Jamila Souffrant 0:00
You're listening to the Journey To Launch Podcast: Breaking Barriers And The Mind, Body and Wealth Connection With Lauren Simmons.
T-minus 10 seconds. Welcome to the Journey To Launch Podcast with your host, Jamila Souffrant. As a money expert who walks her talk, she helps brave Journeyers like you get out of debt, save, invest and build real wealth. Join her on the Journey To Launch to financial freedom in five, four, three, two, one.
Jamila Souffrant 0:39
Hey, Hey, Hey, Journeyers. Welcome to the Journey To Launch Podcast. Every week, you'll hear me bringing you inspiring stories, educational interviews, and some soul episodes to help you on your journey to financial freedom and independence. So let's get started. Today's guest is someone really special. You may have heard of her. Maybe you didn't. But let me explain who Lauren Simmons is. Lauren Simmons broke a barrier at the New York Stock Exchange by becoming the youngest full time female trader on the floor in 2017, at, get this-- just 22 years old. She was also just the second black woman to trade on the floor. That's crazy, right? She has since left Wall Street and now serves as a personal finance speaker, author, producer of her own life story and now host of entrepreneurs.com new docu series, "Going Public." The "Going Public," series actually premieres on October 19th. So, you should be able to check that out right now, because this episode comes out after that. So I'm so excited to bring this conversation to you. Hopefully you're inspired and motivated to go after it and to break barriers yourself. So let's get into it.
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If you want the episode show notes for this episode, go to journeytolaunch.com, or click the description of wherever you're listening to this episode. In the show notes, you'll get the transcribed version of the conversation, the links that we mentioned, and so much more. Also, whether you are An OG Journeyer or are brand new to the podcast, I've created a FREE Jumpstart Guide to help you on your financial freedom journey. It includes the top episodes to listen to, stages to go through to reach financial freedom, resources, and so much more. You can go to journeytolaunch.com/jumpstart to get your guide right now. Okay, let's hop into the episode.
Hey Journeyers. So, I have a special guest on the podcast. I know I say all my guests are special, but she's really special. We have Lauren Simmons on the podcast and you may have heard of Lauren's story-- you may have not, but by the time you listen to this episode, you'll know all about her and all the amazing things that she has going on. Lauren, welcome to the podcast.
Lauren Simmons 3:49
I am so excited to be here! Hello, everyone listening! Ah this is gonna be a great conversation!
Jamila Souffrant 3:55
It is and by the way. So, I read your full intro before we started, so they heard that, but when I first saw and read your story about you being, like, i still-- i can't believe that, that's, like, this was still happening to this day. That you were the youngest female full time trader on Wall Street.
Lauren Simmons 4:13
Jamila Souffrant 4:13
Right. And then, the only second black female full time trader on Wall Street.
Lauren Simmons 4:19
The second black equity trader, yes.
Jamila Souffrant 4:22
And what year was this?
Lauren Simmons 4:23
Jamila Souffrant 4:25
Which is wild that this is, like, so-- that we're still doing "the first."
Lauren Simmons 4:28
I know, or marginal numbers less than 10. Yeah, no, it absolutely is crazy. But I always want to pay respect to the women that have come before me and so the first equity trader to come to the floor was Martina Edwards and the first African American woman to ever be on the trading floor, who was not a trader, but she was a sea holder, was Gell Panky and that was back in 1978. Martina, I believe, worked there in 2008ish. That's a pretty large gap. And then I came along in 2017. So, crazy, I have since left and still, I don't, I don't think that there's another African American woman to come back to the floor. So, just, just insane.
Jamila Souffrant 5:14
It is insane. And we'll talk a little bit about that. So, as I was trying to research and read more of your story, I did find some things. I'm like, "Oh, well, maybe that's why." So I'd love to talk about that a little bit more. But I want to talk about what led you to Wall Street, because, I know, at first that was not your goal. You were heading towards like more of the medical field, right?
