepehr, Head of Operations & Customer Success

If you could go back to your 13-year-old self, what advice would you give her? 

You don’t have to find your purpose in life. You are your purpose. This won’t be found by buying the coolest stuff or following the latest internet trends. Your purpose is found in how you approach joyful and difficult situations, in how you engage with others regardless of what they think about you or how they treat you and in how you approach every situation with thoughtfulness and empathy. Open your heart wide open to what life has to offer you. You won’t be disappointed!

What’s one thing you weren’t taught about money but wish you’d known? 

I wish I’d have learned at an earlier year about investing in the stock market and the difference between short- and long-term investments. In Ecuador (where I was born), buying a property is the way many folks think about securing a profitable investment. This is not necessarily bad, but living now in Canada and wanting to retire at an earlier age, I wish I could have had more opportunities earlier in life to learn about the stock market. Understanding investments can be complicated without the proper education, but when learned it can be a lot of fun (regardless of how much you are willing to invest) and open up a world of opportunities.

What’s the best money advice you’ve received?  

Have a budget regardless of how much money you make. My partner and I still use the same Google sheet (but with many new tabs and different expenses now!) we put together when we first moved together in 2012. We even put $50 away every month to account for our dog expenses. We sometimes still overspend (especially during vacations) but this Google Sheet has been extremely helpful for our financial health.

What would you say to young women who are thinking about starting their career? 

Not everybody wants to be the company’s CEO and that’s okay. It’s also okay not to know what you want to do in two, three or four years for now. The important thing is to continue developing critical skills and seek magnificence (not mediocrity) in whatever role launches your career.  Seek to be known at your workplace through your magnificence and seek always to know others through theirs. Don’t look for fault, seek the lessons, seek the knowing, seek the value of learning and networks you can take with you in your next role. Also don’t be afraid to seek advice if you need to when figuring out how to negotiate your salary. 

This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias. What does that mean to you?

Honestly, and as a mother of two young daughters, I believe we’re still far away from #BreaktheBias. I would love that folks collectively work to first #AcknowledgetheBias, then #ConfronttheBias and only then can we move forward. A couple of years ago, when #metoo was all over the news and Donald Trump was the U.S. president, my mom phoned me from Ecuador. She was very upset and said, “I can’t believe your generation has to confront and fight again the same fights my friends and I had in the 1970s.” That phone call left a big impression on me and it’s a big reminder that there is a lot of work still to do to forge equality.

Megha Sharma, Co-founder and Head of Technology

If you could go back to your 13-year-old self, what advice would you give her?

You’re going to meet some incredible people who will believe in you more than you believe in yourself. Hang on to those people, let them guide you, and prove them right.

 What’s one thing you weren’t taught about money but wish you’d known?

Compounding interest is ma(th)gic and it needs time to work. The best time to start saving was yesterday, the second best time is now.

What’s the best money advice you’ve received? 

Set it and forget it. Again, compounding interest takes time to work and investment FOMO can be very real.

What would you say to young women who are thinking about starting their career?

At the beginning of your career, no one expects you to have the right answers. Use that to your advantage. Use this time as an opportunity to learn lots of new things, and get comfortable making mistakes.

This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias. What does that mean to you?

To me, it means to embrace and empower people as they are. Their whole selves, without any preconceived notions about any single way they choose to identify. 

Rina Whittaker, Head of Product 

If you could go back to your 13-year-old self, what advice would you give her?

To put less emphasis on what or who others think you are … or want you to be. Stand up tall (figuratively and literally), embrace what makes you different and don’t be afraid to carve your own path. 

What’s one thing you weren’t taught about money but wish you’d known?

How to take more calculated risks earlier on—particularly around making money work for you. 

What’s the best money advice you’ve received? 

Pay yourself enough to cover your expenses (plus some reasonable fun) and put the rest in savings. Even if it’s a little each paycheck, it adds up over time. Use credit products carefully: If you don’t know how you’ll pay for it, you shouldn’t buy it. 

What would you say to young women who are thinking about starting their career?

It’s okay not to have your whole career mapped out. Focus on what you enjoy and where you want to grow. Industries evolve and you could be at the centre of something new and something you never imagined.

This year’s theme is #BreakTheBias. What does that mean to you?

Not having to hide my femininity, but also not having it take center stage. Celebrating my accomplishments not in spite of being female, or because I’m female, but because they’re my accomplishments. 

How kids and teens can participate in International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a celebration of women’s achievements and a reminder that we have the power to achieve equality for all of us! If you’re a parent with tweens or teens, what would YOUR answers to the five questions we asked our Mydoh team be? Share your wisdom and advice with the young women in your life! Kids and teens can also show their support by wearing purple, or celebrate IWD on social media by posting what they’d do to #BreakTheBias.