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Finally, meet Monika Machon, who recently retired from her position as Treasurer of AIG (American Insurance Group).  She was an investment professional for over 30 years, including Global Head of Asset Management and Chief Investment Officer at AIG.  While Monika never thought of being a woman as a negative, she did notice plenty of times that other people thought it was.  For example, early in her career she received negative messages about her chances for success.  For example, when she was accepted to graduate school, the head of her department called her into his office and advised her not to think of herself as anything special just because she was accepted when other colleagues had not been. While stunned he would say that to any person – male or female – Machon was certain he would not have delivered this message if she were a man.

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When asked about work-life balance, Ms. Machon indicated that she doesn’t believe it exists, but rather it is an ebb and flow.  “Sometimes work gets 100% and sometimes you need to be 100% present for something happening with your family or loved ones,” she responded.  Most importantly, she claims that if you are happy in your job, balance largely takes care of itself, especially if you have a supportive family or partner.

In my own role as a senior female investment professional, I have had the good fortune to meet and associate with female leaders such as these, from a variety of business industries. Every one of these ladies had similarities; they worked hard, struggled with family issues (whether parents, children, or relatives), felt pulled in too many directions, but were passionate about their jobs.   Besides having some incredible yet entertaining stories to tell about their times working in a male-dominated industry, their years of experience have furnished much wisdom.

These women have inspired me to recently launch BizzyChicks, a social media endeavor where successful women from the multi-faceted world of business offer personal stories that convey practical advice on every day uses of financial topics.  They also have vast wisdom on career issues.  Given their passion about their jobs and their careers, they serve as beacons for young women looking toward their own futures.  The BizzyChicks community conveys nuggets of valuable knowledge for careers and financial literacy in both blog and video forms, through the website (www.bizzychicks.org), Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (@BizzyChicks).