Lauren Simmons 5:33
Yeah. So my background-- I, my four years of high school, we had to pick a program that will lead us through all four years. I don't remember stepping into my freshman year, what I wanted to pick, now that I'm, like, going back. But I didn't end up getting the choice that I wanted and ended up in architectural engineering. So I studied all four years, architectural engineering. And I was the only woman in that class and I was one of the few African Americans that was in that class. I had to pivot once I got to college, because I didn't get into an architectural engineering program. And I went into genetics, because I really wanted to impact families, the way the doctors that impacted mine. I have a brother with a disability, and had to pivot again. A very long story short, I was writing my senior thesis and I realized that we weren't as technologically advanced as I had hoped, when it came to study in genetics, but what I knew is that I really wanted to move to New York City. I couldn't tell you what was calling me, but I was gonna leverage my statistics and analytical background that I had developed over eight years and I moved to New York City and the question that everyone always asked, "How did you pick finance?" I did not pick finance, finance chose me. I had now worked with a whole-- so many different people and the gentleman that worked at a large financial institution, you guys can can name, him told me flat out that his company would not hire me, but would I be open to applying for an equity trading position at the New York Stock Exchange? I said, "Yes. Without a doubt," and came to the floor and within five minutes was offered a job at the New York Stock Exchange and the rest is history.
Jamila Souffrant 7:25
Wow. I love these stories, where, you know, you start at one point-- you have no clue that's what you're going to do, but it's like literally, like, there is-- you can't deny, like, it's so obvious that this is what is meant for your, your calling. Like you said, you didn't chose choose this life, the life chose you. And I think it's evident and kind of like even like your, your since what you've done. Like it's all kind of, like, have just been stepping stones, like, to lead you where you are. So, going back to being an equity trader. As the only-- at the time, you were the only woman on the floor.
Lauren Simmons 7:55
Jamila Souffrant 7:56
And the youngest?
Lauren Simmons 7:57
Jamila Souffrant 7:58
My first question is just, like, why aren't more women going for this job? Like this man, he said to you, "Hey, take this like or or apply for this?" Why weren't any other women doing this? What is that barrier that prevents women from stepping into this role?
Lauren Simmons 8:11
I don't think there is a barrier. If there is a barrier, then it definitely has to do with, like, us. And like our, our own inner critic that men and women both have. But I think women allow that fear to not push them forward. But I will say, prior to me coming to the trading floor, I was in a room with 250 men. The floor has slowly dwindled, it probably is less than 250 men that now work on the trading floor. But this used to be a place that was booming, in the sense of, there were over 1,000s of people that worked on the floor. And so historically, you know, for there to be one woman, there was 250 men. So, it's kind of always been on par. I mean, if there were 1,000s, there was at least four or five women that were on the floor. And you know, as time has gone on in and developed, there have been less and less woman. So I don't think that part of it is strange, but I do think outreach is everything. I think giving kids exposure and letting them know, like, you can do different things, in different spaces. And for me, obviously growing up, I don't, I never had on my radar, I wanted to be at the New York Stock Exchange. But I've always been a person that if you gave me an opportunity, I was gonna be the best that I could in that opportunity and take it for what it was. And that had happened so many times before in my life, whether it was architectural engineering or genetics, but even like, I one day, I got in my head that I wanted to become a lifeguard and I know that, you know, at 16 years old that that might sound so cliche, like how is that a big deal? But one night I said I really wanted to become a lifeguard. I had to do this pre-interview. I did the pre-interview, passed. I like ran home telling my mom, like, "I got a job as a lifeguard!" And she looked at me and she goes, "You don't know how to swim." And, and so we swam laps all night long. All night long in our pool until I knew how to swim, and then the next day, I went in, and I had to do this one portion of the exam. And I was out swimming people that were on competitive swim teams. I stayed with that job up until, like, my sophomore year of college, but I ended up being promoted to the head aquatics director, over the aquatics department, and again, was also in a space where I was not the only woman, but I was the only woman of color to do that. And so all that to say: You give me an opportunity, or something gets in my head, like, I'm gonna just take what I, what I will from it, it'll be a learning lesson. Minimum, give it two years, use those transferable skills. And so I would encourage, it doesn't really matter what phase, or age you are at in your life, but if an opportunity comes to you don't run away from it. Like, be open. You have no idea where life is going to take you, and what door that's going to open is going to lead you to the next door. So I think if you can just take opportunities, and you have to also, like, have that self awareness and what feels good to you, because every opportunity is not going to feel good to you. But if there is a fear, or this negative emotion that is associated with an opportunity, really check in with yourself. Like, are you afraid because of failure? Or you're afraid because you won't be able to do it? And if those are really none of the above, then why not? You know. I'm, I'm literally, you know, like, you really only live one life. And I just figure, like, take it fully and enjoy it and enjoy the opportunities and don't look at negative as negative and, like, take all of these those learning experiences. Yeah. And then the second part of that, because I was long winded, It's like, yeah, I think hiring practices overall should do better with outreach as far as, like, getting more minorities and women into these spaces. It doesn't fall solely on the Lauren Simmons's of the world to reach out to different people to say like, "Hire me! Those organizations are going to have to do better. And they're going to have to do better at not just limiting themselves to the Ivy League's and/or the top HBCUs. Like, black people go to many different schools and they're all around the country. And so how do we how do we bridge that? And there are so many ways to do it. We live in a digital era where we have accessibility to any and everyone. So at this point, especially in 2021, going into 2022, there really is no excuse of that outreach and being able to connect with people.
