Not sure why I've never heard of the the Laguna Hills creative group, Stampington & Company. They've been around since 1994 and in their own words, "...provide a forum for both professional artists and hobbyists to share their beautiful handmade creations with one another."
Stamptington has a stable of publications including, artist's cafe, apron-ology and Artful Blogging. For Christmas my Aunt Terry surprised me with a subscription to the latter. Artful Blogging gives you a glimpse into other blogger's worlds, with links from their sites as well as images of their art, crafts and photography. Great inspiration especially if you've hit a creative brick wall -- which happens to all of us from time to time.
Last Thursday night I had the good fortune to hear Marianna Olszewski speak at a Step Up Women's Network book signing in Los Angeles. The event was held at the Tory Burch store where optimistic women (and a few brave men) sipped champagne and mingled amongst fabulous clothes.
The Step Up women asked Ms. Olszewski to speak about her new book, Live It, Love It, Earn It and she was up to the challenge. Inspirational and engaging, Olszewski spoke about her humble beginnings and the pivotal moment early in her career when she decided to change her life. At 23, working three jobs just to pay rent, her clunker-of-a-car broke down on New York City's George Washington Bridge. From that moment forward Olszewski made up her mind that things would be different. It took another four years of working in the field of finance before she opened her own company, Madison Financial Management. She never turned back.
Nowadays, Olszewski spends her time speaking at conferences, writing books, sharing her gift of money magnetism and the determination to succeed. She's a subtle powerhouse - a combination that makes her approachable and believable. An All American Girl who grew up in an apartment above a butcher shop with the fortitude to succeed ingrained by parents who believed in her.
Below are a few photos from the Step Up event and an interview with Olszewski.
Tory Burch at 142 S. Robertson.
(R to L) Step Up's Brady Hahn with a guest.
Alright, twist my arm...
The magic of networking.
A few inspirational words.
And a bit of shopping.
A must-read for every young woman.
As the evening simmered down, I was able to interview Ms. Olszewski. Here is what she had to say.
Riviera View: How did you get involved with Step Up Women's Network?
Marianna Olszewski: One of my friends, Mary Beth Evans introduced me to Step-Up. I went to a few of their events and all of the women involved had great energy. I felt this organization provided a great opportunity to get more involved and to talk to women about empowerment.
RV: How did the Tory Burch connection come about?
Marianna: I knew Tory's ex-husband, Chris Burch. Chris suggested I meet with Tory. I was writing my book about other women who have overcome tough challenges and so I asked her if she'd liked to be interviewed. Tory was thrilled to do the interview for my book. She blurbed the book and has been super supportive. Live It, Love it, Earn It is really her philosophy too.
RV: How do you manage to run Madison Financial Management, write books, travel for speaking engagements and live a balanced life?
Marianna: It took me some time to create Madison Financial Management. I created it when I was 29 years old. It's now a multi-million dollar company and I have been able to take a more hands-off approach. My focus now is spending more time helping women fulfill their dreams.
RV: You talk about using Vision Boards to manifest your dreams. You used one to create your company and then a second to find your soulmate. Is there anything you'd like to share about the experience? What exactly is a vision board?
Marianna: Yes, I've made vision boards. The first one was about having my own business and becoming successful. I also wanted a house and the respect of my peers. I created a vision board to help me achieve that. Once that came to pass I created another board around finding a man, having a baby, having more women friends and doing something different with my career, like writing a book and speaking to women about finances. So I created my second board for that. I found images that would help me create that life: a book party invitation, photos of women having a good time together...(and arranged them on a cork board). I wanted balance too. I found pictures of a handsome guy kayaking, a couple having a romantic dinner, flowers and a wedding dress that I liked. I knew it was going to work. It makes you feel more confident when everything you want is on the board and you are looking at it daily. Ironically the man I met, who eventually became my husband, turned out to be a kayaker. Within a year after creating the second board I was married and the following year I had a baby.
RV: If you were to recommend another tool to help women create their dreams what would it be?
Marianna: Well, it depends on what you want to accomplish? Are you more interested in achieving your money goals or creating other things?
RV: Let's go with money.
Marianna: Okay, if we go with money, I'd say you need to have a relationship with your money. Make a date with your money like you would with a guy, "What's going on with you Money?" For example, every Monday, at 7:00 PM, get out all your bills and your credit card statements. Sit down and see where it's going or coming. When your money is a mess, your life is a mess. When your money is in balance, your life is in balance.
RV: So your George Washington Bridge epiphany happened when you were 23 but it took another four to five years to open Madison Financial Management.
Marianna: What did I do in between?
Marianna: After that incident on the bridge I said to myself, "I'm going to make enough money to create the life I want." When I made that decision and I started to believe in myself, things started falling into place. I was working for the IBM Pension Fund (a $30 billion investment fund) at the time and I knew I had to take a risk and move to Wall Street. I had to learn other aspects of finance - so that's what I did. I began working on hedge funds (a hedge fund is a pool of money that can be invested in many different ways - stocks, bonds, other financial products, countries, currencies*). I became very good at what I did. Eventually I asked my new employer for a piece of his company because that's what I thought I needed to achieve success, but he said no. I kept asking and he kept saying no. Finally I decided to go off and start my own company. I was determined to make it. If I was rejected in the initial stages of my company's development I would remind myself of this saying, "Rejection is the universe's way of protection." I paid my dues for a couple more years and networked as much as possible and as a result my company became successful very quickly. You have to have that moment when you say, "Now I'm really ready." That's when you decide that you are going to do it.