It’s no secret that the financial industry is male-dominated.
In like manner, they say that women don’t understand money, which might be true only for stand-up comedy.
The financial industry has been pretty much an ‘old boys club’ and women have a hard time breaking in.
Yes, there is a gender gap in the financial industry, but as women are blazing a trail, things are getting better.
Breaking the mould of taking in as a man in the financial industry to get her work the credibility and acknowledgement have been one of her biggest professional challenges.
However, with the right outlook, she turned challenges into opportunities.
She is none other than Manju Mastakar, a business leader who is not content to live with the status quo.
She has sailed her entrepreneurial journey, and at present, is supporting new initiatives in the financing space with Armstrong Capital and developing a new business culture that works best for her team.
Writing her own story
Manju Mastakar, Managing Director, Armstrong Capital Advisory Pvt. Ltd., is one of the innovators working to change the industry overall.
Armstrong Capital provides goal-based financial planning, portfolio management service, wealth management service, retirement planning for individuals and cash flow management and currency hedging services for corporates, as well.
The recession of 2008 came as a hindrance for Manju when she lost her job.
“This came out as a turning point for my professional voyage. I decided to start on my own.
Soon I established myself as a freelancer. Originally, it was quite challenging to habituate and I thought this as a stop-gap to get back into the corporate life once again after the financial markets stabilise.
Every day, I would battle with a bigger challenge. But I navigated my way and that’s how my entrepreneurial journey rolled out.
Being an entrepreneur can sometimes be very depressing, especially during the initial years when you see yourself stranded and your old colleagues, successful.
But life is a race that goes on for very long, giving you a lot of opportunities to grow.
And then comes the best moments; when your ex-colleague or ex-boss asks you for advice.
This is enough to prove that you are on the right track, marching ahead.
In the early years of my career, the gender ration in the financial industry stroked as 1:100.
The picture is somehow, same today, but those few ones are making tremendous moves.”
Pairing off Work and Family
Entrepreneurship and motherhood arrived at the same time in my life, both needed dedicated time, energy and patience.
Sometimes home-front was demanding and the other times, office front.
It was very tough to balance because of multi-fold responsibilities.
Thankfully, the digital era helped me a lot.
Many pointed fingers saying that you have not taken care of household chores, you have not been cooking, you don’t pay any attention to your son’s studies.
I heard, prioritized my responsibilities and balanced out and managed my time.
My weekdays are all about work and I shut down my entrepreneurial role on weekends.
Habits you have/things you do, which set up success every day?
Don’t try to do everything on your own keep delegating work to juniors, make efficient use of time.
I have managed to build a strong support system at home so that I can concentrate on work.
One thing that you like most about your work
We manage people money, we listen to their problems, their fears, their concerns their dreams.
So, every day on the job there is a new story, a new problem to be solved and a new plan to be made. That keeps me going.
- What would you like to do in your free time? Listen to music
- What podcasts do you listen to inspire or learn from? Watch a lot of interviews of successful people on YouTube, that inspires me
- What impact do you want to have in the world or change they want to see or make happen? Aspire and work towards being a good mentor, I like to mentor young minds and teach them skills of life
- WHEN I FACE A BIG CHALLENGE, I think of 3 options and evaluate which is best
- THE MOST COURAGEOUS THING I’VE EVER DONE AS AN ENTREPRENEUR IS… to shut down a revenue-generating business which didn’t work in the best interest of the client
- IF I COULD GO BACK IN TIME TO WHEN I STARTED MY BUSINESS, I WOULD TELL MYSELF, to invest in people
- THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE I’VER EVER BEEN GIVEN IS, first think about survival and then aim for growth
- MY FAVOURITE QUOTE IS challenges make life interesting, overcoming them makes it meaningful
I have a lot of plans for Armstrong, we want to expand our presence in other cities, need more feet on the ground, make people aware of financial planning, get more presence online and on media.
When we meet customers, they haven’t come across a Financial Advisor as a profession.
Hence, our focus for the next couple of years will be to create awareness for this profession, to provoke the habit of savings and build a legacy for them.
Pearls of Wisdom
You have to dedicate a decade to your dream.
The first 3 years you are at zero, the next 2 years you will germinate and rise above the ground, the next 3 years you will grow and finally, after that, you will soar high and shine brightly, overtaking all those who started the race with you.