Jamila Souffrant 12:42
Yeah, I mean, you touched on really great points. I mean, part of it is, like, the, when you, when you're talking about us being in spaces, or just being-- anyone, reaching out to do something, there's like that internal kind of what you can control. So your mindset, what you're going to choose to go after, and then it's the, kind of, like that top bottom external, which is what you're talking about, like the hiring practices. But for most of us right now, in our ecosystem, like you, it's like our mindset and habits. And I love that you brought the story about swimming, because literally, like, this shows that it doesn't matter what subject or field it is in. If you put your mind to something, you'll go after it. And I think that's, like, hopefully it will be motivating to people, because maybe you're not going to go to the trading floor. Like, if you're listening to this, you know, but maybe you've been wanting to learn how to swim and you've been putting that off, right? And so it's like, go do it, go do it. Like, like Lauren said, this is one life. So, one of the things that I did read about, like, like being on the trading floor, and I'm wondering if this was a barrier, or things have changed since. Is that you didn't really get paid a lot, actually to be on the floor, as like as a salary. Is that true?
Lauren Simmons 13:44
No, that is very true. Yes. So I only got paid $12,000, and then I think I ultimately, after fighting, and fighting is a strong word, but bringing it to their attention that I was getting paid below minimum wage. And this was 2018. And I don't remember the minimum wage at the time, but I think in New York City, New York was $11.25 an hour, I could be wrong. Someone could check me on that, but whatever it was, I thoroughly had did my research and I was like, "I should be getting paid that." Which equated to about $48/$50,000 a year. So I know so that they were like, "Well, no way we're paying you that." And they ended up paying me as an hourly associate. So there is a again, every state is different, and I'm coming from Georgia to New York, but there is a, for New York City, New York, there is an hourly minimum, and then there is a salary minimum. I'm not going to get into all that, but there is a difference, and so technically, I was a salaried worker. They put me, they put me down to an hourly worker, but I was still getting a solid 40 hours a week and whatever. All that to say, yes, I really only got paid $12,000 and after bringing it to their attention, I think I was bumped up my last two months being on the trading floor to about $21,000, but after I got that promotion, that raise, whatever you want to call it, I think, for me, I had always, in the back of my mind, knew I was only going to be on the trading floor for two years. I knew this. And that was something, again, that I mentioned earlier in this interview. Give yourself two years, learn all the tools and resources, maybe you love the job, maybe you don't. Use these transferable skills and then go on to your next job. Have a good exit strategy. And I think for me, I knew, regardless of the pay, that I was always going to leave after two years. My other colleagues that started in those entry level positions as well, was also getting paid $12,000 so, I don't want people to think like, "Oh it's because she was a woman. It's because she's black." Like, no, everyone was was getting paid that. But, on the flip side of that, there were other firms working on the floor where the starting salary, same position that I was doing was $120/$185,000 and people always ask, "Well how does that work? Like, is that something you negotiate like?" I break it down to the firm's on the trading floor is very much like the NFL. They're all housed under one organization, but each, you know, team, each firm, has its own rules and regulations as far as, like, compensation, HR practices, etc, etc. Like, as far as like the rules and regulations and the how you play in the NFL, like those are all the same, but like how an organization functions on their operational side is different from each, each firm. So I learned, you know, having open conversations and not being nosy just, like, I learned from other colleagues, that were my same age working at different firms, that their entry was $120/$185,000 and so obviously that wasn't discouraging, it just was, okay that's the number. I knew that when I was thinking of my exit strategy, that I would not get anything less than $120,000, because I know people in this position get paid this. And I just let that be. Everything doesn't have to be a negative thing or like, you know, like, I also learned there was so much value add in those two years on the floor, so I obviously don't love the pay and I didn't have to struggle, but like everything happens for a reason and I don't regret it and it you know, it's part of my story and I move forward and I said, "Okay, like, this is the number that's in my head," and let's just, you know, move forward with life.
