PlushMONEY Impact Experience – Adrienne Trenwolla

I think an appropriate way to begin my segment on the Impact that plushMoney has made on my life would be to start by explaining where I was in my life before it all came about.

About one month before the program began, I met Neha at Sephora when she needed someone to help her pick out a pink lipstick color. As many (but not everyone) know, picking a lipstick color is a rather time consuming task. And thankfully so. The time it took to find a lipstick was the time Neha and I connected and she told me about the group. I remember that night calling my dad and telling him how excited I was about the project, even though my involvement at that point was an absolute minimum.

Fast forward a month and a coffee date later, I was a full-fledged member of plushMoney. Initially invited as a leader of the group, my excitement of being a part of a project that would talk about money to women who were young, hip and excited about success and the idea of personal confidence through financial stability overwhelmed me and I agreed to a high level of involvement, right off the bat. This sounded like my cup of tea!

It was apparent shortly thereafter however, that my excitement allowed me to fill my plate full of responsibilities a little more than I had the ability to capacitate. I faltered in one of the tasks that had been given to me, and hence, Lesson number 1. How to say no. Better yet, How to ask for help. This has been my biggest challenge my whole life, as my mother will verify. And here it is, a safe environment when I can admit my fault, learn from it, and not be forever scorned.

This is precisely what plushMoney  is about. It may sound like a group solely based on talking about money and financial literacy, but it is more than that. The group of girls in this program not only learned about the ins and outs of the unspoken necessities of life (learning about work attire, relationships and professionalism), but we learned about confidence and being able to find your weaknesses, admit them, and learn new ways of dealing with them. This was a safe environment-a community rather- of women who have a passion for knowledge, a passion for leadership, and a passion for compassion.

At the beginning of the program, my excitement was greatly due to the fact that I was thrilled to have an activity outside my job that let my mind think in different ways than it did on a daily basis. Through a number of factors, including the encouragement of the girls in the group, I have decided to follow my true dream and dive into an industry of which I know nothing about. I have the courage and the confidence to follow my dreams and to make the necessary financial decisions that will make it a smart decision, not a foolish one. I have found a support network that I certainly never would have found at bars or clubs and only few are lucky enough to find in classes in school. The communication we had with each other was rare and awesome.  We were introduced to incredibly intelligent speakers who touched on everything from leadership to stock market savvy. Never in my wildest dreams would I imagine being connected to these types of people.

So the question remains, What did plushMoney do for me? I could give you catch phrases that were often thrown around like “Work smarter not harder”, “Pay it forward”, and “Make an Impanct”, but the truth is, no catch phrase will sum up the enlightenment that I’ve had within the 11 weeks of the program. I have found friends and connections I couldn’t possibly fathom prior to this group. I have had the privilege to spend time with people whose minds I am in awe of and whose energy and passion for life and knowledge is infectious. I have been blessed. I do believe everything happens for a reason, even though not everything can be explained.

I know for a fact I was supposed to be in this group and I know for a fact also, that the other girls (including Neha) feel the same. I can confidently say that I have grown as a result of this program and I cannot wait to see what my cohorts will create in the future. All I have to say is Thank You. There’s no telling where I would have been without the support of plushMoney and the girls who were a part of the program.  It is now time to take what we’ve  Learned,  Do something, and Create.

PlushMONEY Impact Experience – Niki Cyrus

I have been having such a hard time describing my experience with PlushMoney Impact with everyone. I never thought it would be possible to learn so much over two months. What I took away from the Impact program overall was three different things. 1) Always get to know people because you’ll miss out on some inspiring and amazing people if you don’t. 2) Creation is the main key behind learning something the right way. 3) A leader is someone who is genuine, honest and trusts her community.

 

I have seen many of the girls in our program that have transformed into polished and confident women in such a short period of time. It is amazing to be there and see the transformation. I have found talking on the webinars very difficult, as you can’t see anyone’s facial expressions. However, I saw myself feel more comfortable over time. The girls were always giving me positive feedback and creating a safe environment for me to practice and learn. I knew if I made a mistake there won’t be any harsh consequences. Now that was really really cool. There aren’t many instances in life that we could make mistakes without a consequence. One of the most inspiring moments throughout the program was when Rani approached Neha and I to tell us about this new exciting idea that she wants to share with everyone. I was so impressed, excited and amazed that she wanted to share something with her community. That was the moment that I felt that we have created a community, and knew Rani felt comfortable enough to want to share something with all of us on the webinar.

