This interview is a great one for anyone that is looking to turn career adversity into good times.  Our interviewee, Barbara Turley, had some difficult times in her career when the financial markets hit the skids.  She managed to capitalise on the opportunities presented and went onto flourish.  She has some great advise for anyone looking to gain employment overseas and women working in male dominated industries.  She is also an expert in generating wealth and shares her smarts on women and wealth with our listeners.

Interview Transcription

Kylie: (Introduction to Barbara) Barbara is a highly accomplished woman, shea was  a whiz in the financial market for 15 years trading for some of the world’s largest investment banks, managing relationships with some of Australia’s largest wealth management businesses and is a major shareholder in a 3 billion asset management business. The other thing she knows about is career success entrepreneurship. She inspired me to re-launch Inspired Careers.

Tell us more about your career journey from studying and right up to today.

Barbara: 15 years I was in the corporate world and I, for the most part, loved it and really had the career of my dreams. I always had a fascination with money – more about how money works. I was very fascinated by the financial markets. I want to work in trading floors.

I came out from the University and I struggled in getting initial jobs. I started in the funds management but in the back end group and doing jobs I hated. I eventually took a job on an execution desk – it was answering the phone and jotting down stock orders to buy shares and executing the trade. I got a lucky break when there was a big event for the institutional trading desk. The head of trading said we need young people so I jumped the chance. The next day I got a call from the Head of the Institutional Trading floor saying “we were impressed with how you interacted with clients and we think someone like you would be great as junior on our desk”.

Kylie: There’s the importance of building key relationships.

Barbara: You can be friendly and amazing and connect well even with male clients without being in any way provocative – just sending the wrong message. You have to send the right message and I know that’s something I always did. I was genuinely interested in the market so I think that’s what really landed the job for me.

Within a few years, I was working on the trading floor and absolutely loved it. I had this wish to travel so I decided after a few years to give up the amazing job and come to Australia.

I rang all my contacts in London and asked if they knew anybody in investment banks in Australia. So I marched down here with no contacts, no job, and no visa. I rang up the Head of Equities and I said I wanted to check out the landscape here and if there’s any chance he would have coffee with me and have a look at my resume and tell me if I have a chance in Sydney. When we met he hired me. So again it was just using that network.

Kylie: Another pivotal lesson there – the importance of making connections and using them. It’s wonderful that often when you reach out, people are more than happy to help.

Barbara: It’s all about how you position it. It’s like sales – there’s a bit of what’s in it for you but you have to get the other person on your side. And I did that. So I was sitting there for 13 years, 8 years of that on the trading floor I was in UBS and then I went to ABN AMRO then I finally did a few years of Merrill Lynch. I loved every minute of it. It was very hard in terms of hours and pressure. But I didn’t see a future for myself in that environment anymore. I started to get very burned out and thought I really need a break. So I decided to take a year off. I’ve done this once before. At that time I thought it was the worst thing that happened to me. Financial crisis hit just after I left my job. I’d just left a perfectly good job. Again I travelled around Australia and New Zealand before the markets fell and a very interesting thing happened – a friend of mine introduced me to a CEO and was offered a job that was entirely different from what I was doing. But I took it even if I don’t have any experience in that area. A few months later Deutshe decided to let the whole team go. My whole career was going down the toilet in front of me.

A few months after the retrenchment, the CEO gave me a call and gave me options in a new business opportunity and I gave him a resounding “yes”. I took massive risk at that time.

Kylie: I love how you took that risk and it paid off. People often don’t look at the risk of not taking an opportunity and there are risks on both sides.

Barbara: I always knew a want to have my own business one day. And that business not only was great financially for me but it also taught me how a business gets ran – how you take something out from the ashes of disaster and make it into a success. So I went on to launch Energise Wealth a few years ago – my main platform is to inspire women to step into their power and money and create wealth for themselves and impact.

Kylie: It was such a journey and there are so many lessons to take from that. There were some tips and turns in your journey and you looked at them in a way that there are all learning opportunities.

Barbara: Some of the biggest learning came from my lowest moments.

Kylie: Sometimes we don’t really have to look back but to look forward to the opportunities. Tell us more about your journey in the recent years and Virtual Angel Hub.

Barbara: I call this one my accidental business. I work with a lot of clients all the time trying to help them systemise their businesses and free up their time to grow their business that works for them. That’s how you create wealth for your business. Time was actually the main issue – just finding time to do the things that needs to be done. I recruited Virtual Assistants from the Philippines to work with me and started recruiting a few to work with my clients so we can work on strategy. I launched a webinar and people signed up I was full in the first month. So Virtual Angel Hub was born.

Kylie: Your life has certainly changed in the last few years. How did you muster up the courage to make that career change?

Barbara: I had plans of having a business at least three or four years before I made the jump.  Your vision is very important. I made sure I had a secure income for myself and was lucky I had that opportunity. What I would say to people is “Yes, you need courage and there’s a point in time when you have to say I’m going to do it”, but there’s a clever way around it getting really clear on your finances and saying “how much money do I really need on a month to month basis to keep me going”.

Kylie: Very true for people going to the entrepreneurial path.

Barbara: If you ask any entrepreneurs they will say the same thing – nobody ever sees the early days, nobody sees the struggle. You only see the success stories. It is a hard journey. It’s a roller coaster, it’s very enjoyable, you really need courage because there are days you just think “what am I doing?” but to have a financial strain on top of that can really rattle the strongest person. Just think about it before you do it.

Kylie: I love to hear also your view on having your values and job align as well.

Barbara: Although I really enjoyed my career, one of the things that happened in the end, why I decided to leave trading was there was values misalign and maybe it’s because I’ve gotten older. There was a major values misalignment. I felt really out of place. I no longer want to socialize with the people I worked with and I realized I wasn’t going to be as successful anymore there because of the misalignment from my own personal values of integrity and honesty.

Kylie: That’s why I say to all of my listeners and clients that when you start on your journey of looking for a career that suits you, you need to get crystal clear on who you are and what those values are because you may be able to compromise the offers, the location, the salary but not personal values.

Barbara: It’s like you’re in the right job but on the wrong company.

Kylie: Tell us about the career mistakes that some women are making.

Barbara: Money mistakes – I made a lot of them too. 1. Women spend too much money on clothes and shoes – i think we don’t need as much stuff as we do and I started to cut back my spending. Since I’m a spender, I started spending my money on assets. 2. Not realizing the power of money working for you because once it starts working for you, it pays you but it takes time and discipline. 3. The thinking that the financial market is not for them, they don’t like taking risks. In terms of career, women tend to undervalue herself.

Kylie: Sometimes we spend too much time thinking about our weaknesses.  We focus energy on the wrong area.

Barbara: I totally agree, we waste energy on focusing on our weaknesses when we should be playing to our strengths.

Barbara: Links to my businesses