Jamila Souffrant 17:38
Right. Well, I've just got where you talk about that, and again, how important is it to talk to your colleagues and even people who are in the same type of job, different company to see what they're getting paid. Because if you didn't do that, then, I mean, I'm sure you would found out at some point, but it's better that you have those open conversations and I'm just, like, this is now just being curious, like, what would make the people who are worked for your company want to stay there? Like was there another upside that they would get?
Lauren Simmons 18:02
You know, it's crazy, because after it was brought to my attention that someone was making $120,000, you know, the men at my firm were in denial. They were like, "No, they must be doing a different job." And I was like, "You know the job. You know the jobs that we're all doing. Like, we know. Like, let's not. Let's, let's not be, let's not be obtuse."
I'm trying to think of like a nice word, but yeah, like you know, whatever their decisions were was their decisions. Maybe they were comfortable in the role and, you know, they were men had them been working for the firm for, you know, over a decade and was only getting paid $60,000. So, I knew that if I had stayed in the same position for the same company, the growth was just not going to be there. That was something that they were comfortable with. I can't, you know, go into the mindset of like the "why." Were they getting any additional upside that I was getting? No.
Jamila Souffrant 18:55
Right, right. Okay. I mean, I was just I was just curious. I'm sure other people listening were like, "What's that about?" Yeah.
Lauren Simmons 19:01
Yeah, no. I mean-- I, we had several conversations and so yeah, a lot of it was like there's no way they must be doing something different and they were comfortable with their pay. They, they were comfortable with not fighting for additional, because I, again, and I don't want to use the word fighting, like, it was like a big thing. It just was, it was brought to my attention, I put it on a company email, like, I should be getting paid more. They brought me upstairs and they were like, "Well we're not gonna pay you this, so we'll pay you that." and I just said, okay, everything is not worth a fight. You have to realize that you are also in control of your own mind and you have the power. Everything is not worth the fight. I knew that there was not going to be an additional upside of, like, making this a fight. Straining this relationship. And just move forward, you know? And look at it more as a positive and so, you know, anyone that's listening, you have the power, okay? They don't they don't want to raise your pay? Get another job. And I know that that's like simpler said than done. But but it also is. Like, "Okay, I don't have to deal with that headache. Just move forward and then go from there.
Jamila Souffrant 20:06
Right? Well, speaking of moving forward, how did you make the decision to eventually like leave? Because I'm sure, at the time, like, you did. You did you realize, like, how groundbreaking it was at the moment, like, that you were on the floor. You weren't even thinking about being the first of anything, you were just doing the work.
I didn't, I didn't think it was groundbreaking. The story came out a year after I had made history. So for me, it was like, and it's funny, like, I'm grateful for the opportunity. But like I do remember, like, before the year the story broke, and I was telling people like, "Oh, like, I'm the second African American to ever be down here." And like, people just didn't care. And so I was like, "Okay," and then all of a sudden, it became this thing where, like, everybody cared. And it was like, well, this is like old news. Like, I like I, already had processed. Which for me, by the way, was a bittersweet moment, because I, minimally, wanted to make maximum Li at the time wanting to make my family proud of my first job, and my career. And you know, it was also disheartening to know like these marginalized numbers that I was the second African American equity trader and the third African American woman to ever be down there like those, that's like, really sucks. But yeah, so for me, this switch again, I always knew after two years that I was going to leave, so it was easy. And it was really across roads of do I work for another financial institution, which I've been interviewing and had been offered jobs, or do I just say, you know, what, let me live in my purpose and my purpose, which will, you know, talk to in a second, but but it's mostly of empowering the next generation when it comes to finances and investing. And so all of the work that I do is an extension of that. And that, for me, is a lot more rewarding than going to another organization like a Goldman or JP. And by the way, when I was interviewing at those organizations, they told me that I was not allowed to continue to build my brand. And I needed to be a product of the company, and I think in 2000, anything, but especially at the time, I was what 2019, to say that when your brand is everything, it's how you get recognized. And and and I don't mean like in a comical sense, like you need to become a celebrity, like you can be your own brand within being a lawyer or a doctor, or in finance or war wherever a teacher like, but like building your brand is is your resume. And in this digital era where again, everyone's so accessible, people want to see your brand. And I felt that was really unjust, and just really shows, you know, the traditional mindset that these institutions still have.