 

When Neha told me her vision behind the Impact program I didn’t really understand it at first. The steps are learning=>doing=>creating. But I asked myself, what is the main difference. I learned the difference when Delaney and I put together an event called Polished and Promising at Nordstrom. We had so many different ideas for the event. Everything we thought about was different from how everything turned out. We created the event. We did everything from promoting, creating an agenda and coming up with interactive games for the audience. Now I can say I have learned different skills on how to promote a complimentary event and how to come up with interactive games that apply to all ages and genders.

 

Lastly, I would like to share some of the characteristics that I know a leader must have. Half way through the program, I took on the leadership position that really helped me learn essential leadership skills. I learned that I have to trust my community like Neha trusted me. Many of the girls helped me handle different tasks in the program. At first it was scary to let go of the control but I was proven wrong that when they did an amazing job. I learned to be myself and always be honest with my community and that way with the help of my community I became a more confident woman. I am very appreciative of my community and Neha for creating this opportunity for all of us.

PlushMONEY Impact Experience – Rani Tiruveedhula

 

As the program comes to an end, I couldn’t be more proud of my decision to join this community. To explain my journey with PlushMoney, I draw parallels with my experience rock climbing for the first time. Though they seem unrelated, my journey with this community is similar in so many ways.

From the ground, I mapped out my path which seemed to be the best possible route to reach the top. However, during the climb, there were surprises and hurdles that made reaching the top even more rewarding than I had anticipated. I originally joined the program to get to know Neha Kumar, whom I’ve looked up to from speaker events and talking with her on the phone. Of course, learning about finance also interested me but I have learned so much more than finance. Leadership, business acumen, confidence, and going above and beyond have all been themes of this program. I have gotten to know not just Neha, but the other inspiring women as well as speakers whom we had the privilege of hearing from.

During my climb, I reached a point of frustration when I want to give up. My feet were shaking and I couldn’t find a place for my hands, but as I struggled I heard voices beneath me encouraging me to go on and believe in myself. These girls do the same for me, and just at the right moment when I need to push through. I took a leap of faith and reached out to the community by developing exercises which I truly believe would better equip us for our future. They warmly welcomed my ideas and efforts, motivating me to contribute more for this community. Never have I felt so empowered to follow through and get creative, a feeling I wish to carry over to all my efforts.

By the time I came down from the climb, I felt a strange bond with the girl, Lisa, whom I had met just before the climb but had supported and encouraged me throughout my experience. It’s just the way I hadn’t known any of the girls of PlushMoney before this program. I now leave with a feeling of belonging and support. I have had a wonderful journey with these girls and something tells me this isn’t the last time we will be in touch.

It amazes me that this was built from a simple assignment which Neha chose to go above and beyond to impact our lives. I wholeheartedly thank you Neha for all that you have done for PlushMoney. You are an inspirational example for us!

I could go on for pages about all that I’ve learned from this program, but my biggest lesson is that I leave this program with the inspiration to make an impact.

Thank you PlushMoney Impact for being a big part of my summer 2012.

PlushMONEY Impact Experience – Charlsey Kellen

There are hundreds of thousands of self-help courses out there.  They cover pretty much every topic you could possibly imagine, from weight loss to how to become a better artist to how to use a computer. Most of these courses come from an expert in the field or from self-proclaimed “guru” on the material or topic being taught.  While PlushMoney Impact was a course that did help all of us, I’m sure, it is not a self-help course by any means.

PlushMoney Impact is very different from that.  PlushMoney Impact is an empowerment program.  You do not just help yourself, but you help and benefit from every single member of the community.  Whether it was Neha Kumar, who put the program together, one of the many brilliant and ambitious girls who are a part of the program, or any of the fabulous and prestigious speakers that were featured week after week in the PlushMoney Impact webinars, everyone taught someone something and every single person learned at least one new thing every week.  New tidbits of knowledge, up and coming information about technology and companies, New York Times winning strategies, and a whole lot of new friends are all things that have been gained over the course of the PlushMoney Impact program.

But PlushMoney Impact also taught everyone something more important than all of that.  Something you cannot even teach in the top universities in the country, and that is confidence.  PlushMoney Impact taught every one of us that no matter what our particular skill set may be, it is valuable in some way and we can use that to our advantage.  As Neha told us time and time again, “It’s not about working harder, it’s about working smarter”.