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And, you know, what's crazy, it's just, like, there's a power and I'm experiencing this myself, like, I also came from corporate, decided to, you know, do Journey To Launch on the side, started to do it now, full time, on my own now for a couple years and the trajectory of what I've been able to accomplish and make-- like, I would not have been able to conceive this. If I would have stayed in that job, I wouldn't be able to do the things that I'm doing. And I think it's fascinating, similar to your story, it's just, like, from your mind, like from, from people wanting to hear what Lauren says about this. From Lauren being the host and/or distiller of this information or teaching this subject. Like that is so valuable. And I just feel like there's so many people who are stuck, probably, in a situation where they're with a company and again, not everyone's meant to be an entrepreneur or to be kind of like in this space, but there are some people right now who have that ability and are afraid and, you know, for good reason. Maybe they have a mortgage and kids. They have to be a little bit more,you know, carefu, but still, it's like stepping into your own life. There's no limit. Like, there's no cap to what can be achieved when you do that.
Lauren Simmons 24:39
There isn't. There isn't. And the good foundation, the starting point, no there is no limit, you can be limitless, but it's also, like, believing in yourself. No one-- no one in this world is going to champion for you more than you are. And so, I can give everyone the tools and the resources of how to invest, how to grow your money, how to diversify your money. All these things, but I look at everything from, like, a holistic standpoint. And looking at this mind, body, wealth connection. And, for me, it really is like the most instrumental thing that you can do in this life for yourself is developing a relationship with yourself. Getting that inner critic out of yourself. Really believing that if you put your mind to something that you can do it. And I think when you can start at that place, your finances are great, what you eat, how you look at your body, how you view this world, you know? Wayne Dyer has this quote, and I'm probably gonna chop, because I always do, but it's something along the lines of, "Change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change." And it's, it's really true. And if you can just tap in, and I'm a person who's been meditating for over now, seven years, and I've been on this self help, reading books journey for a while now. But the moment that I made that switch, and I just really believed that I can unlock anything that I want in my mind, and for the things that I can unlock, you know, again, don't take these negative experiences as negative, like they're detours in the right direction. The moment that I made that switch, I saw, not instantaneously, because I don't want anyone to walk away from this thinking like, "Okay, tomorrow, I'm a millionaire!" Doesn't work like that. I mean, maybe, but we have to be like, realistic. I was able to go through those hard times. I was able, but I was also able to bet on me and say, "You know what? This is going to work out. Maybe it's not going to work out today, at the second, this moment. Maybe it won't even work out at 8am tomorrow, but maybe at noon, tomorrow, there will be a shift, there will be a change." And I truly, you know, I'm not like law of attraction is such a gimmicky thing. But I do believe that we are always attracting exactly what is meant to come to us good or bad. And how you look at those things dictate the next step in your journey in your life.
Jamila Souffrant 26:48
And speaking of that, you talked about your purpose. Your passions now that you're not able to focus on. So I know you have some like exciting things that you're doing. And we're going to talk, like, all about that. But what were some of the first steps that you started to do, like, once you left that job? Like how did you figure out your next step? What was it, like, because there's so many opportunities, probably, that came to you,
Lauren Simmons 27:14
Um, there was, but it was still in this place of, like, I am so independent, I'm so Leo, like, I don't ask for people, I don't ask help from people. That is, like, a flaw of mine. It really, it really is something that I'm intentionally working on. But for me, we've been working on this movie with AGC Studios on my life story. And it was really excited about that. And I knew that I wanted to step out and be my own entrepreneur, but it was the asking for help. Was what was my road block. It was sound boarding ideas, and trusting that the people that I was sound boarding wouldn't, pretty much dump on my ideas and make me feel smaller. And one day, organically, and again, I also am a true believer that the things that you avoid the most will end up just coming full face in front of you. And you have to, like, just go through that journey, but I had an idea in my mind that I wanted to create a TV series and never really, like, shared with anyone that this is like kind of what I wanted to do. And I wanted to, again, have this accessibility to empower this next generation when it came to finance etc, etc. And so just, like, one night was talking to, I guess a mentor, yeah, I would call him mentor, and, just was talking, had no expectation. I was more or less ranting than talking about, like, my frustration of trying to, like, create this TV series, and just the longest short of it, and he loved it. Like, he was like, "Oh my goodness, this is amazing. This is exactly what you need to do." And he was, like, how can I help in that? And that was the moment that I could just be, like, why was I holding this in? You know, I think everyone has these big ideas. And especially if you're trying to be an entrepreneur, it is okay to share your ideas. You don't want have to share your ideas with everyone, because everyone is not in a space to receive and people will project their fears and they will make you feel like you're crazy and all these other negative emotions. But I do believe that when you find your people, share with them. Be authentic. Be honest. And they will always scale you to be better and I am forever grateful that I took that leap, whether I was intentional about it or not. Whether I was ranting or not. Of saying, "I'm gonna do this." And I did it. And then, and then, I was able to say like these other crazy ideas and I had this and I had that and and just be supported along the way.
Jamila Souffrant 27:27
Right. And I think some people might be like, "Well, it's definitely important, like, who you know," but you're probably surprised with actually who you know and who they know, because if I'm, like, sitting thinking and listening. I'm like, "Well I don't maybe have access to someone who can help that come true," But maybe you do. You don't know that. If you put it out to your network maybe that person knows the person that can put you in place with the other person that can help that happen. So, you know, be open with that. And so with that, like, talk a bit about this series and like what came to be and what you're working on now.
Lauren Simmons 30:26
Yeah! So, the TV series is still in development. Um, all that to say, but my other show that, again, I like had I not put this out into the universe, I don't think these other opportunities would have come to me, but one of them being is "Going Public," that launches October 19th on entrepreneur.com. I cannot wait for you guys to see who we are really democratizing the space when it comes to IPOs. Everyday investors, every day, you, me, anyone over the age of 18, globally, will be able to invest in these companies that are on the show. And we get to see the company's journeys. We get to see the ugly, the good, the bad, the all of it. And hopefully through investing in some of these companies, we get to close the generational wealth gap. For people that don't really understand how groundbreaking this is, typically in order to be able to participate in an IPO you need to have a net worth over a million dollars. A lot of us don't have that. And so we are often left out of being able to buy into the next Amazon and the next Tesla. And if we could do that from the ground level, which you can with these incredible companies that are on the show, you really get to root for these companies. You really get to see the work that they put into it and you really get to do your due diligence and look at these SEC circulars and, and really decide if you want to invest. But, you have the potential upside of you know investing in a groundbreaking company that that could blow up and be the next Tesla and Amazon of our generation. And so I'm excited that everyday people like you and me get to be able to have this opportunity, because we often do not get afforded these opportunities.
Jamila Souffrant 32:20
Yes and, I mean, again, fascinating how your background, like, makes you the perfect person, the perfect host, for this show and to talk about it. And with that, like, I just love, like, this whole idea and that's, like you said, we talked about this before, like, the, the, the age of social media, as much as people say, it's, like, not great and, you know, negative ,which is true, is that there's so much access now, right? Like, there's more access than ever before, where you can learn from someone. We can listen to someone's podcast and get, like, tips, like, from, you know, from them. Like that you wouldn't necessarily have been able to do it. And so I think taking advantage of this, like, using it for the positive that it can do to our lives is really key.
Lauren Simmons 33:00
Yeah and and I will say that I believe especially in the finance space all this information has always been out there. Well, not just in financials, in general. Like, everything has been in a book, but I do think we have come into a time where, I won't say, yes the accessibility is more there, but I do think that there's more people bringing awareness to it. Where they can quickly do a Google search and find the answers that they need versus going to the library and checking out a book and going through the pages. But all the information has been there. So it is up to the audience of "Going Public," but just people in general to do your research. The answers that you're looking for, there's nothing new under the sun. And this, this is not just to do a finance, but just a life circular thing in general. All the answers and the tools are there if you want the answers and the tools, you go out and you find the answers and the tools to do whatever you want to do in this life. There's anything that you, you know, could walk away from this conversation, it really is that. All the answers that you need is right here.
Jamila Souffrant 34:09
Beautiful. That's beautiful, Lauren. And, I mean, I just felt like there's no-- if you're a walking billboard from your life, like that's what it shows is possible, like, that can be done. Just a couple of things, I want to point out your other projects. I know you have a podcast. You-- a book still in the works. And a show! You still have that show you, you talked about that. You know, it's still in the works. Also another one. And talk about how you're juggling all that. How you know what to prioritize. How do you get your creative juices flowing when it comes to, like, putting out like these kind of works?
Lauren Simmons 34:38
Yeah, so my new podcast, "Mind, Body and Wealth," a Spotify original, only on Spotify. I pitched this, and again, this is where, like, these crazy ideas come up. I pitched this two years ago, so it's been a long journey. It's not anything that's happened overnight and I'm so grateful. We debuted at number two on the top business podcasts in the US charts. So that was incredible. And just completely, I'm just, I'm just so grateful for the entire experience. For me, again, I'm in this lane where again, I want to give people the accessibility, the information is out there. And maybe they're, you know, not looking for it or maybe they don't know where to look for it. So it's nice to be able to speak and articulate it in layman's terms, in terms that makes sense and feels good to the people that are reading. Yeah. And so I'm excited to be the face of that and just so many other cool projects. But, for me, I I love having these multiple hats. I love, you know, having this hustle mentality. I think moving to New York, and I love Georgia, I do, but I think it's something about being in a big metropolitan city like that, especially New York, that I don't even think that is honestly even comparable to California. Which I now live in LA, but it's something about this energy and this, everything is in the air, you just want to keep pushing yourself and saying like, "What else can I do? What else can I do?" And it's not necessarily the achievements. It's like, how far can I push myself in a good way? And that for me is, is what I want to do. Okay, I have my podcast. Okay, I'm the host of an incredible, new TV series on entrepreneur.com. Okay, I have a movie. Okay, I have a book. I now sit on the board of a few financial firms. And so, I'm always looking at how can I continue to grow Lauren? How can I continue to push myself beyond whatever my limitations are? I am constantly putting myself in, in spaces and places, in these mindsets, where I'm uncomfortable, because the biggest growth comes from being in situations where you are uncomfortable. If you are at a place in your life, and you're comfortable, and you're comfortable with your salary, and your friends and your lifestyle, you are not pushing yourself enough. You have to be good with being comfortable, with being uncomfortable, and that is where these biggest growths and these biggest opportunities come from. So I'm always, like, constantly trying to like push myself to the next level.
Jamila Souffrant 37:10
I love that and you know, I can't I can't let you get away before we say where you can find more about you and the show. Just like asking you a little bit about your like finances, personally, how you view them, because it's such a thing that, you know, it's like one of those-- we all are affected and need money, right? And at a certain point, we have more than the baseline and we now can decide what we do with that, whether it's investing more and/or living the lifestyle we want. So when it comes to Lauren and her personal philosophy on money, how you manage it, how you spend it and invested, is there just some things you would like to share with your thoughts around that? Like how you, how you look at your own money?
Lauren Simmons 37:45
Yeah. So all of it, obviously, like how we navigate our personal finances comes from external voices and our upbringings and our colleagues and our friends. And so the first thing that I always talk about, when it comes to money, is what is your relationship with money? Tell me the adjectives that you use. Your relationship with money should be the same as a platonic or romantic relationship. And you should be using healthy adjectives. If you're not, you need to check in which, again, is why I take it back to the most instrumental thing that you could do in your life is developing a relationship with yourself. For me, my personal finance and even my investing journey has all been shaped, obviously, from my mom and, like, she's always been good with her personal finances. And so she's always taught me budgeting and saving and living within my means. Not wanting the latest, greatest. And, like, waiting if I do want something trendy or do want a materialistic item. Waiting, like, six months, and if I still want it, okay, then get it. But it's not anything that I do impulsively. And there was a point in my life where I couldn't do things impulsively, I can do things now impulsively, but the same girl that was working at the New York Stock Exchange making $12,000, who is now making over you know, half a million dollars a year, I still use those same things. So, I'm not going to just live lifestyle inflation and ball out and go crazy, because I have more money. Like, that's just insane. That's how that's how we lose money. And then as as far as investing, one of the things that I learned on the trading floor is that 90% on the men do not invest in the stock market. These are now men, if people don't realize that, who have gone into their third recession, and they don't believe that you can beat the game. My philosophy to that is, like, you can't beat the game if you're not in the game, but you have to financially be in a good place to be in the game. With that being said, if you have credit card debt, you have student loan debt, you have revolving debt. Nope, you should not be in the game. If you don't have a budget, you should not be in the game. If you don't have a savings or an emergency bond, which are two different things, set up you should not be in the game. Once you have those things and for people who are like fear of missing out, like, what is meant for you will be for you. If you didn't get to invest in Amazon like people were like, "Oh like how wouldn't have been if you would have invested in Amazon?" I can't answer that. How would it have been? It would have only beenm if I would've have been able to. There are other opportunities that will come my way, like, Amazon, Tesla are not the end all, be all. Do what is right for you in that moment. Don't try to just do something just, just because. So when it comes to investing, you know, I'm always doing my due diligence. I'm always researching what are the companies that I want to participate in. And for me, I was able to spend two years on the floor really, like, understanding what is important to me and what, I what I, my personal philosophy when it comes to investing. What's important to me is ESG investing. Environmental Social Governance Investing, Long gone are the days for me, where I'm just investing in the top 50 companies, because they're the top 50 companies. If you are not an organization that has good retention practices, when it comes to women of color, and minorities, I'm not investing in your company. If you're a corporation that is housed in areas that has lower socio economic groups, and you're not doing anything for the community in which your building is locating, located, I am not investing in your company. If you don't believe in the environmental issues that are going on in this world, I'm not investing in your company. And so that makes that list a very short list of companies to invest in. I am a believer that all money isn't good money. And so yes, there might be an upside in investing in XYZ company, because they are XYZ company and they have this massive brand and they have great revenue. Again, back to this holistic interconnected approach. What are you doing for me? What are you doing for my people? What are you doing? Fill in the blanks. And if you're not doing those things, I'm sorry, you could have the best revenue and you can be the quote unquote best company. There are other investors that, that will happily invest in in your organization.
Jamila Souffrant 41:56
Yeah, no, I love that. Thank you for sharing that, those philosophies, because I think it's important to understand where you stand and as you move forward, as you gain more information, or just you know, you get more information, not externally, like, "Oh, what is X amount," you know, like Googling certain terms, but you gain more information internally by listening to yourself, like, you actually can make the decisions that are best for you. Okay, Lauren, thank you for this conversation. Please let everyone know where they can find more about the show that's going to be premiering and then more about you and the project that you're working on.
Lauren Simmons 42:28
Yes, so everyone, please follow me on my Instagram @laSimmons or on LinkedIn, Lauren Simmons, and I frequently answer DMs/messages, so please don't hesitate to reach out. And then of course, I want everybody to watch our show, "Going Public," premieres October 19th on entrepreneur.com and you'll be able to simultaneously stream it on goingpublic.com. And yes, I'm so excited for you guys to see this journey and these incredible companies. And I will see you guys soon. Thank you so much.
Jamila Souffrant 43:00
Lauren, I'm looking forward to seeing all the things. Like this show, all the things that you have in the future that's coming out. I'm sure everyone else too, will be, like, really interested to just follow your journey.
Lauren Simmons 43:10
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, everyone.
Jamila Souffrant 43:15
Okay, Journeyers I really hope you enjoyed that conversation with Lauren. I mean, like, at her age, to be so confident. And just, she has such a sense of purpose and knowing what she wants out of life. I am inspired. So go ahead, Lauren, and again, if you like this interview, here's what I want you to do. So this is what all the episodes The best thing to do to support the podcast, which, you know, you're getting for free every week. I'm putting my all into this guy's, is to follow the podcast. Just make sure you're following it wherever you listen and tell someone about it. That's it. And if you have a little time, take two seconds to review the podcast. If you listen to Apple podcast. Also, whenever you're listening and you like something or you want to share this, share it with the world. Take a screenshot of you listening to this and put it on your Instagram. Tag me @journeytolaunch. You could also always tag the guest. Today's guest was Lauren Simmons. So tag Lauren a@LaSimmons on Instagram. So I'm @journeytolaunch. Lauren is @laSimmons on Instagram too. Tag us, let us know what you liked about the interview. Share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, and get the word out that everyone needs to listen to this podcast and become a Journeyer.
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